5 Facts about Puri You've Probably Never Heard Before
1. Vimala Temple inside Jagannath Temple complex
Vimala Temple, regarded as one of the four Adi Shakti Pithas, is located within Jagannath Temple complex. The temple is located in the south-west corner of the inner enclosure of the temple complex, next to the sacred pond Rohini kunda. Food offered to Jagannath does not get sanctified as 'Mahaprasad' until it is also offered to Vimala.
2. Non-vegetarian food offering inside Jagannath Temple complex
During Durga Puja, Vimala is offered non-vegetarian food and animal sacrifice. It is considered necessary to placate the goddess who assumes a destructive form during the festival. In strict secrecy during the pre-dawn hours, animal sacrifice (he-goat) is offered in the temple, while fish from the sacred Markanda temple tank are cooked and offered to Vimala, as per Tantric rituals. The rituals are completed before the doors of the main sanctum of the Lord Jagannath are opened at dawn and the first morning 'aarti' is offered to the god.
3. Lokanatha Temple - Shiva Lingam is always under water
Close to Jagannath temple lies the ancient Lokanatha temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. The unique feature of this temple is that the Shiva Lingam is always submerged under water, as the Ganga flows over it as a stream.
4. Balighai beach - where Olive Ridley turtles lay their eggs
Situated just 8km away from Puri at the mouth of Nuanai River, pristine Balighai beach offers refreshing experience to the visitors. Olive Ridley turtles visit this place between December and January to lay their eggs in the sand.
5. Rare Indian blackbuck at Balukhand-Konark Wildlife Sanctuary
Located between Puri and Konarak, Balukhand-Konark Wildlife Sanctuary is a must visit destination for nature lovers. Rare Indian black bucks can be seen here along with spotted deer, peacock, striped hyena, Olive Ridley sea turtles (in winter) and migratory birds (in winter).