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Puri

One of the most famous vacation spots in the Eastern state of Orissa (now Odisha), India, is the beach town of Puri. It is famed for its beach (of course), but most importantly for the Jagannath Temple (which is considered to be one of the holiest sites for Hindus). There are no photos of the Jagannath Temple here primarily because it was too crowded to go there at this particular point in time. Puri is just 2 hours away from Bhubaneswar (Orissa’s capital) by road. I’m not particularly fond of the main Puri Beach, which is quite touristy, so these pictures are of more secluded shorelines. The sand sculptures in the photos were on Puri Beach though.

Chilika

Chilika Lake is the second largest brackish water lagoon in the world apparently. It’s huge and spreads over three districts in Orissa. It boasts some thousands of bird species as well as bottle nosed dolphins. I have been to Chilika Lake three times in my life and sadly the most recent visit proved how the steady flow of tourists has meant a surge in the number of noisy motor boats cutting through these waters. Instead of being an experience where one can see these gentle dolphins, it has become sort of a zoo fest. Thankfully that is happening only in some parts of the lagoon and not the others. P.S. I was the only one who didn’t see the dolphins this time so there are no photos of them :(.

Konark Temple

Konark is perhaps the best known of these three among history enthusiasts. The Konark Sun Temple is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and rightly so. It is definitely a sight to behold. The temple has a very interesting history behind it. It was built in the 13th century in the form of horses pulling an enormous chariot. There is no prayer in the temple, unlike many other old temples in India.

According to legend, the temple was so difficult to build that it took 12 years. The King has ordered the construction of the temple but it was nowhere near completion. This caused the architects great worry. The solution came from an unlikely source – the 12-year-old son of the chief architect, who proposed that a stone be placed as a dome to hold the temple together. It fixed the problem, but the main issue was not over. The other architects were worried that if the King would learn that a young boy had put the dome in place, he would order to have all the architects killed. When the young boy heard of this, he climbed the dome and jumped from it, thus sacrificing his life for the others. Apparently due to this dark history of the temple, no prayer takes place.

Konark has some magnificent sights. All the wheels of the chariots can actually tell the time according to where the sun is shining. And the time is accurate as well!

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