A few years back when I visited Puri, I wasn’t aware of Raghurajpur, the Artists Village. It was only a few months later that I came to know that there’s a village within 10kms from Puri that consists of 100 houses were everyone is an artisan. They are the artisans that are keeping the ‘Pattachitra’ art alive. Sadly, I never got to go back.
Puri happens to be one of the most visited spots by us Bengalies and even though I haven’t really got the time to go back, this time to pay extra attention to Raghurajpur, I have always made sure that whenever any friends or relatives are visiting Puri, they are reserving a day to visit Raghurajpur. I don’t usually write about trips that I took before I started blogging, but given to the fact that this village should get more exposure then it usually gets, I really thought it deserved a post (maybe there will be another after I take the second trip?). I mean residing in Kolkata I really would have known about the village before taking the trip had it got the exposure it deserves. The artists from the village are not only pro at ‘Pattachitra’ but also at making stone idols, traditional masks, wooden toys and sculpture. Many artists from the village have received national awards for their exceptional works. Who would not want to visit a heritage village like that?
Apart from Raghurajpur, there are many other tourist and religious attractions that makes many Bengalies travel to Puri throughout the year. When we visited Puri it was just a couple of days after Puri was hit by a cyclone. Needless to say, that didn’t make us cancel our plan. My cousin who was visiting just a few days earlier got stuck during the cyclone and when we reached the hotel, a lot of tourists stuck during the cyclone were still checking out. We reached our hotel by early dawn and explored the beaches throughout the day. We thought that because of the recent cyclone, there would be fewer visitors, but we were wrong. During the evening we explored the local markets and purchased the famous ‘Kotki Shawl’ of Cuttack.
The following day we took a boat ride through the Chilka Lake. It was a bit of pain to stroll under the scorching heat, but we stopped at a small island had the most amazing prawn and crab we have ever tasted and that pretty much made up to it.
The next morning we went to Bhubaneswar. The road trip was AMAZING even though there were trees lying down the road here and there because of the storm and we had to make our way to Bhubaneswar. When we got there, the scene was a little terrible as the city looked like the cyclone has hit them harder than they hit Puri. We couldn’t get breakfast anywhere as all the restaurants were closed because of the cyclone and as far as I can remember we didn’t get anything to eat before lunch.
At Bhubaneswar we went to the Konark Sun Temple and various other temples and finished by a delightful stroll at the Chandrabhaga beach at the evening. The next day was spent at the famous Nandan Kanon Zoo where to took a Lion Safari and Bear Safari and all the Safaries they had. The road trip back to Puri has to be one of the best road trips I have taken so far, amidst the woods listening to the song of the sea.
The next day was the last day of our stay. Even though the Jagannath Temple happens to be the main attraction of Puri, we decided to give it a skip as we have it was just too crowded that we felt claustrophobic. We spent the evening strolling at the beaches and then we boarded our train later that night.
How to go:
From Kolkata- 8 h 36 min by train
From any other part of the country- You can book your flight with Indigo Airlines.
Even though we visited Puri right after the storm, most of the hotels were still houseful, so booking your hotel before the trip is probably the best idea. You can look for hotels in puri online for a hassle free stay.