Mesmerising is the only word that comes to my mind when I think about my trip to Odisha. An impromptu decision to fly to Bhubaneswar to visit friends and be a part of the famous Rath Yatra was a divine decree.

We landed in Bhubaneswar when the monsoon was at its peak and the rain gods were showering their eternal love on this ancient yet very well planned city with a modern outlook. It was a treat to see the lush greenery on our way from the airport to the hotel. We left early for Puri for the divine darshan of the deities. It was the 10 day of the rath yatra just a day after Suna Besha wherein the three deities Lord Jagannath, his elder brother Balbhadra Ji and sister Subhadra are adorned with beautiful gold ornaments, placed in their chariots outside the temple waiting to go back to their home. Every year millions of devotees, sanyasis, monks become a part of this yatra, the only time of the year when the non-Hindu devotees can catch a glimpse of their favorite god.

Amidst the sea of thousands of pilgrims, we did darshan. We were lucky enough to catch a few holy basil leaves as prashad when the priest decided to toss some at the crowd from one of his chariots. Having accomplished the spiritual mission, we headed to satiate the stomach at the Mayfair Heritage, Puri one of the finest luxury hotels with the most stunning view of the ocean from various parts of the property. After taking a cozy corner in the restaurant with the gigantic view of the Bay of Bengal, we had the most authentic finger-licking seafood which was a treat to the eyes and the tongue. Later, we went to Konark the temple dedicated to Lord Surya, the Sun God. It is a UNESCO world heritage site as it is a distinct model of ancient artistry and science, its geometrical patterns and carved wheels serve as sundials. The place left us spellbound. As portrayed by the great poet Rabindernath Tagore: “here the language of stone surpasses the language of man”

A trip to Odisha is incomplete without getting home its famous weave Ikkat and the handcrafted silver filigree work. Shopping in the capital city Bhubneswar was a great experience. Odisha, the ancients land merges beautifully with the modern cities full of luxury and comfort.

-By Priya Vashista

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