Sweating It Out in Among the Juggernaut

19th Jun 2016
Photo of Sweating It Out in Among the Juggernaut 1/4 by Anuj Tikku

Summer in middle India is not fun - it is hot as hell and frankly, the weather has really put the spanner in the works for my Travelthon. It seems that I made the wrong choice in travelling at the peak of summer heat. I will say it, Bangalore's a better place to find yourself if you have to be in June!

Photo of Sweating It Out in Among the Juggernaut 2/4 by Anuj Tikku
Photo of Sweating It Out in Among the Juggernaut 3/4 by Anuj Tikku
Photo of Sweating It Out in Among the Juggernaut 4/4 by Anuj Tikku

First, it was the oven of Khajuraho. The past few days has been the furnace of Puri. But I had to visit the Jagannath Temple and I have been doing temples for a while. It is a large temple complex and inside it, you have many domes leading to other mini temples. With priests and pujaris all around, a bhandara of rice and dal was being fed to anyone who entered the temple. There were long queues at the temple and the faithful had lined up. I tried to take some photographs with my mobile but was soon reprimanded for it. I was asked to go to the office and delete my photos which I duly did. So sorry, no pictures from this part of the world but here is the official place that you can look at, some including a live webcast. I could get some shots of the temple from the outside.

That was a shame alright but I did spend Rs. 400 (about $6) to buy two boxes of prasad which I consumed over the next two days sitting in my hotel room wondering as always how this works, why, where and other existential conundrums that I have never been able to wrap my head around that! Also, I just had no energy to go out into the sweltering heat of the city again. So I did my laid back thing and enjoyed the cool air-conditioning sipping nimbu pani, lemonade Indian style and having plates of rice and rohu fish. It was a delight and the fish was tender and the gravy was homemade. Of course, this is the coastal area of Odisha and I relished some prawn curry as well.

Photo of Sweating It Out in Among the Juggernaut by Anuj Tikku

The town of Puri is ancient and the crowd outside the temple was at its peak in the evening. Littered with many eateries selling mostly vegetarian food like dosa, which definitely is not from here and an import, if I may say so, from southern India! There was also dal and sabzi which I like to call non-denominational - everyone makes it!

The city is interconnected with by lanes and which are not the neatest or clean. The cycle rickshaws and the larger motorised three-wheelers are the general modes of quick transport that people use to move about. Puri is a one and half hour drive from the Bhubaneshwar Airport and the Konark Temples are 40 km away from the capital city of Odisha. I, however, did not have the energy to see the Konark Temples and gave it a miss. I know that I will hate myself for it but there are cooler days to come by!

I preferred to relax in my room and took my favoured long naps as the evening sea breeze was the only relief I got from time to time. This air was my only friend and kept me cool and sheltered and made my loneliness cooler! The OYO room was a little less than what I had been used to and the service was average to say the best. I enjoyed some bare bones puri and sabzi for breakfast and ordered ice cream from time to time essentially as I am not a part of the weight watchers club. On my last day at Puri, I took a three-wheeler ride to the neighbouring Narendra Sarovar, a pond which is a vantage point here. I whizzed around the sea beach and the ride gave me a larger perspective of the city. My Indigo flight was delayed by an hour and I reached the airport well before time. Rs 1400 for a taxi to drive me to the airport was definitely steep and I am now back at Delhi planning my next destination Mauritius where I hope to see more hospitable weather and catch some scuba diving - one of the very few things that I am qualified to do and all hell is well - here I come!

Originally posted on TikkusTravelthon.in

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