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Places of Interest in and around Puri
Local Sight Seeing: The Temple of Lord Jagannath built during the 12th century A.D. by Chodaganga Deva dominates the landscape for kilometers around. Being the tallest temple (65 metres) in Orissa, it is one of the most magnificent pieces of monuments of India. In front of the main gate stands a 16 sided monolithic pillar (11 meters high), called Aruna Stambha which formerly stood in front of the Sun Temple and was brought to Puri during the 18th century A.D. Some of the other important temples are Gundicha, Lokanath, Sunaragauranga, Daria Mahabir and Tota Gopinatt. There are also a number of holy tanks like Narendra, Markandeya, Sweta Ganga and Indradyumna. There are many monasteries locally known as `Mathas` also of tourist interest.
Chilika Lake: Nesting in the heart of Coastal District Puri, Asia's largest & biggest inland Brackish water lake, Chilika, streches across the length of the three districts of Puri, Khurdha& Ganjam ,itjoins up with the Bay of Bengal through a narrow mouth ,forming an enormous lagoon of brackish water .Spread over an area of 1,100 sq. km it was declared a sanctuary in 1987. Dotted with many emerald green islands with colorful names such as honeymoon islands and Breakfast island ,Chilika is home to a rich variety of aquatic fauna .It is also a sanctuary and winter resort for migratory birds like a bird watcher's paradise. Sun rise and Sun set are memorable experiences here. Winter is the loveliest time at Chilika ,with thousands of migratory birds flying in from as far as Siberia to make their winter sojourn in strange waters . The water comes alive with their raucous cries and colorful plumage as the birds battle to find space to make their new homes . While the lake's Nalabana island has been declared a sanctuary for its varied flora and fauna, Kalijai island is home to Goddess Kalijai and the venue for annual Makar Mela. Boating and fishing facilities are available in this lake containing a large variety of fish.Chital and Black buck roam freely on the scrubby shores while Dolphins gambol playfully in the foam of the churning waters at Chilika mouth near Satapara
Balighai (8 km): The Casuarina fringed Balighai beach, located 8 km from Puri, is a famous picnic spot. The collocation of gentle casuarina-lined river with crashing, desolate ocean coast is a arare and beautiful sight.The occasional sight of strolling Baliharina deer who inhabit the area is an added pleasure. Another major attraction of the place is the Sea Turtle Research Centre which is situated close by.
Brahmagiri (25 km): 20 K.M. from Puri towards Satapada is the Bramhagiri bazar. It is famous for Lord Alarnath the god of Vishnu. Legent says Lord Jagannath stays in Alarnath during the ANASARA (suffering from fever) period before car festival every year.Streams of pilgrims visit Alarnath during Anabasara of Lord Jagannath turning this place into a hub of life, activity and colour. Nearby is the shrine of Baliharachandi on the solitary sand dunes.
Sakshigopal (20 km): Sakshigopal is known for the shrine of Lord Sakshigopal. It is believed that the visit to Puri is incomplete without a visit to Sakshigopal. The temple is only 2 km away from the Puri-Bhubaneswar main road.
Baliharachandi (27 km): Baliarchandi situated on the bank of river Bhargavi is famous for the temple of Goddess Baliharchandi,an incarnation of Durga.However it is also a preferred place for a picnic or pleasure trip. The solitude that the place enjoys along with the visual enchantments is a haven for lovers of nature. The entire landscape is dotted with wild flora and fauna which render it a serene touch.
Raghurajpur (12 km): One of the most famous artists village in Orissa, Raghurajpur boasts not only of the exquisite pattachitras and talapatrachitra's, but also of being the native place of Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra, the famed Odissi dancer and Guru Maguni Das, the renowned Gotipua Dancer. Even today, under the tutelage of the renowned Guru, young boys can be seen practicing the Gotipua dance here. A visit to Orissa would definitely be incomplete without a visit to this little village.
Satapada (50 km): Satapara , a retreat in Chilika lake,is famous for its dolphins. The thrilling sight of dolphins round the year and abundance of migratory and resident birds in winter make it a preferred place for a vacation in the lap of nature.