Ask any casual tourist about two of the most famous places in Odisha and they will tell you about Puri and Konark. Every year millions of tourists visit Puri to seek blessings from Lord Jaggannath and in the process get cheated by the local priests also known as Pandas. Jokes aside, Puri is the tourist hub of Odisha, the last time I was here I was merely 12 years old and on a tour de Odisha with my parents.
I didn’t remember much.
When I made plans for Odisha, Chandipur was not on the list, all I knew was that Bhubaneshwar, Puri and Konark are the places that I had to visit, so when I left Balasore I decided my next destination has to be Puri.
In the month of November this city was scorching hot, the bus dropped me at the main beach, a beach that was extremely filthy and intensely crowded. In this burning heat the place was overflowing with tourists, garbage and camel dung. At a distance I could see the same old watersports like Goa and other beach destinations but the god-awful amount of garbage was only thing worth noticing.
Disappointed, I moved on to the temple area. As soon as I stepped in the vicinity, I noticed the entire street was laden with beggars. Beggars of all shapes, ages and sizes, it was immensely pitiful and outrageous at the same time.
It’s hard to believe that the biggest tourist destination of Odisha could be in such a pathetic condition.
Anyway, after complaining on social media, people guided me to the place where I was supposed to be. Like most beautiful places are away from the hustle-bustle of the towns, this one was no exception.
I reached Chakratirtha beach after passing a couple of pits and obstacles and finally ended up in the far end corner of the city. Finally I was at a clean peaceful beach with only a few fishermen in sight who were coming back with their catch of the day.
After spending some time walking aimlessly, I ended up at a restaurant for lunch. A shack type restaurant in the beach’s neighborhood which was recommended to me by a couple of friends. The food here was so delicious that I think I’ll have to write a separate article to do it justice. The aroma of the garlic rising from the Ginger Garlic Chicken dish was mouthwatering. The simple yet efficient use of spices on king fish made my taste buds dance in joy.
After this mouthwatering treat, I tried Garlic chicken at 3 different restaurants in three different cities but my taste buds never got the same love and aroma that this place had so kindly given.
It was time to leave for my next destination, the land of the unknown, Konark.