Puri is a place that has been visited by almost all the travel-loving Bengalis. Being a popular beach destination along with one of the “Char Dham”, Puri has been on the list of tourists Being a Bengali, I have been there and done all those touristy things in Puri, though my first visit at Puri had been a total nightmare. I had a freak accident and had to remain in a cast for one month! But that is another story. But the story of this visit is different. This time we had visited Sterling Resort, Puri. Being there and done all, we had expected a laidback trip. But we were pleasantly surprised. For Sterling Holidays had planned something beyond the usual Puri.
Sterling Resort Puri – for the perfect staycation
The best part of the property is that it is located away from the main centre in a perfectly peaceful location. So if you are thinking of a place to relax and rejuvenate away from all the bustle, this resort is the perfect place. The resort is around 7-10 minutes drive from Swargadar towards the mohana, the confluence of the Bhargavi River and sea.
A first look at the place and we knew it was a beautiful place. The huge and colourful reception overlooks a blue swimming pool and further down, the sea can be seen. There are different categories of rooms at the resort like the Classic Rooms, Premier and Privilege Suites. With a soothing ambience, the place was ideal for laidback holidays. The restaurant “Utkala” served great food and you can also try the Spa at the resort. There is an activity area for the kids as well as a sports activity centre.
That was about the resort, now we would talk about the trip itself. After we arrived and freshened up, we went for a trip to the heritage and handicrafts village of Raghurajpur. Raghurajpur is a small village near Puri about 15 km away. The village is famous for its ‘patachitra’, a form of intricate painting made on clothes. The village has about 100 families of artisans who make beautiful handicrafts. We will talk about that in a later post. At Raghurajpur, we had a sumptuous traditional Odiya lunch.
Raghurajpur is also known as the birthplace of Gotipua dance form. Gotipua is an acrobatic dance form that is also said to be the precursor of the Odissi form. In Gotipua dance, boys usually dress up as girls and perform an amazing dance. The dance form is more inclined towards acrobatics and it is indeed mind-blowing to see the young boys performing these feats that sometimes defy gravity!
After an interesting trip to Raghurajpur, we returned to Puri and visited the Sudarshan Crafts Museum. The place is named after Sudarshan Sahoo in 1977. He was the one to carve the tales of Jataka at Dhauli Stupa and was also the sculptor of Buddha Statue at Atami Peace Pagoda in Japan. We saw how the sculptors bring life to the stones by transforming them into stunning pieces of artwork. That was all about the first day in Puri. After the morning flight and Raghurajpur trip, we were all tired and ready to enjoy some time at the pool. In the evening, the resort had arranged a dance performance for us. There was a performance of Gotipua dance along with a beautiful and gracious performance of Odissi. Finally, a tribal dance to the peppy Odiya number concluded the day.
The second day’s trip was equally interesting. We visited the Chilika Sea Mouth. Chilika is the largest coastal lagoon in India. During the winter season, the place becomes a haven for migratory birds. There are a few entry points to Chilika Lake and e visited the nearest one at Satpada.
At the Chilka Sea Mouth
We reached Satpada within an hour and then a dolphin trail was arranged for us. It took us to the place where dolphins could be spotted. We did see a few of them though they preferred to play hide and seek with us. After the tryst with dolphins, we were taken on an hour-long boat journey to the sea mouth, where the Chilika Lake meets the sea. Spending some time at the sea beach is always refreshing and especially so when you have a great company. We had delectable seafood like crabs and shrimps at the island along with chilled beer.
This was our last day at the resort. We had an evening barbecue and party where we were introduced to the staffs of the property. Two days passed by so quickly, but in these two days we had lots of fun, made new friends and had loads of adda that we Bengalis are so famous of.
Puri usually means a visit to the Jagannath Temple and a bath in the sea along with having the mouth-watering gojas. But this time, Sterling Holidays introduced us to a different Puri, and I think that is what they mean by #HolidayDifferently. All these activities and experiences can be arranged by Sterling Resort, Puri for their guests. The traditional Odiya lunch at Raghurajpur usually costs INR 650 per person for a group of 4. The trip to Chilika Sea mouth can also be booked from the Sterling Resort, Puri.
Here are a few pictures of the Sterling Resort
Beyond Puri – a beautiful experience – a few more pictures
Disclaimer: I was hosted by the Sterling Holidays at their Puri resort along with other bloggers for these 2 days, but the views written here are entirely my own.