|Fishermen at Sunrise, Chilka.|
Konark and Bhubaneshwar experiences indulged and enjoyed, we proceeded to Chilka via Puri, home to The Jagganath Temple, one of India's holiest shrines.
|One Coconut for the Road!|
|Jagganath Temple, Puri.|
|Krishna, Balaram and Subhadra.|
|The Rath Yatra (File Photo).|
The surprising fact is, that Subhadra is not even a minor deity in the Hindu pantheon of Gods, and, the reasons for her to be worshiped here, at one of Hinduism's holiest shrines, and, nowhere else, are shrouded in mystery.
In the sanctum sanctorum are the idols of Balabhadra (white), Subhadra (yellow), and Jagannath (black). They are placed on a Chlorite stone platform. The Idols are made from Wood and are incomplete, having no hands. The story goes that the Divine Sculptor had asked to be left undisturbed while carving the Idols. After two weeks, the impatient King peeped in and the Craftsman vanished, leaving the Idols incomplete.
The famous Car Festival or Rathayatra is observed in summer, every year, and attracts many hundreds of thousands pilgrims and visitors from all over India and abroad.
|Lord Jagganath's Chariot (FP).|
Lord Jagannath’s Chariot is called Nandighosa. Forty-five feet high with sixteen wheels, each of seven-foot diameter, it is covered with a decorated red and yellow cloth.
Lord Balaram's Chariot, called the Taladhwaja, is the one with the Palm Tree on its flag. Forty-four feet high, with fourteen wheels and is covered with a red and blue cloth.
Subhadra's twelve wheeled forty-three feet high Chariot, known as Dwarpadalana, literally "trampler of pride," is decked in red and black.
|Idols on Chariots (FP).|
The Kanchi Ganesha, the black stone idol of Lord Ganesha placed in this temple was reportedly brought from Kanchi.
The Maha Laxmi Mandir. It's the only place within the premises of the Jagannath Temple where the sound of the sea is heard. Folklore has it that since Goddess Laxmi is the daughter the ocean; there is a strong bond between the two, which results in the sea being heard only at this point of the complex.
|A Panda at Puja.|
|Sand Sculpture, Puri Beach.|
Moreover, the 'Pandas', the minor priests, at the Jagannath Temple are particularly aggressive and rapacious, and prey on poor superstitious pilgrims. It just gives the Hindu religion a bad name and undercuts peoples' piety.
The Policy of allowing entry only to 'Devout Hindus', whatever that means, the author is in no way 'Devout', is regrettable as it is against the tenets of Hinduism.This diktat has often come in for attack and condemnation, rightly so.
|The Crowded, Popular Puri Beach.|
Leaving the Temple, one ventured forth on to the Beach, one of Puri's best features. This Beach is generally crowded with Pilgrims and Holidaymakers, as Puri is the most popular Beach Destination on the East Coast of India.
|Fishermen and Turtle.|
At most times Puri Beach a microcosm of of Indian life, what with family groups, mendicants, vendors, street food stalls, animals, fishermen's communities et all. going about their business. Quite frenetic!.
|Life is a B**ch -- No Bull!|
The Beach itself is golden sands and the slope into the sea is very gradual, making it safe; except during the monsoons when there are strong undercurrents.
|Puri, Shallow Safe Seas.|
|Solitude and Shells at Dawn, Puri Beach.|
|Sand Sculpted Santas.|
|'Pani Puri' in Puri.|
|Fresh Fried Seafood .|
Chilka Lake and Enviorns
|View from our Cottage.|
|View from cottage at Sunset.|
|Lesser Indian Kingfisher.|
|Siberian Crane in Flight.|
The Lake plays host to an extensive variety of bird life, both native and migrant. This makes Chilka one of the best places in India for bird-watching. It is the largest wintering ground for migratory birds in India. Over 150 varieties of birds can be viewed here, including the endangered Siberian Crane.
|Greater Flamingos, Chilka.|
|Siberian Crane and Egrets.|
|Rare Fishing Eagle.|
|Fishermen Punting a Boat at Dusk.|
|Morning Light, Chilka.|
The best time to be on the lake are Dawn and Dusk, the Morning and Evening hours offer peace, tranquility and good light for photography. In fact, on the final day of our stay, in a hurry to get to the jetty so as to not miss sunrise; the author tried climbing over a locked gate at the resort, forgetting that advancing years and good living have no longer left the body as limber as it used to be. The inevitable slip and fall resulted in many contusions and injuries on the shin. Adrenalin and 'natural intrepidity' ensured that the three hour boat ride was successful and enjoyable, but later, pain and stiffness resulted in a diagnosis of a depressed fracture back in Delhi.
|Babla Majhi (L) and Friend.|
|Chilka Shrimp with Chilies.|
|Fish and Veg, in Mustard.|
|Godess Kalijai Temple.|
Satapada - One of the two confluence points of the lake with the ocean, near Puri. It is the best place to spot dolphins.
|Tara Tarini Temple.|
Tara Tarini Temple - On Kumari hills on the bank of Rushikulya, about 30 Km from Rambha. One of The Shakti Sthals in Orissa.
|Nirmaljhar Temple and Spring.|
Banpur - The former capital of the Sailodvaba dynasty, houses the shrine of Goddess Bhagwati. The temple of "Dakshya Prajapati" is a fine example of Orissan temple architecture.
|Ashoka's Edicts, Jaugad.|
|Stick Insect, at Jaugad.|
Eleven of Ashoka's Fourteen Edicts are inscribed on Rocks here, in the Pali Script. We also saw a stick insect here, which resembles a twig. Natural camouflage.
|Fish at Panthaniwas.|
|Fisherman laying nets.|
The hotel cooks were very good about cooking the fresh fish and shrimps that we would buy from our fishermen friends. These went down very well with Chilled Beer, which was very reasonably priced at Panthaniwas.
All good things come to a end, however, and we had come to the 'finis' of our stay.
|A 'Bulleteer's Typical Stance!.|
|Memories of Chilka.|
We drove down to Bhubaneshwar, checked into the Trident, a day of meetings, some last minute shopping for Gurmeet, and, a flight back to Delhi.
|Sunset on Chilka Lake.|