Fine white sands, roar of the breakers rolling in from the Bay of Bengal and countless devotees flocking the place for a purification dip are the synonyms to the Puri Beach. The beach has continued to be a sacred venue for an endless number of pilgrims coming to pay homage to Lord Jagannath.
With the annual Beach Festival taking place in November, the beach has now become a favorite haunt of both Indian and foreign beach lovers. Located at a mere distance of 35 kms from the Sun Temple and 65 kms from Bhubaneshwar, the beach is an ideal place for an introvert holiday maker for the scarcity of crowd here.
The beaches of Puri are also renowned for the sand sculptures created particularly by the internationally famed Sudarshan Patnaik. The subjects are generally inspired by sculptures covering the temple walls, characters and episodes from the mythology and also the contemporary events. An entire beach stretch can be completely yours given the immense number of beaches in Orissa and a comparatively lower number of fun lovers, the city being a popular pilgrimage point for Indians.
The beach at Puri offers a unique opportunity to witness the striking sunrise and the sunset on the same beach. Often crowded with holiday makers bathing in the afternoon, and enjoying the brightly lit kiosks in the night, the stretches, parallel to the main Marine Drive Road, form the domain of the domestic tourists, with a row of hotels, food stalls and kiosks selling souvenirs.
A comparatively clean and quite place for sunbathing and a relaxed swim can be found at the eastern end. Local fishermen easily distinguishable by their triangular straw hats and dhotis serve as lifeguards on the beach, and take visitors out to sea in their boats to watch the sunsets. On the Chakratirtha side, the long stretch of golden sand is more tranquil and pleasant place to stroll. Take enough precaution while swimming as the currents can be treacherous in Puri.
It is interesting to visit a fishing village along the coast, with dozens of boats made of solid trunks ply off the coast during the day. Once landed, the rich catch of prawn, pamphlets and other fishes drawn into the nets is transferred to baskets. The best time to pay a visit is around dawn, when the fishermen head out from the village and row the fleet towards the rising sun over the sea.