Thursday, November 17, 2005

Pure Puri Magic

Just a few days ago.. in fact on saturday i had a chance of visiting a world
heritage site .. declared by UNESCO...and a couple of other beaches nearby...Currently on a transfer to East Coast Bhubaneshwar, i was cursing the authorities of putting me up at a "small city"... whose office is located in the middle of no-where...

But little did i know what was in store.. This was the Konark temple and the Beaches at Chandrabagha (3 kms from Konark) and Puri....

We started off well at around 7 am from Bhubaneshwar.. I was though not expecting
too good roads...thinking it too be a area constantly being hit by natural
calamities...But it came as a surprise when our OR-02AD 8057 Indica was hitting
100 kmph!!! Suddenly the driver used to take the break .. at places there are speed breakers
that the greeks would be proud to see.. completely omega shaped speedbreakers with
a lot of concrete.. and come without any warning...that send shivers everytime ur
vehicle crossed it!!The long drive along the country side with lush green fields with patches of
canary with the premises guarded by coconut trees was a welcome sight from the
concrete jungle and the vehicular pollution...

The roads just seemed to cut through the rice was indeed horrifying to remind oneself of the terrible times when there are floods and cyclones.. it was hard imaging the place with uprooted coconut trees and nature's fury all around...and poverty overtaking major areas. Temples sprout in the middle of nowhere... in the middle if fields...below trees.. alongside roads and at crossings...
Cruising through the villages with the characteristic odour of the morning blues... and the smoke from the chulah .. send me nostalgic reminding me of my childhood spend in village similar to this one
keeps constantly questioning on the question of faith we as Indians do in our gods...

8:30 am:
Reached Konark.. and the place left me stunned... the architecture of the temple was unbelievable and although there were places that were patched with renovated and redone sculpture, one could easily make out the difference

8:40 am:We hired a guide named Shankar for our highly interactive walkthrough of the
Konark temple. The fact that the guide was speaking such good english made the
stay more memorable. He seemed to be quite thorough with the various aspects of
the sculptures and the historical facts.The sun temple is beautifully laid, with highly skilled architecture.
After spending around two and half hours exploring the temple we set off for our
next stop.

This was the Chandrabagha beach; some three kilometers from the Konark temple. It is said that when the temple was built the sea extended till the temple. The first rays of the rising sun was said to fall at the main altar of the temple where the main deity was kept.The beach lay there in its pristine glory... unperturbed from civilazation.. the thunderous sounds of the waves splashing against the golden sand...Pure bliss..!!managed to do some photography there.. would definitely suggest someone with photographic ardour to try the beaches that are still unexplored...The natural beauty of the beach mesmerised me and kept keeping me from going.. but due to the day progressing .. and having to return back to bhubaneshwar and a lot of miles to cover we decided to go

12:30 pm
on the roads again.. this was a picturesque drive.. with forests on one side and
the blue bay on the other...if the first drive was heaven.. this definitely had to
be "jannat"!!

1:45 pm
reached Puri and had lunch in a not so good restaurant...

2:30 pm
headed to go to the Jagannath temple..what a sight...!!took the entrance and what a surprise inside.. there were alteast more than 30
thousand people in the temple complex... as one passed the fellow pilgrims singing paeans in honour of the Lord Jagannath...Deep engrossed in my thought as to why they call Lord Jagannath and not Bhagwaan Jagannath.. we entered the main temple to get a "darshan" of the lord. hands up ... pockets with wallets all buttoned up...and shouting hare krishna and ho-ho-ho-ho we made our way further experience...never felt before... in fear of a stampede we put out feet forward
consciously.There were people of all age groups.. with all kinds of relatives...The question of Faith that we Indians have in our gods are indeed commendable...some must be praying for good career.. some for good health .. some for prosperity...the key there is to just let urself get immersed in the holy atmosphere and go with the crowd...for if you try doing something else you find a "danda" of the policewalaah striking you.. and they hurt badly...

3:30 pm:
Finished the Darshan by around 3:30 and headed towards the beach... A new discovery awaits us... the horn of our vehicle malfunctioned...and driving back to bhubaneshwar in the night may be a problem...but the driver takes us in his confidence...saying he will not have any such problems..

3:50 pm:
reached the beach.. the puri beach is very unlike the juhu or the marine beach..the waves are a bit more fierce and the height of the waves also large...strolled along the beach .. lots of faces .. lots of people.. playing with the waters rejuvinates the soul...the ambience is excellent...

4:15 pm:
suddenly a weird thought comes in... the sun does not seem to be going into the sea for the sunset...!! how could that be.. I remember seeing pics of the Puri sunset...Just then another thought takes over... Shankar had told us.. the beaches at Kanyakumari and Puri are the only two places in India where u can see the sun rise as well as the sunset in the sea.. waited for the sun to come down.. so that i could witness what turned out to be a sight that I had never seen before...

4:45 pm:
The sun seemed to set just at the line where the sea met the a result of which the sand turned golden .. and the water and the waves lit exotically in the flames of the sun...the water was on fire...a fire that not even the waters could or would want to put out... a sight never witnessed before .. breathtaking to its core..add to it the people's silhouttes that one could compose ... awesome...! feelings inexplicable...the hungry photographer in me just had its full...with
many children on the beach it was indeed a photographer's delight.... It seemed the sun god resides in this very place...The sea seemed to be calling each and everyone present into it...the call of the

set to return...without the horns of the Indica though

stopped over in Pipli to check out the applique work done by the local people..beautiful lamp-shades and very interesting artworks done using only clothes...tok
some for a souvenir...

reached bhubaneshwar...and back to the guest house..
Missed a few people at times... but then as I said...onc can always come back with
near and dear ones...
This is one beach that I would defiitely love to come back...