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Where to Stay in Puri – a neighbourhood guide

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As one of Orissa’s 3 golden temple cities, Puri’s alive with religious exuberance. Hindu pilgrims head here year-round, but especially during Ratha Yatra, the dazzling chariot festival, making it a busy, colourful place to stay. Puri's shoreline also pulls in tourists – both Indian and foreign – meaning there’s a lot of hotels, both on and off the beach, from coastal resorts with pools and terraces, to hotels catering for those with tighter budgets.
Hotels in Chakra Tirtha

 

 

Plenty of modern mid-range 2 and 3-star hotels line the beach along Chakra Tirtha Road. Many of them have vast whitewashed buildings with grass lawns leading to the sand, and an on-site pool. Don’t worry if you can’t quite afford the higher end hotels. Head off the beach towards the station for plenty of cheap hotels – think simple rooms with shared bathrooms, great for mingling with backpackers.

 

Marine Drive

 

 

At the western end of Puri Beach, Marine Drive has long been the playground of Indian vacationers, who enjoy the city for its mix of beach holiday hotspot and religious pilgrimage sites. There’s a popular beach market near the Swargadwar cremation grounds – themselves an interesting sight – offering all sorts of shell-laden knick-knacks and souvenirs.

 

Hotels in Marine Drive

 

 

There are some picture-postcard resort hotels dotted along Marine Drive, complete with shimmering sapphire blue pools, and airy lounges to sit back and savour a cool drink on a hot day. The beach is just steps away, giving sun-worshippers pride of place in Puri.

 

Grand Road

 

 

Thanks to its proximity to Jagannath Temple – an iconic pilgrimage site and one of the most important Hindu places of worship – Grand Road’s a colourful, chaotic, and cheerful spot, brimming with Hindu devotees heading to worship at Jagannath Temple. The area really comes alive in Ratha Yatra – the city’s heaving and dynamic chariot festival – when the streets are filled with pilgrims, and flamboyant, hand made chariots with deities atop are paraded around the city. The area around here is filled with street stalls, market complexes, and bazaars selling souvenirs and handicrafts.

 

Hotels in Grand Road

 

 

Accommodation in Grand Road is limited, and as such gets booked up quickly by Hindu pilgrims, who are in Puri to worship at Jagannath Temple. You can generally expect pretty basic accommodation by Western standards, with many guestrooms having shared bathrooms. If you fancy getting caught up in the breathless religious fervour, this is an intriguing area to stay.