Home > Beach Resort, FAM Trip, General, Odisha (Orissa), Sterling Resort Puri FAM > Puri, Beyond Temple and Beaches

Puri, Beyond Temple and Beaches

Puri, Beyond Temple and Beaches

A FAM (Familiarization) tour of Sterling Resort Puri

See also: Sterling Resort Puri FAM

A morning stroll on the beach followed by a visit to the Jaganath Temple. Then a dip in the sea followed by a spontaneous lunch of mach bhat (fish and rice). An afternoon nap followed by a visit to the local market for bargaining and shopping. The finally the day ends with another meal of fish and rice.

Participants of FAM Tour of Puri along with the management and staff of Sterling Resort Puri

Participants of FAM Tour of Puri along with the management and staff of Sterling Resort Puri

This is a typical day for a Bengali tourist in Puri. But Puri has something much more to offer than temple and beaches. Sterling Resort Puri offers an different experience of the age old pilgrimage.

The Puri Lighthouse

The Puri Lighthouse

So when I received the invitation, along with the itinerary, of the Puri FAM Tour I immediately said yes.

I have visited Puri numerous time, and the last one was just two months back, but I still joined the tour to experience the age old Bengali holiday destination in a different way.

Puri does not have an airport, but is well connected by rail. So all my numerous visit to Puri was by train.

The rail link between Kolkata – Puri was laid down in 1899 and has an interesting history. (Also see: Wreck of Sir John Lawrence, and the avent of Kolkata – Puri rail link).

Sterling Resort Puri

Sterling Resort Puri

This time the approach to Puri was different and we took a morning flight to Bhubaneswar and then it was about two hours drive to the Sterling Resort Puri. The Sterling Resort Puri is located 5 km from Swargadwar the heart of Puri’s tourist attraction.

Briefing session at Sterling Resort Puri

Briefing session at Sterling Resort Puri

It is located next to the sea mouth of River Dhaudia, which in turn is the distributary of River Bhargabi. The place is popularly known as Mohana (literally meaning sea mouth).

Welcome drink of tender coconut greeted us at the resort. We soon checked in at our rooms and had just few minutes to refresh ourselves.

We were soon at the resort’s seminar hall. A quick breakfast was followed by an introductory session on Sterling Holidays Resort. We were also briefed about the Puri property and had a discussion on the upcoming itinerary.

Sterling Resort Puri, Holiday Differently, Bloggers Meet

Sterling Resort Puri, Holiday Differently, Bloggers Meet

The session also served as an introductory session for the fellow bloggers and influences. We numbered a total of 14, which included 12 from Kolkata. Among the other two one came from Sambalpur and the other all the way from Delhi.

Day 1 (Raghurajpur, Sudarshan Craft Museum and Cultural Programme)

Raghurajpur the heritage craft village is located about 15 km from Puri and I visited the village only two months back during my family trip to Puri (Also see: Raghurajpur,heritage village near Puri).

Traditional Odiya Lunch at Raghurajpur, near Puri

Traditional Odiya Lunch at Raghurajpur, near Puri

But with Sterling Resort Puri it was an all together  different experience. The trip started with a traditional Odiya lunch. We sat crossed legged on the floor and the lunch was served on banana leaves.

Bloggers enjoy traditional Odiya Lunch at Raghurajpur, near Puri

Bloggers enjoy traditional Odiya Lunch at Raghurajpur, near Puri

The menu consisted of rice (sort of pulao), meethi cholar dal (sweet bengal gram), mixed saag and mixed vegetable. It was accompanied by salad and papad.

But the highlight of the meal was the desert Chura Kadma with Chana. It is crushed chira (flattened rice) deep fried in ghee (clarified butter) and served with raisins and cashew nuts. It is topped with a scoop of chana (cheese curd). It was still not over and the meal ended with a dash of Payesh (rice pudding).

It was no doubt a heavy meal but we were out to explore the village which is famous for Patachitra (scroll painting). Patachitra is an intricate colourfull drawing made on a pat, a specially processed cloth, which serves as a canvas.

A women artist at work in Raghurajpur

A women artist at work in Raghurajpur

Although known for its patachitra, scroll painting, the artists of Raghurajpur have diverted into other art forms like the palm leaf engraving, bamboo mat painting, stone and wood curving and paper mache toys and mask.

Gotipua Dance practice session at Raghurajpur

Gotipua Dance practice session at Raghurajpur

In Raghurajpur every house in the village is a studio, which doubles up as a museum, and every villager is an artist.

We visited few of the studios and finally made it to the Gotipua Dance Training Centre. Gotipua is a traditional dance form in the state of Odisha, India, and the precursor of Odissi classical dance.

It has been performed in Orissa for centuries by young boys, who dress as women to praise Jagannath and Krishna.

The dance is executed by a group of boys who perform acrobatic figures inspired by the life of Radha and Krishna. Gotipua in Odiya language means single boy. The dance originated from the village of Raghurajpur.

A sculptor gives finishing touches to a Vishnu Statue, Sudarshan Craft Museum

A sculptor gives finishing touches to a Vishnu Statue, Sudarshan Craft Museum[

After witnessing the dance practice session we headed back to Puri and before heading back to the Sterling Resort Puri, we made a brief stop at the Sudarshan Craft Museum.

A brain child of the famous sculptor Sudarshan Sahoo and the recipient of Padmashri.

It is located on Station Road Puri and is centred round a Japanese Buddhist Temple.

Established in 1977, Sudarshan Craft Museum showcases sculptures, wood and stone carvings, paintings, and other handcrafted items. It also includes a showroom offering items for sale.

Finally we were back in the comforts of the Sterling Resort Puri and a long dip in the resort’s swimming pool was enough to refresh us for the evening cultural program at the resort’s open air amphitheatre.

Gotipua Dance, Sterling Resort, Puri

Gotipua Dance, Sterling Resort, Puri[

The program started with Gotipua dance, this was no practice session and the dancers were in full attire complete with back ground music and multi coloured flashing lights. It was followed by a Odissi Dance performance.

Odissi Dance, Sterling Resort, Puri

Odissi Dance, Sterling Resort, Puri[

Last but not least was the Sambalpuri Dance and during the entire cultural programme we were treated with the most exotic snacks. The long day ended with an amazing dinner at the resort’s restaurant Utkala.

Day 2 (Satapada, Chilka Sea Mouth)

No trip to a beach resort is complete without a morning walk in the beach. I am always a early morning persons. During my travels, in spite of hectic schedules, I still  make it early in the morning.

Deepyan crosses the backwater to reach the Sterling Resort Puri Beach

Deepyan crosses the backwater to reach the Sterling Resort Puri Beach[

In most FAMs I am the only morning walker but this time I was accompanied by Deepayan, a vlogger. The Sterling Resort Puri is located next to the sea mouth of River Dhaudia, which in turn is the distributary of River Bhargabi.

The Satapada Jetty, Chilika Lake, Odisha

The Satapada Jetty, Chilika Lake, Odisha[

The approach to the beach is bit tricky as one as to cross a backwater emerging out of Dhudia. It is a tricky crossing and at the height of monsoon the water was almost knee deep and fast flowing.

A boat at Chilika Lake, Odisha

A boat at Chilika Lake, Odisha[

With some difficulty we made it to the beach but the skies were overcast and there were no views of the sunrise, so we were soon back to the comforts of the Resort.

After a quick breakfast it was time to hit the road again and this time our destination was Satapada, located near the sea mouth of Chilika Lake.

It was little over an hours journey to Satapada and well before we reached Satapada the Chilika Lake was visible on our right. Satapada is an entry point to the Chilka Lake and is famous for Dolphin Sighting and trips to the sea mouth.  The boat journey from Satapada to the sea mouth (mohana) takes little over an hour and includes a brief stopover for dolphin sighting.

A boat at Chilika Lake, Odisha

A boat at Chilika Lake, Odisha[

Although termed as a lake, Chilika is actually a logoon. Geographers define a “lagoon” as a special type of lake separated from the sea by a narrow natural embankment with small openings connecting it with the sea. On the other hand biologists claim that these small openings allow salt and sweet water to intermingle and thereby form a unique, but fragile, ecosystem found nowhere else in the world.

The Irrawaddy Dolphin is the flagship species of the Chilika Lake and there are spotted leaping out of the water, sadly they barely come out of the water making photography extremely difficult.

Fellow Bloggers take a stroll at Chilika Sea Mouth (Mohana)

Fellow Bloggers take a stroll at Chilika Sea Mouth (Mohana)[

Our disappointment was soon overcome by a remarkable journey through the lake where the boatman, with remarkable skills, guided our boat through a complicated maze of fishing nets attached to bamboo poles.

The one-hour journey took us past fishing villages located on the numerous islands that dot the lagoon. We landed on a narrow stretch of sand separating the lake from the sea. On our east lay the rough seas of the Bay of Bengal and on the west were the calm waters of Chilka.

This narrow stretch of sand also houses some makeshift food stalls selling fried fish and crabs but the centre of attraction is definitely the pearls sold straight out of oyster shells!

After spending about an hour at the sea mouth (mohana) which included a snacks break of fresh fried sea food, we retraced our steps back to Satapada and then on wards to Sterling Resort Puri. (A separate article on Satapada and Chilika Lake will be coming up soon in my blog).

A panoramic view of the Sterling Resort Puri at night

A panoramic view of the Sterling Resort Puri at night

After a lunch break at the resort we were all set for a Sterling Resort Tour. We made our way through the vast open spaces, the banquets, spas and gym and not to mention the different assortment of rooms. (A separate article on Sterling Resort Puri will be coming up soon in my blog)

The day ended with a small adda session around a campfire followed by our final dinner. But sadly it was not a good night sleep as we have to get up at 2:30 am to catch out Kolkata flight from Bhubaneswar.

Note: This FAM tour was hosted by the Sterling Holidays 

Special Thanks:

  1. Bharat Raja of Sterling Holidays and Sourav Sengupta of Sterling Resort Puri
  2. Roshan Gupta, Public Relation person
  3. My fellow FAM participants consisting of bloggers, vloggers and influencers
Advertisements
  1. No comments yet.
  1. No trackbacks yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: