Orissa Travelogue – Day 4 & 5

11 Oct

After a breakfast of Chole-Bhaturey, we headed to the famous Gundicha Temple in Puri. This is significant because it’s the destination of the renowned annual Rath Yatra. This is about 3 kms away from the main temple and was relatively empty when we visited and apparently attracts crowds only during the Rath Yatra. Gundicha is believed to be the aunt of Krishna (Jagannath) whom he visits annually with his cousins. There is an entrance fee of Rs. 5 at this temple and entry to Non-Hindus is prohibited.

Next, we headed to the Alarnath Temple which is dedicated to Lord Vishnu. There is a period of about 15 days in a year where there is no darshan to the Jagannath Temple at Puri as the Lord is believed to have fever. During this time, the Lord is said to manifest himself as Lord Alarnath in this temple.

From here, we headed to Satpura where boating trips are conducted on Chilika Lake. This is the largest coastal lagoon in India and second largest in the world extending upto approximately 64 kilometres.DSC02030 There are boating trips of various durations ranging from 1 hour to 1 day and we opted for the 4 hour trip.The package was supposed to include dolphin sighting at the lake, sighting of red crabs, a visit to the Tridev temple, a visit to the point where the lake merges with the mouth of the Bay Bengal and Rajahans Island. However, the tour was a little disappointing. We did see a few dolphin tails which was fine. DSC02051But after this, the boat operator just dropped us on an island, showed us two little crabs on the bank, pointed to some temple far off which was barely visible and dropped us off back to our car in about 3 hours. We knew we were fooled but there was nothing much we could do after it was all over. All in all, was a boring 4 hours which we just spent lazing on the boat. The only good thing was a plate of Hot Maggi which we had in the island where he dropped us.
Enroute to our 40 km journey back to Puri, we headed to the Loknath temple, which is a temple dedicated to the Lord Shiva and believed to have built by Rama. However, we were quite exhausted by this time and quickly finished a round of the temple and returned. We headed to our hotel to freshen up and then headed to the beach-side to see the open market in Puri. It was already late evening and the beach was hustling with activity. We got some memorabilia and gifts for our family back home, had a pizza at Dominos for dinner and headed back.
The next day, we checked out of the hotel by 8.30 am and headed towards Bhubaneshwar which was about 60 kms away. On the way, we made a quick stop at the village of Raghurajpur which is also called the Heritage Village. It has 2 streets of the village having about 120 homes of artisans who specialize in paintings and various other art and craft forms. However, as soon as we got down, we were hounded by about 10 artisans who wanted us to visit each of their homes. We got a little irritated by all haggling and so, just visited one house and then rushed back to the car. We directly headed to the BMC Bhavani Mall at Bhubaneshwar where we had to kill time until our flight in the evening! We decided to watch the movie ‘Haider’ starring Shahid Kapoor and Shraddha Kapoor which turned out to be a great decision. We had lunch at a restaurant called ‘Oasis’ in the mall where we had a sumptuous lunch of some delicious Chinese cuisine and took an auto to the airport.
As we reached home, we were glad we had a good trip and most importantly, we narrowly escaped the cyclone Hudhud that was soon approaching Orissa! On hindsight, we could have actually cut short our trip by a day or 2 and probably skipped a few temples on the way, but nevertheless travelling is always a learning and we’re glad to have seen one of the least written about states in India – Orissa!



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