Sunday, June 29, 2008

Orissa trip - Day 4

We left for Puri early next morning. On the way we stopped at Konark first. Standing tall ... as much as possible ,bearing the ravages of time is the Sun temple. The state govt. is doing its best in renovating the place . But there is no alternative to the original. Besides where would they get artists who are as talented as the ones who had actually worked on this wonder? The place looked well maintained and clean. And there were no guides to bother us ... we attributed it to the early time.

The Sun temple is built in the form of a chariot, with wheels on all sides. There are figures of horses pulling it. A "Naachghara" or a "dancing hall" precedes the "garbha griha" or the inner sanctorium. There are four idols of the sun god or Surya Devata. These idols are carved on the four sides of the temple i.e. East,West,North and South. From early morning, when the sun rays fall on the idol on the eastern side, throughout the day the idols get the rays at different time of the day.

We finished looking around the whole place peacefully by 9:30 to 10:00 in the morning.To avoid the crowd we had skipped breakfast and were famished by then. When we stepped out we saw a lot of stalls selling piping hot breakfast. We selected one that had one of its huge kadhais frying samosas and puris. There was piping hot ghugni too. We were so hungry and the food so inviting that we did not talk for around 15 mins. The hot maida puris and ghugni (recipe in my food blog) kept on coming and so did the samosas. They taste completely different from the ones we get in Maharastra and have a very simple aloo filling ... without any overwhelming masalas ... and I was in seventh heaven ... relishing the divine familiar taste again. Unfortunately ... neither of us thought of taking a snap of the place ... a fact that I rue till date.

The bill ( I have to mention this ... and we had eaten to our full) was Rs.20. When hubby asked the guy to keep the change, which was not too much, he was very surprised as the amount was really big for these simple people. What had touched us at this simple roadside eatery was the simplicity and warmth that the man had when he fed every hungry customer. City guy hubby was being surprised at every gesture, every step. I ..... well .... I was home :-) and enjoying the familiar gestures and behaviour of people that I so miss in the metros.

We came across daabwallas and had a good drink of tender coconut water again. The young boy who was selling them took just one look at us and said "Rs.25". I laughed out and started talking to him in fluent Oriya ... assuring him that while we have no intention of robbing him ... we had no intentions of getting robbed either. He immediately started talking and joking with us and took great pains in choosing coconuts for us. I knew he was genuinely choosing the good ones .... I know because I belong to a family which has had coconut and rice fields for ages .... and have grown up with coconuts in all stages available always.

We then went to the Chandrabhaga beach. The Konark temple was actually built inside this sea ... it has receded with time. It is slightly deserted as the tourist crowd is always in a hurry to reach Puri. So it has remained clean and beautiful.

Spent time there ... but the sun was too hot. So went ahead on our journey to Puri. The marine drive is beautiful and I really wanted to get down and walk in the sand dunes.

But we were really getting late and wanted to reach Puri in time for our visit to the Jagannath temple. So sat back and enjoyed the drive to Puri.

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