4 Reasons Why You Should Visit Puri During The Rath Yatra
One of the most famous and revered Hindu festivals, the Ratha Yatra that takes place in Puri, Odisha in India is an annual festival that is attended by thousands of devotees from around the world. It is often described as a surreal experience- an experience so matchless- it will even make a staunch non-believer question their choices. According to ancient religious scriptures, Puri is one of the ‘Char Dhams’ and visiting this place can release a person from the vicious circle of life and death. So, if you plan a exploring this place, no better time than the Rath Yatra to plan your holiday. Here’s why!
Plan for Puri
Pilgrims flock to Puri all year round. During the time of Rath Yatra however, this beach-town sees the influx of the maximum number of visitors. Plan your trip and book Puri hotels in advance to avoid disappointment. They tend to fill up fast during this time of the year. Upon arrival, make sure to plug in your camera-phone to keep it charged. You do not want to miss a thing when you are at the Rath Yatra!
The Pilgrim’s Progress
The Rath Yatra is the annual journey of Lord Jagannath and his siblings Balaram and Subhadra from the Jagannath Temple to the Gundicha Mata Temple, about three kilometers away. The chariots for the journey are built from scratch each year, with wood. Lakhs of devotees lend a hand at pulling the chariot for the divine blessings of Lord Jagannath. Such is the pull and tug of events and the general grandeur of the procession that it has led to the coinage of the English word ‘juggernaut’ – a reminder of the ‘unstoppable force’ of the chariot. Whether you participate in the ‘pilgrim’s progress’ of the procession or view it through the lenses of your camera, what you will take away from your presence there will be the experience of a lifetime. At the day’s end, return spiritually rejuvenated. Puri has that effect on people.
Monsoon Moments at the Beach
Next morning, watch the crimson dawn break over the Bay of Bengal from the room of your sea-facing hotel. Book your stay in any Puri beach hotel to start your day with a view of the sea. After the harsh summer, with approach of monsoons, the beaches of Puri offer solace to visitors. Take a morning dip in the salty seas before setting out for some local sightseeing. Upon return, you can relax and unwind on the beach in the evening. There are sand sculptures to be found here, specially during the time of Rath Yatra. They depict art from the walls of the temples in Puri and from other mythological sources. During the festive season, innumerable food stalls, noisy vendors and colourful kiosks dot the beach. Spend some time here to sample the local sweets like the ‘chana poda’. The sweetness lingers long after the snack is over!
When in Puri…
When in Puri, make most of some local sightseeing. Visit the Konark Temple. It is only 36 km away. The structural design of the temple is a tribute the Sun God. The chariots of the Sun God and the horses which draw it are depicted through the structure of the temple. Reconnect with Nature at the Konark Beach, which is also closeby. Another opportunity to come face to face with Nature presents itself at the Chilka Lake. It is the largest inland salt-water lagoon in Asia. Bird-watchers and animal lovers flock to the Chilka Lake to view the stunning white-bellied sea eagle, sandpipers, flamingos, gloven plovers and Irrawaddy dolphins here. See these wonderful species in their natural habitat.
Use your camera well and capture some memories to last a lifetime. There are enough and more reasons to visit Puri during the Rath Yatra.