Puri is one of the four principal holy abodes in India, as well as a popular beach resort. It offers the rare experience of watching both the sunset and sunrise from the same beach. Pre-Dravidian and pre-Aryan history relates that a tooth of Buddha was temporarily enshrined in Puri before being moved to Sri Lanka. Supporting the theory that Buddhism prevailed in this area, the Jagannath Temple, dedicated to the Lord of the Universe, and the main attraction in Puri, was believed to have originally been a stupa (pagoda). The extraordinary form, Jagannath takes in this temple, is said to be the unfinished work of the craftsman god, Vishvakarma. Angry at Vishnu, he left his interpretation of the ‘Lord of the Universe’ incomplete.
Visit to the Chariot of the Sun God temple, built by King Langula Narasimha Deva in the 13th century AD during the golden era of Orissan art. This temple, among the crowning works of Orissan architecture and sculpture, is sheer poetry in stone. Everyday the Sun God rises from the horizon, across the shimmering blue waters of the Bay of Bengal, and casts the warmth and luminosity of his revitalising rays on the sanctum sanctorum, circling the temple during the course of the day, illuminating the three brilliant images of the sun – in the morning, at mid-day and in the evening, as day makes way for the night. As you approach the water, you will see rising from the golden sandy beach, one of the country’s most vivid archaeological treasures – the Surya Mandir (Sun Temple). For a millennium, this temple served as a beacon to the ancient and medieval mariners. Despite the fact that the Black Pagoda, as it was referred to by European soldiers who wanted to distinguish Konark from the whitewashed Jagannath Temple in Puri, lies in ruins, the structure is magnificent. Afternoon drive to Puri takes about 2hrs. O/n hotel.