Friday, February 1, 2008

Puri- The Final Destination of every Oriya

Shree Jagannath Temple, Puri

I have always been fascinated by drive to Puri right from my college days at KITS. Every place on the 60 km drive from Bhubaneswar has some significance. Still remember those days when me, Mota and Asit would ride on one of my fellow roommate, Bikash’s Scooter and would set off to Puri. The drive itself is an experience and of course the final destination Puri is altogether a very different one. Every place on the way has it’s own significance. Be it Uttara, Pipili, Sakhigopal, Chandanpur, Satsankha and Bata Mangala.

On a cool and pleasant morning

This time also, when I took Siddhu, my fellow IMDR Batchmate to Puri, the experience of drive was no different from the previous ones. Same cool breeze tingling your skin, sun rays piercing the coconut tree’s leaves and hitting the road as if creating a natural kaleidoscope, Swans swimming on the roadside ponds and paddy fields overloaded with harvest.

We started early for Puri and Konark(Travelogues on Konark & Balukhand have been covered in other sections).As we were neared Uttara Chowk ,talk on King Ashok and Kalinga war started. I told him stories of bravery shown by Kalinga warriors on the banks of Daya river. Daya river did change to a river of Blood during the Kalinga war. The killings of the war moved Ashok so much that he became “Dharma” Ashok from “Chandal” Ashok.

Then we crossed Pipili, a place famous for “Chanduas(decorative wall hangings made out of colourful clothes and small mirror pieces”).Since, we didn’t have that much time,so didn’t halt at Pipili.

After fueling the Car’s tank near Sakhigopal,we headed straight to the Coconut water sellers sitting near the Railway crossing. This is somewhat like a ritual that I had followed over on each of my previous trips.

Near Sakhigopal Railway Crossing

By that time had increased and what a timing. We were crossing Chandanpur. There is no better place than having “Poori” and “Dalma(traditional Oriya dish made out of boiled vegetables and Pulses)”.And that too served on plates made out of dried leaves(khali patra).As I have told earlier that every place on the way to Puri has it’s own significance and there is some thing new for oustsiders. Chandanpur was also no different. After one eats his/her breakfast, one has to carry the plate and throw in the dustbin. Generally, this breakfast sellers are Brahmins and being at the highest level of Caste system in India, they don’t carry other’s leftovers.

Can you smell the steam of Dalma ??

Another View

As we were driving down, we crossed a group of bi cycle riders overloaded with small baskets made out of palm leaves.These are basically for packing prasad at Jagannath temple,Puri.These artifacts are trademark Puri type.

Famous "Bada Danda"

Cycle loaded with Palm Baskets

Before entering Puri, we took blessings from Bata Mangala. This is the traditional way of entering to Puri.

Finally reached Puri after a drive of one and half hour. As usual temple of Puri brings in new hopes and new enthusiasm . Temple itself is a small township with its own kitchen,small market called Ananda Bazar.After seeing Ananda Bazar ,one gets a feeling of going back to ages when there were small haats (market) . Small shops with narrow passages selling all sort of prasad like Abhada(rice),Saag,Kheer etc with small umbrellas on top. Another speciality is that they are cooked as well as sold in earthen pots. There is so much things to be told about Jagannath Temple that I need a different article all together which I will be covering some other day.
As we came out after darshan, we again saw those bicycle riders with baskets made out of palm leaves. I was correct that they all were heading towards the final destination of Puri.

We headed towards Konark Temple through the Marine Drive. This has been covered in other sections.