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Old 30th June 2010, 13:31   #1
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Default Of Gods and Lesser Mortals - Puri .... Reclaimed

The monsoon has just set-in and the sea is rough. The full moon over the weekend made things even more tempting. To add to this, I was looking for an opportunity to stretch the legs of the Grand Old Lady.

So, another impromptu trip follows...this time to Puri.

Having been there countless times, there's nothing special to write home about, making this more of a photologue.

Of Gods and Lesser Mortals - Puri .... Reclaimed-puri-20101-large.jpg
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Old 30th June 2010, 13:52   #2
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Waiting for the pics

How did the OHC behave through the trip? what is the update on the BlackHawk?
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Old 30th June 2010, 14:21   #3
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Will put up the pics soon. OHC behaved really well. Was thoroughly impressed by this 10yr old car.

OT: Will soon need a new name for BlackHawk
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Old 30th June 2010, 15:23   #4
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Default Great teaser

Please let us know about:
- The duration of the journey and route taken
- The Orissa entry toll on NH5 on non OR registered vehicles.
- The current weather on the way and at Orissa

Great teaser. Waiting for more.
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Old 30th June 2010, 23:43   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aroop View Post
Please let us know about:
- The duration of the journey and route taken
- The Orissa entry toll on NH5 on non OR registered vehicles.
- The current weather on the way and at Orissa

Great teaser. Waiting for more.
Will try to answer your queries over the next couple of posts. Stay tuned.
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Old 1st July 2010, 01:20   #6
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Thursday, 24th June

The plan was to leave home very early in the morning. Previously, having dug up some of the old travelogues, I was particularly worried about the bad stretch of road between Balasore and Bhadrak.

The alarm went off at 3:00am. It rained substantially last night. It was pretty cool outside. This being primarily a monsoon getaway, I wished that it rained during the journey. All packings were completed last night. Took about an hour to get ready and finally we were off to Puri at 4:30am.

The road was wet, though it has stopped raining. The city roads were empty, except for a few taxis hanging around, half awake after their overnight duty. The tea vendor at the corner of the road has just lit his oven. We made it pretty fast through the city and as the sky started lighting up, we were onto NH6, the OHC sprinting merrily towards Kharagpur.

NH6 was pretty empty. The Kolaghat bridge was free of any congestion at that hour. The overnight mist was still hanging around. By the time we were onto the Panskura bypass, this mist turned into fog, with a visibility of not more than 500mts. The fog cleared up over the next 10kms or so and by the time we were under the flyover at Kharagpur, taking on NH60, it was 6:00am.

The sheer magic of the concrete NH60 seemed too tempting to push OHC, but then, we were going on a vacation and have been doing good time so far. Soon we were approaching the Orissa border at Laxmanath. As I slowed down among the line of trucks on either side of the road, I reached out for my wallet in the glove box, preparing to pay the dreaded tax.

The officer at the border did not even bother to ask me to stop. Taking a fleeting glance at the car, he continued with his own work. What a relief!! It could not have been less dramatic than this.

By the time we reached Balasore, it was around 7:15am. Work is still going on between Balasore and Bhadrak and we were soon negotiating numerous diversions. However, the road surface was not too bad. Though not too smooth, but had very few potholes. Took this stretch quite slowly. By the time we reached Bhadrak, it was 9:00am.

Stopped for a quick breakfast at Bhadrak and gave the OHC a well deserved rest. After all, its 10yrs old. After around half an hour, we started again, for Bhubaneswar. The road becomes excellent once again after Bhadrak. It was a pretty fast drive and by the time we were crossing Cuttack, it was around 11:00am. It was peak traffic time when we crossed Cuttack and had to slow down. We reached the outskirts of Bhubaneswar at 11:45am. The roads opened up once more beyond Bhubaneswar city limits and by the time we reached Puri, it was almost 1:00pm.

I did not book any hotel before hand as I wanted to check out the new ones that have come up on the New Marine Drive, beyond Swargadwar. Took some time to choose a hotel as having a safe parking area was also a criteria. Finally zeroed in on Hotel Sreehari, near the lighthouse.

The sky has become overcast and the sea raging in fury. A very heavy downpour started around 4pm and continued throughout the evening and night. OHC got a nice and natural wash in the open parking lot, while I sat on the balcony, enjoying the sights of the heavy rain and the furious sea.

Desolate beach
Of Gods and Lesser Mortals - Puri .... Reclaimed-dsc_0015-large.jpg

Waterlogged Marine Drive
Of Gods and Lesser Mortals - Puri .... Reclaimed-dsc_0006-large.jpg


Friday, 25th June

It rained all night. Woke up late only to find that the road in front is waterlogged. With nothing to do, started clicking from the balcony. Here are some rainscapes to give you a flavour of the day.

Chasing shower
Of Gods and Lesser Mortals - Puri .... Reclaimed-dsc_0004-large.jpg

No umbrella is big enough
Of Gods and Lesser Mortals - Puri .... Reclaimed-dsc_0020-large.jpg

Of Gods and Lesser Mortals - Puri .... Reclaimed-dsc_0007-large.jpg

Wet, wet, wet
Of Gods and Lesser Mortals - Puri .... Reclaimed-dsc_0009-large.jpg

Last edited by Saurabh M : 1st July 2010 at 01:24.
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Old 1st July 2010, 01:33   #7
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Hey some of the pictures are simply superb. The 'desolate Beach' one specially. Please continue. Stuck to this one.
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Old 1st July 2010, 23:37   #8
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The rain god finally gave up towards late afternoon. I had gone down to the hotel reception for a chat and came to know that today was the last day the Jagannath temple would remain open to public, before it closes for 15 days. Tomorrow is the auspicious ritual of 'Snana Yatra' for the Lord.

Quote:
The Snana Yatra is a bathing festival celebrated on the Purnima (full moon day) of the Hindu month of Jyeshtha. It is an important festival of the Jagannath Cult. This is the first occasion in the year as per the Hindu calendar, when the deities Jagannath, Balabhadra, Subhadra, Sudarshan, and Madanmohan are brought out from the Jagannath Temple (Puri) and taken in a procession to the Snana Bedi. There they are ceremonially bathed and decorated for a public audience with the devotees.[1]
[edit] Religious Significance

It is a belief among devotees of Lord Jagannath that if they make a pilgrimage to see the deity on this day, they would be cleansed of all of their sins. Hundreds of thousands of devotees visit the temple on the occasion. The Skanda Purana mentions that King Indradyumna arranged this ceremony for the first time when the idols of the deities were first installed.
[edit] Ceremonies Conducted

On the eve of the Snana Yatra (which means the Bathing festival, in Sanskrit), the idols of the deities are brought out in a grand procession from the garbhagriha (sanctum sanctorum) to the Snana Bedi (bathing platform). Devotees come to view the deities.

On the day of the Snana Yatra, the deities are bathed with 108 pots of ritually purified water drawn from the northern well of the temple to the accompaniment of religious incantations. In the evening, at the conclusion of the bathing ritual, Jagannath and Balabhadra are dressed up in elephant headgear representing the God Ganesh.

After the Snana Yatra the Gods are traditionally believed to fall ill and are kept in a sick room to recuperate in privacy under the care of the Raj Vaidya, The Royal Physician of the King of Puri. It is said that with the Ayurvedic medication administered by the Raj Vaidya the Gods recover in a fortnight and resume giving an audience to their devotees.
Source : Snana Yatra - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


This meant that today was the last chance to visit the temple and offer prayers. We left the hotel around 5pm for the temple. We had to leave behind the cellphone and the camera, as these are not allowed inside.

Needless to say, the temple was extremely crowded as everybody wanted to offer prayers on this auspicious occasion. Seeing the mad rush inside, we gave up. Its better to avoid a stampede.


Saturday, 26th June, morning

The sky is overcast, but it has not rained since last night. A local newspaper reported that the heavy rains yesterday resulting in knee deep waterlogging inside the Konark temple premises.

Today being Snana Yatra, a huge crowd has descended in Puri, to take a glimpse of Lord Jagannath, undergoing the bathing ritual. This day, the Lord siblings are brought on a platform on the ramparts of the temple for public viewing. I did not want to lose this opportunity to photograph the crowd.

What follows are some snaps of the Lord and the crowdscape. Enjoy..

A different perspective
Of Gods and Lesser Mortals - Puri .... Reclaimed-dsc_0036-large.jpg

A huge crowd has gathered outside the main entrance of the temple and below the podium on which Lord Jagannath was seated for public viewing.

Of Gods and Lesser Mortals - Puri .... Reclaimed-dsc_0026-large.jpg

As far as your eye can reach, its a sea of humans waiting patiently for the beginning of the bathing act.
Of Gods and Lesser Mortals - Puri .... Reclaimed-dsc_0027-large.jpg

All vantage position are occupied by devotees and TV cameras. Almost all local channels were showing live telecast of the festival
Of Gods and Lesser Mortals - Puri .... Reclaimed-dsc_0032-large.jpg

Every now and then, there were devotees arriving from different ashrams, at times in colourful processions and offering their prayers to the Lord.
Of Gods and Lesser Mortals - Puri .... Reclaimed-dsc_0035-large.jpg

Of Gods and Lesser Mortals - Puri .... Reclaimed-dsc_0047-large.jpg

Of Gods and Lesser Mortals - Puri .... Reclaimed-dsc_0058-large.jpg

Among this crowd, I kept looking for interesting subjects that stood out from the rest, in their own special way.

Of Gods and Lesser Mortals - Puri .... Reclaimed-dsc_0025-large.jpg

This old lady seemed overwhelmed by the presence of the almighty.
Of Gods and Lesser Mortals - Puri .... Reclaimed-dsc_0030-large.jpg

This woman was dancing away and stopped just before I composed the picture and shot
Of Gods and Lesser Mortals - Puri .... Reclaimed-dsc_0079-large.jpg

There were a large number of makeshift vendors sitting around, making and selling ghee-lamps as offerings to the Lord.
Of Gods and Lesser Mortals - Puri .... Reclaimed-dsc_0038-large.jpg

This little girl was going around in the crowd, making her way, selling lamps.
Of Gods and Lesser Mortals - Puri .... Reclaimed-dsc_0034-large.jpg

The lamps put to use
Of Gods and Lesser Mortals - Puri .... Reclaimed-dsc_0074-large.jpg

The expression on his face says it all
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The Lord in all his glory
Of Gods and Lesser Mortals - Puri .... Reclaimed-dsc_0065-large.jpg


By this time, it was almost 10am and we were feeling hungry. We gradually leave the crowd and walk away from the temple. Need to find out a decent place to have breakfast.
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Old 2nd July 2010, 10:53   #9
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Good photographs capturing different moods of the people.Badrak to Balasore still work is going on, it is 3years since I travelled on those roads.Chandipur is one of the best low tide beaches I have seen near Balasore.
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Old 2nd July 2010, 11:17   #10
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How did you manage to get a room for rent during this period? we hard time finding a decent hotel when we were at Puri during our MBA Project with Philips.

Did you manage to get a pic of the Palace opposite the temple?
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Old 2nd July 2010, 11:49   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gajadonga View Post
Good photographs capturing different moods of the people.Badrak to Balasore still work is going on, it is 3years since I travelled on those roads.Chandipur is one of the best low tide beaches I have seen near Balasore.
The progress along this stretch is really slow. After the monsoons, this stretch would again get filled up with huge craters.

Quote:
Originally Posted by planet_rocker View Post
How did you manage to get a room for rent during this period? we hard time finding a decent hotel when we were at Puri during our MBA Project with Philips.

Did you manage to get a pic of the Palace opposite the temple?
We reached 2 days before the festival and its not as crowded as during Rath Yatra. Moreover, the newer hotels near the lighthouse are a little off from the heart of all activities. May be thats the reason we got a room.

Did not get a pic of the palace, may be next time.
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Old 2nd July 2010, 12:02   #12
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I find Jagganath temple a very chaotic place.
Crowd management is very poor as compared to other big temples in India.
But as compared to others, this is very charming place.
Though pilgrimage place, I did not find enough descent pure veg hotels in Puri, i may be wrong.

@saurabh,

do you have any pics of the evening beach market near swargdwar?

Last edited by ASHISHPALLOD : 2nd July 2010 at 12:04.
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Old 2nd July 2010, 12:18   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ASHISHPALLOD View Post
I find Jagganath temple a very chaotic place.
Crowd management is very poor as compared to other big temples in India.
But as compared to others, this is very charming place.
Though pilgrimage place, I did not find enough descent pure veg hotels in Puri, i may be wrong.

@saurabh,

do you have any pics of the evening beach market near swargdwar?
Agreed with your observations. As far as food is concerned, there's no good non veg restaurant as well in Puri. However, there's a new pure veg one that has come up near Puri hotel, on the main road. Looked decent and clean from outside.

Sorry, no pics of the evening market.
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Old 2nd July 2010, 13:17   #14
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there is a PURE VEG hotel near Puri Hotel (like Saurabh mentioned). It located near the corner plot on the marine drive while you are driving in from the main city.

I think it called Balananda or something
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Old 2nd July 2010, 14:18   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by planet_rocker View Post
there is a PURE VEG hotel near Puri Hotel (like Saurabh mentioned). It located near the corner plot on the marine drive while you are driving in from the main city.

I think it called Balananda or something
Its called Balananda, infact, its the restaurant of Balananda Ashram. The ambience is not great and the food is mediocre.

However, the one that I was mentioned was called something like "Vittal Kamat" and is an AC restaurant, near Victoria Club Hotel. This has come up very recently.
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