Puri - Sun, sea, sand and...

23rd Jan 2008
Photo of Puri - Sun, sea, sand and... 1/1 by Soumya Siddhartha Mohanty

A haven for pilgrims and tourists alike, fun is an integral part of the Puri experience. While the first part painted the pilgrim's visage, the freak-out tourist gets his share of the spotlight on this second part. Inferences from my earlier blog should have revealed my predilection for the place. Like any other beach, the golden beach of Puri is a stretch of sand, and just like any other beach the shore pictures magnificent as the tides break on it.

Unlike other beaches though, you would not find people in an inebriated state, or even foreigners cutting loose. With an atmosphere of sanctity around, you take a holy dip and if its not the water that'll purge you, it sure should have you jumping in joy. Introspection is what inevitably plays on the mind and the sights and sounds are a whole lot different. You are richer in experience at the end of the day, the calmness around with that tinge of soporific has given ample space to reflect and thrive. No wonder philosophers and writers have found solace in the symphony of colors as the sun descends into the deep blue waters.But it is not all about spirituality. It is also about the free spirit that breaks the shackles here and shouts out loud, its voice dissolving in the sea when you are one with it, embracing it and at times being an element of nature yourself. With colleges sprouting up in and around Puri (Bhubaneswar, 60 kms from Puri has a record number of Engineering colleges and follows Bangalore closely) youth and its exuberance find vent here, and invariably a group of friends grab their bikes and head beach wards. Fun and frolic, excitement and delight all the way in the scintillating beauty offered by the ethereal mix of Sun, sea, sand and the soul.

The beach probably lags on the Adventure front and apart from the odd horseback and camelback rides, juvenile pleasures of Para-sailing and water-skiing are sorely missed. Getting the paraphernalia in place to get the adventurous self howling will take some doing as the culture really is more peace abiding and flying in the air with no ground to rest your foot on may be well considered imbecile. Food on the beach is sheer joy. And so are the shops operating as they locomote. The hawkers and the vendors, the chowmein and the Chaiwallas - each one makes his buck and though the price tag is lower than expected for a Tourist Attraction, the quality isn't. A pat on the back and the tea/coffee you gulp down can be "Mast hai" or for that matter "Bhala laaguchi". These joys and more await you and the Puri beach is an overwhelming experience. It is almost a habit with me to sit on the sands and feel the mellifluous sea play the instrument as I experience the oneness. Quite a place, eclectic mix of the sun, sea, sand and the soul, which we often forget lies somewhere within..but its there!