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Golden Triangle of Orissa (Odisha) April 6, 2012

Golden Triangle of Odisha

Golden triangle of Orissa

Golden triangle of Orissa:
Puri, Konark along with capital city of Bhubaneswar form the three vertices of Golden Triangle of Orissa tourism circuit, with circumference of about ~170KMs.
And the triangle can be explored within 1 day to 4 days, depending upon one’s requirements.
Puri is one of the major four pilgrimage center for Hindus & also is famous for its sea beach.
Konark, for me, is equivalent to Taj Mahal. Its history is worth going through.
And the third vertice, Bhubaneswar is not only the capital & “showcase” city of Odisha, but also better known as Temple city.
Bhubaneswar is well connected by air, rail & bus by rest of the country. This can be the starting & comfortably base point for rest of the circuit.
Puri is well connected by train & road. Konark is well connected by road.
Travel by own transport (car or Bike) is best & fastest means to cover the triangle.
State tourism & tour operators also offer day tours.
Personally, I find bike & cars best means to cover.
All three places have some good places for accomodation depending upon budget. Of all, Bhubaneswar is the best & also can be base for all places if time permits.
Some notes:
1) Orissa still fails to provide tourism infrastructure which other states like TN, Karnataka etc. provides. But things are definitely improving.
2) Do take prior notes on temple timings.
3) Be careful of seas especially during monsoon & cyclone season.
4) Drive carefully, roads are small & you never know which animal is crossing your road. At night, extra concentration needed & roads are not well litted.
5) Mobile, cameras are not allowed inside Puri Jagannath temple
6) Non- Hindus are not allowed inside PURI  Jagannath temple. But if you resemble like an Indian, one may skip, as there is no such check 😉
7) Be aware of priests in all the temples.
If you have an experimenting tongue, then none of these place will disappoint you with mouth watering Oriya cuisine, with pure veg option in temple & non-veg options in any hotel. Other cuisine of India is also available in plentiful in all of these places. Beyond that, Bhubaneswar will have some options, Puri may have very limited options & Konark may not have any.
Must Eat: “Abhada” or meal in temple premises (called Anand Bazar). “Khaja” is also another must eat.
“Chena Puda”, “Chena gaja”, “Rabidi” are other must eat sweets.
In Bhubneswar : Hare Ram Hare Krishna & Tamarind near Master Canteen, Lingaraj Lassi center are worth trying.
Other facilities:
1) ATM are available in all of these places.
2) Hotel, restaurants, tourist office etc. are available in all of these places.
3) Toilet facilities are also there, but limited & some what unhygienic
4) Fresh water facility is available in Puri sea beach. Not available in Konark n other near by beaches.
5) Parking facility available in almost all places.
Itenary :
1-2 day Plan: Bhubaneswar Lingaraj temple & Mukteswar Temple –> Dhaulagiri –>Pipli –>  Puri Temple & Beach –> Konark Sun temple & Chandrabhaga Beach –> Nimapada sweets –> Back to Bhubaneswar
2-3 Day plan: Bhubaneswar City & temples (1 day) –> Pipli –> Sakhi Gopal temple –> Puri Jagannath temple –> Puri Gundicha Mandir –> Puri Sea beach –> Ramchandi temple & beach –> Chandrabhaga Temple & Beach –> Konark Sun temple –> Satapada (Chilika lake) –> Bhubaneswar
The Capital city & definitely showcase city of Orissa. Bhubaneswar is better than an average Indian city in terms of infrastructure, but same is not true for Orissa as a state. With population close to million, Bhubaneswar is well connected by air & train with all major Indian metros.
Attractions: Lingaraj Temple, Mukteswar temple, Dhauligiri, Khandagiri, Udaygiri, Musuems (Tribal & Natural history), Haat (traditional Mall)
Bhubaneswar to Puri (Dhaulagiri, Pipili, Sakhi Gopal):
Distance of 65 Kms along NH-203, will take 1-2 hrs depending on traffic. The narrow road, passing through paddy & coconut plantation are treat to eyes. Dhaulagiri on hill top, just on outskirts of Bhubaneswar, overseeing Daya river, is place where emperor Asoka fought his last war & after which became a monk. Dhaulagiri is one of the stop for Buddhist circuit of Orissa & is definitely worth a visit. It is visible while driving towards Puri & is just 3 KMs off NH-203. One side is Buddha stupa & other side is a Shiv temple. There is parking facility, but no shoe stand.
Pipili, 17 Kms from Bhubaneswar, right on NH-203 is world famous for its applique craft & is worth a stop for people fond of art & handicrafts or looking for some souvenir.
SakhiGopal: An ancient temple, 15 kms before Puri on NH-203 is worth a stop if one is a hard Hindu devotee. Some people believe, pilgrimage to Puri is incomplete without visit to this temple. The temple is 3 Kms off NH-203.
NH-203 is a good highway to drive. As on April 2012, construction is going on to make it 4 lane highway. So construction may be annoying, mostly in night. There are quite a few number of dhabas on the highway, worth filling one’s stomach & quencing appetite. The one disadvantage, I feel is on boarding to guide tourists. Tourism department of Orissa needs to work on it.
Raghunathpur, is another village on NH-203, famous for its painting & wood work. People loving Pipli will also love this place.
Chandrabhga sea beach
Puri (Jagannath Temple, Gundicha temple, Temple Museum, Sea beach)
The 1 lac + town has all facility a tourist would need. Hotels of all budget, food for kind of taste buds, vehicle repair facility etc. are all available.
Jagannath temple, closed to Non-hindus, is main attraction of the town. Most to all tourists are here, just to get glimpse of residing god almighty. Shoe stand, mobile n camera deposit center, luggage rooms are available right near entrance of the temple. Parking on usual days (i.e when crowd is normal) is available just outside temple.
Musuem is for people, who want to know more about history of the temple town.
Sea beach, just 3 kms from temple, is another main draw of the town. Crowded through out the day, it is safe to take bath on bright sunny days.
Facilities available include snacks centers, restaurants, Souvenir shops, horse & camel riding, fresh water Bathrooms (hygiene can be a question), hotels for night stay, parking facility, life guards on duty.
Puri beach
All basic facilities like hotels, restaurants, vehicle repair center, medicine, toilets, parking & ATMs are available in Puri.
Hotel Puri is greatly recommended.
Puri to Konark (Marine drive)
The ~35 kms drive is one of the best drive I ever had in my life. It’s on par, infact better than Rameswaram-Dharasuvaram drive. This is an example, how small tourist flow can be boon. But I doubt, how many years, it will stay the way it is. Lined with coastal jungles & beach which is never away from the road, add to factor to seeing some wildlife (like dear etc.) plus close to zero traffic on well tarred roads, makes it a perfect road to drive on.
It has quite a number of beach resorts, but I doubt how many of them are operational. For me, the whole road is an attraction, but still if needed, one can stop at Ramchandi temple & beach, Gupteswar temple & panch Mukhi Hanuman temple. But biggest attraction is Chandrabhaga sea beach. Boating facility are available near Chandrabhaga beach & Ramchandi Beach. Boating can be really worth near Chandrabhaga beach during sun rise (but needs to be pre-planned with boat-boys a day before). The confluence of a river stream & sea & accompanying sea beach on orange light of rising sun is perfect recipe for a romantic treat.
Chandrabhaga beach has no proper bathing facility.
Marine Drive...Puri to Konark
Sun temple is the major attraction. World famous as Black Pagoda, for me it is as beautiful as Taj Mahal. Although much of temple is in ruin, but what makes it beautiful is its history. One need to read its history to appreciate what temple must have been in its full glory. A hanging god on concept of gravity & magnestism, that too 3 centuries earlier than Newton, depicts how advance was civilization during those days.
Anyways, below is the link to know its history:
Yatriniwas, Panthaniwas are recommended options.
In terms of facilities, Konark:
– It has hotels & restaurants to stay
– ATM, parking & toilet facilities are available
– Bike repair center is there. But no Car repair center (Puri is nearest place to get cars repaired).
– Medical n medicine shops are available (but again can be limited)
On way from Konark to bhubaneswar on SH-13, comes Nimapada 22KMs from Konark, which is famous for its sweets. Chena Puda is must.