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6 Must Visit Natural World Heritage Sites in India

India is blessed with enormous natural bounties and beauties. Home to over 88+ national parks, 70% of the great Himalayas that runs along its north and northeastern border and the Western Ghats that stretches all the way from North to South along the Western edge of the country from, India houses some of the most vibrant biodiversity hotspots.  To be inscribed by UNESCO as World Heritage Site is no mean feat and the natural sites that we will talk about are the 6 Must Visit Natural World Heritage Sites in India. So read on and hopefully visit them as soon as you can!

Valley of Flower

Valley of flowers - A National Park in the Indian Himalayas
Valley of flowers - A National Park in the Indian Himalayas
An Indian National Park, which encompasses a unique natural zone between the Great Himalayas and Zanskar, Valley of Flower is something about which you hear only in a fairy tale. Like a giant colorful carpet covering the mountains, the flower valley sprawls over an expanse of around 87 km sq km . Since 2004, the park has been a UNESCO world-heritage site. Well, these were some facts of this unique valley in the state of Uttarakhand.

Speaking of its immense beauty, one just cannot be tired of speaking about it the whole day.  Representing western Himalayan meadows and ecoregion, the valley of flowers with its alpine vegetation has gained great importance. It has permanent species of flowers like the colorful Lillies, Daisies and Poppy. Also, the valley boasts of flowers of tremendous medicinal values. If you are a trekker, florist, botanist or just an admirer of nature’s beauty, a trip to this myriad region of flowers is a must.
[ Read More About  Valley of Flowers National Park ]

However, you need to take care of certain things before planning a trip. As it is a reserved natural area,  permission from the authorities is required. Plus, the timing of the visit is very important. The best months to see the whole valley turn into a playground of multi colors are July and August.

The valley of flowers also offers an opportunity to watch some of the rarest and endangered species of animals in their natural habitat. A total of 13 species of mammals that include Asiatic black bear, red fox, blue sheep and musk deer can be seen, while walking along the flowery trails in the valley.

Sundarbans National Park

Sundarbans National Park - UNESCO world heritage site

A National park, wildlife sanctuary, tiger reserve, biosphere reserve and a UNESCO world heritage site. These are some of the titles, the region of Sunderbans is accolade with. Just as one reaches the southern tip of West Bengal, where the land meets sea, you would be welcomed by the marshy Sundarbans.

These marshylands provide natural homes to a variety of animals, underlining the royal Bengal tiger as its pride. Being situated at the biggest delta in the world, Ganga-Brahmaputra doab, the geography of Sunderbans is all about mangrove forests, with a variety of flora and a unique ecosystem to support the life form.

You would have seen numerous Bollywood movies on Sundarbans like the recent flick ‘Roar’, where the Royal Bengal tiger turns haywire on visitors and rule the land like his den. Well in reality, the land is still ruled by the tigers, but with little aggression.

Sundarbans National Park - Natural World Heritage Sites in India

Around 400 tigers walk over the damp lands of Sunderbans and can be watched from a manageable distance by the visitors. Tigers in this area are prone to swimming in the saline waters of the delta, although water has been the territory of any form of cat. Nevertheless,  don’t panic if you see any tiger swimming near your house boat.

Besides the black striped yellow cat, wildlife lovers can always fancy saltwater crocodile and Ganges River Dolphin in the waterbodies of Sunderbans. You can even have a great time watching beautiful migratory birds in the vicinity. Prime ones are Openbill storks, Waterhens, Pheasant Tailed Jacanas, Gray Herons and Paradise-Flycatchers. Watch out for venomous snakes as they are in abundance at Sunderbans.

Keoladeo National Park

Keoladeo National Park - World Heritage Sites in India

Escaping the boulevards of the mainstream Rajasthan, Keoladeo National Park seems like the best option any bird lover can have to wind up. Especially during winters, when its geography turns into a big fat nest of migratory birds.

You would be wondering what is so unique about this man-made wetland that lures thousands of foreign birds towards itself. Well, the answer lies in its strategic location. Being located enroute the Central Asian migratory flyway and the presence of a waterbody, the breeding birds do not seek a no, but make a stoppage at this address.

This trend of migration has been in continuation since the historic times, when the National Park was used as a hunting ground by the early rulers of the state. Now the hunting is over, so the visitors can get to see a humongous range of exotic birds. With over 370 species being recorded in the park till date, you just simply cannot ignore its variety.

Amongst the major attractions, Keoladeo National Park finds its biggest pride in the range of migratory waterfowls that visit the ecology during winters. Herons, Comorants, Common Sandpiper, Sarus Crane, Siberian Crane and Storks add to the glory of the park.

[ Also check out some of the best national parks in India ]

Kaziranga National Park

Kaziranga National Park in World Heritage Sites in India

Home to the Great Indian One Horned Rhinoceros, Kaziranga National Park runs all along the Brahmaputra river in Assam. Ironically, this undisturbed area of wilderness, is also one of the most popular tourist destinations in India. To the delight of wildlife enthusiasts, the national park is not only in the limelight for its enormous population of one-horned rhinos, but it has tigers as well to boast upon.

Looking at the high density of tigers in Kaziranga, the national park was also declared a tiger reserve almost a decade back. Kaziranga, being a source of inspiration for several books, documentaries and songs, is altogether a different world in its own. The serenity and unique biodiversity Kaziranga in terms of its flora and fauna make it perfectly suited for wildlife safaris that include Elephant safari and Jeep safari.  

A tour in the wilderness of Kaziranga comprises moving through the vast expanse of marshland and dense tropical broadleaf forests. Being on an elephant back or a jeep, the safari will take you deep in the wild. Imagine clicking a wild and strong rhino mom  peacefully grazing on the grasslands of Kaziranga with her cub, just like the Discovery people use to do.

The mere thought of it is enthralling, wonder what the reality would feel like. Similarly, you can capture beautiful pictures of Indian tigers, Asiatic water buffaloes, Sambar deer, Gaur and exotic bird species like Blyth’s Kingfisher, Black-necked stork, Ferruginous duck, White-bellied Heron and Gray-headed fish eagle in the all dense Kaziranga National Park.

[ Also check out some of the best national parks in India ]

Nilgiri Hills


Nilgiri Hills

Famed as the ‘Blue mountains’ of India, Nilgiri hills are one of the most popular tourist destinations in India. As you climb different altitudes of the Nilgiris, you would be coming across hill stations like Kotagiri, Coonoor and Ooty. Being in existence since a very long time, like the Aravallis, the region has encapsulated within itself pristine valleys, waterfalls and small hills.

Blessed by such a topography, the Nilgiris demand to be explored best on foot. If you are fond of trekking, then the hills in this region are just your cup of tea. The region consists of forests of Teak and Rhododendron which brilliantly depict its  geographical diversity. There is also a wildlife sanctuary with the name Mudumalai Wildlife Sanctuary in the vicinity.

Being a part of Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve, the sanctuary serves as an excellent delight for wildlife lovers. Animals like Tigers, Leopards, Chital, Sambar, Sloth Bear, Macaque and elephants are the prime attractions of Mudumalai Wildlife Sanctuary. Besides trekking through the lush green cover of the hills, one can have a quaint time fishing and angling.

If you are at the Nilgiris, do not forget to take away tea bags of the world renowned ‘Nilgiri Tea’. There is also one ‘Tea and Tourism Festival’ held in the starting months of the year. Therefore, a pocket full of reasons for everyone to travel to Nilgiri Hills, atleast once in their life time.

[ Read more About Top 5 Hill Stations in India ]

Great Himalayan National Park  

Great Himalayan National Park
Wild Goat in Great Himalayan National Park
Himalayas in the north of India hold such a massive repository of diversity, the regions of which not only pushes the limits of adventure lovers, but they preserve the natural heritage of the country as well. This somewhat describes the jewel of the Himalayan region, the Great Himalayan National Park, which today enjoys the privileges of a UNESCO world heritage site.

An ideal Himalayan retreat, highlighting emerald meadows, coniferous forests, snowy peaks and glaciers, the high altitude national park is like no other in India. Its rugged topography and not so easy accessibility, offer the primates of the park a safe and diverse ecological system.

If you are planning to visit the Great Himalayan National Park, make sure you do it in the summers, so that your access in the different regions of the park does not go limited. Some of the most rare species that you can check out in the national park are Himalayan Tahr, Bharal or commonly known as Blue Sheep and Musk Deer. Well, these are the animals you would easily spot in the national park. But, for true wildlife experts and lovers, the wait to watch your favorite animal can stretch from days to weeks.

Waterfall Inside Great Himalayan National Park
Waterfall Inside Great Himalayan National Park
Under this, Snow Leopards are hard to spot. These shy cats are not fond of staying in groups and prefer to stay hidden at the daytime, leaving the nights for an ambush. Thus, a good amount of patience and observation is required to click these beautiful carnivores. Apart from this, the rich diversity of the park also provides a natural habitat to spectacular birds like Monal Pheasant, Western Tragopan, Himalayan Griffon, Golden Eagle and the Great Himalayan Barbet. 

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Top Colorful Mahotsav in India

India is popular all around the world as the land of celebrations. The fairs and festivals of India are a display of the rich heritage, tradition and culture of the country, which attract a huge number of travelers from all around the globe. Apart from these yearly fairs and festivals, India also plays host a number of Mashotsav that are again a splendid celebration of diverse art and crafts, religion, cuisine and culture of India. The blog enlists top 12 famous and colorful Mahotsav in India:

Rann Mahotsav

Rann Mahotsav in Kutch, Gujarat

3-day annual festival of Gujarat, the Rann Mahotsav is a cultural event that is a wonderful display of the authentic culture and feel of the mighty Rann of Kutch.  Also known of Rann Utsav of Kutch, it has a number of highlights such as traditional folk dance and song performances, Thar Desert safari and so on. 

This mahotsav is organized in the month of December and is one of the main attractions of Gujarat. This carnival is the celebration of the cultural ethnicity of the Kutch region and offers opportunity to the craftsmen, artisans and other artists to show their talent.

When- On full moon nights in December
Where- Kutch, Gujarat

[ Read More about Rann Utsav in Gujarat ]

Ganga Mahotsav

Ganga Mahotsav in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh 
The 5-day annual event of Ganga Mahotsav is organized in Varanasi or Banaras, the oldest inhabited city of India, which is located on the banks of the holy river of Ganga. This festival is a reflection of cultural heritage, tradition, cuisine, art and customers of the holy city of Varanasi. All the Ganga ghats/banks in Varanasi are lit with numerous lamps during magnificent festival that is celebrated at the time of Kartik Poornima

A Shilp Mela is also organized at the time of Ganga Mahotsav. Visitors take a dip in the holy waters and soak-in the divinity flowing in the air. Performances of Indian classic music and dance by top-shots of the field as well as activities like boating, swimming, wrestling are the prime highlights.

When- November
Where- Sant Ravi Das Ghat, Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh

Lucknow Mahotsav

Lucknow Mahotsav in Lucknow

The very popular Lucknow Mahotsav, also known as Lucknow Festival is a 10-day long event, which is organized to encourage art, culture and tourism of Uttar Pradesh. 

This festival is a sparkling showcase of Awadhi splendor through traditional Indian classical Kathak dance performances, art and crafts, performances by musical Gharanas, theatre, and more. Visitors can binge on vegetarian and non-vegetarian delicacies of Lakhnawi cuisine, served in a huge variety.

When-November-December
Where- Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh

Raas Mahotsav

Raas Mahotsav in Howly, Assam

Held yearly in the month of November, Raas Mahotsav, also called Majuli Raas Mahotsav is nice experience of knowing the cultural heritage of the region.  Organized in Howly town of Majuli Island, this mahotsav offers the visitors a chance to witness the traditions of the people of Majuli and the culture around the mighty Brahmaputra River. This is the best time to observe the folk dances, art and crafts and the culture of Assam. 

This 4-day festival starts on the Raas Purnima Day. Raas Leela of Lord Krishna is performed by the local artists who start preparing for its several days for it. The stories of Krishna’s life are depicted through dance, chants, songs, puppets, masks and more. This festival is a show of Bhakti Rasa/devotional feelings for Lord.

When-November
Where-Howly, Majuli, Assam

Taj Mahotsav

Taj Mahotsav in Agra

The annual 10- day Taj Mahotsav of Agra takes place near the Taj Mahal, displaying the magnificent art and craft, music, dance, cuisine and culture of Agra along with the other states of the country. Artists from all around India come here to showcase their talent. 

During the spectacular Taj Mahotsav, you can get your hands on some amazing stuff like paintings, jewellery, folk dresses, maps, furniture, show pieces, linen and other knick-knacks. Do not miss relishing delicacies of various states of India. This event is attended by world-famed artists, dancers, musicians and chefs.

When- February
Where- Agra, Uttar Pradesh

[ Read More about  Taj Mahotsav Festivals in Agra ]

Kalinga Mahotsav

Kalinga Mahotsav in Bhubaneswar, Orissa

Kalinga Mahotsav or Dhauli Kalinga Mahotsav, organized every year in Bhubaneshwar is the national festival of martial art dance of Orissa. This 2-day mahotsav attracts martial art artists from all over the country. 

The cause behind this celebration is the victory of peace over war and the inspiration lies behind the Kalinga war that took place during the reign of King Ashoka of Maurya Dynasty. Visitors can see thrilling martial art performances like Kalaripayattu from Kerela, Chhow and Paika from Odisha, Thang Ta from Manipur and more that involve use of swords, sticks, various acrobatics movements etc.

When- February
Where- Bhubaneswar, Orissa

Bhoramdeo Mahotsav

Bhoramdeo Mahotsav in Kawardha, Chhattisgarh

Organized in the last week of the month of March each year, Bhoramdeo Mahotsav is celebrated in the very well-known Bhoramdeo Temple. Dedicated to Lord Shiva, this temple is placed in Kawarda, in India’s tribal state Chattisgarh. 

Famed as Khajuraho of Chattisgarh, this old temple is sandwiched between Maikal ranges and thick forests. This mahotsav is an excellent opportunity to witness the dance and performing arts of the tribal people of the region.

When- March
Where- Kawardha, Chhattisgarh

Maru Mahotsav

Maru Mahotsav in  Jaisalmer, Rajasthan

Also known as the Desert Festival of Rajasthan, Maru Mahotsav is a 3-day fest that is famed all around the world for a colorful display of rich folk culture of Rajasthan. Held every year in the month of February, this festival receives heavy footfall from all around the world. 

The festival includes various exciting competitions and events such as camel rides, matka race, visit to forts and havelis, best facial hair, turban tying, tug of war and more. One of the major highlights of the festival is a colorful process of decorated horses and camels that starts from Sonar Quila and ends with thrilling performances at the Sand dunes of Jaisalmer.

When- February
Where- Jaisalmer, Rajasthan

[ Read More about Folk Sounds of Rajasthani Music ]

Malabar Mahotsav

Malabar Mahotsav in Calicut (Kozhikode), Kerala

A celebration of the traditional cultural glory of the Malabar region, Malabar Mahotsav is a captivating amalgam of musical and dance performances, organized in Calicut, now Kozhikode. Organized from 13th to 16th January, this mahotsav is an exhibit of rituals, cuisines, classical dance and music, literature, drama, folk, art and culture of Malabar. 

Organized by the Kozhikode District Tourism Promotion Council from the year 1992, this festival is held at either the beach or Mananchira ground. Art forms such as Thira, Theyam, Koothu and classical dances like Ottanthullal, Mohiniyattom, Kathakali are the major attractions.

When- 13th to 16th January every year
Where- Calicut (Kozhikode), Kerala

Van Mahotsav

Van Mahotsav in Madhya Pradesh

Celebrated in the first week of July, Van Mahotsav is the annual day when trees are planted. Celebrated all around the country, this mahotsav involves plantation of tree on the sides of the roads to make the India green and conserve forests. Started in Indore in the Madhya Pradesh, it slowly involved the whole country and is attended by all with great enthusiasm.

When- July
Where- Madhya Pradesh

Braj Mahotsav

Braj Mahotsav In Mathura-Vrindavan, Uttar Pradesh

A stimulating display of the food, rituals, culture, dance and music of the Braj region of Mathura and Vrindavan, Braj Mahotsav is celebrated in the honor of Lord Krishan, mainly before Holi, the festival of colors. Organized every year The Braj Foundation, this festival till date since 2005 has been held at different locations such as Vrindavan, Barsana, Jaipur, Delhi, Lucknow, Hyderabad and this year in Bharatpur. 

One of the main events is Raas Leela by popular folk artists of the region, wherein they enact several stories of Lord Krishna’s life. Apart from music and dance, this mahotsav involves theatre, painting, cuisine, literature and even paintings.

When-February-March
Where- Mathura-Vrindavan, Uttar Pradesh

Buddha Mahotsav (Tawang Mahotsav)

Buddha Mahotsav  in Tawang, Arunachal Pradesh

Also known as Tawang Mahotsav, Buddha Mahotsav is a 5-day long festival, which is organized on the event of Buddha Poornima. A celebration of cultural practices and traditional customers of the Buddhist followers, this festival is also celebrated at other places like Ladakh, Bodhgaya, Kushinagar and Sarnath. Along with the celebration of the teachings and life of Lord Buddha, one of the main causes of this festival is the promotion of spiritual tourism of Arunachal Pradesh.

When- October
Where- Tawang, Arunachal Pradesh

[ Check Out some of the most famous Buddhist Pilgrimage Sites in India ]

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Manas National Park: A Travel Guide

A jungle habitat of unparalleled beauty, Manas National Park is situated at the foothills of Himalayas in the state of Assam. It is a renowned UNESCO natural heritage site, biosphere reserve, project tiger reserve and an elephant reserve. Not only for its long list of credentials, one must also visit this green paradise for its unique biodiversity and landscapes.

Seen as some of the rarest gifts of nature, Manas National Park is like a melting point of the west and east, when it comes to its fauna. Blessed by a semi-tropical climate, the biomes of this reputed national park provide a natural home to the some of the most exotic and endangered species of wildfire that are hard to find anywhere else on this planet.

Manas National Park - UNESCO Natural World Heritage Site
Main Entrance Gate View of Manas National Park - UNESCO World Heritage Site

Wildlife of Manas National Park

The lands of the Manas National Park are ruled by a huge variety of wildlife. If statistics are to be believed, the region is home to around 55 species of mammals, 380 species of birds and 50 species of reptiles.

Wildlife photographers can save the sight of different species like the Wild Water Buffalo, Asian elephants, Indian rhinoceros, tigers, Clouded leopards, Asian Golden cat, Assamese Macaque, Hoolock gibbons and Capped Langurs in their cameras.
Elephant safari in Manas National Park in Guwahati, Assam
Elephant safari in Manas National Park in Guwahati, Assam
If lucky, one can even watch the Golden langur, Hispid hare, Assam roofed turtle and pygmy hog, which are some of the few endangered species of animals, breathing in the national park.

Besides, Manas also breeds more than 450 species of birds, which include the endangered Bengal Florican, giant Hornbills, Fishing eagles, Jungle fowls, Finn’s weaver and Magpie Robins.

Varied dimensions of Flora

From the gorges of Bhutan, flows the river Manas which sprouts the entire national park with a lush green vegetation cover. This thick vegetation growth in the eco-region of the Brahmaputra valley is predominantly divided into grasslands and forest cover.

About half of the Manas National Park is covered in grasslands of Terai and Bhabar type, whereas the rest is confiscated by the deciduous forests of the eastern Himalayas. Unlike the majority, the northern portion of Manas has a vegetation of evergreen forests.

Flora and Fauna in the Manas National Park,Assam

Main vegetation of Manas National Park can be described as-

  • Assam valley semi-evergreen  alluvial grasslands
  • East Himalayan mixed dry and moist deciduous forests
  • Low Alluvial Savanna Woodland
  • Sub Himalayan light alluvial semi evergreen forests
With a total that counts to more than 500 species of plants, there is no harm in calling Manas National Park one of the richest biodiversity areas in the world. Prime plants species in this tropical paradise are the Pithraj tree, Kadam, orchid tree, Kumkum tree and Chinese deciduous tree.

Accomodation and Jungle Safari options

Near Manas National Park, visitors can stay in the comfortable rest houses at Bansbari and Mothanguri. From these forest lodges, one can embark on an exciting jungle safari, organized by the forest department.

It is certainly exhilarating to explore the extreme wilderness of Manas, sitting on top of an elephant like some King. Besides, jeep safaris are also an effective option to scale the vast landscapes of the national park.   

Jeep Safari in Manas National Park, Assam
Jeep Safari in Manas National Park, Assam

Best Time to Visit Manas National Park

To enjoy the exotic Manas National Park in the best possible manner, it is best advised that tourists make their visit between the months of November and April. June to September, the national park remains closed for visitors. However, one must consult with the forest authorities before making a visit to the region, as it is prone to sudden outburst of rains.

How to Reach Manas National Park

By Air

Nearest airport to the Manas National Park in Assam is at Guwahati, which is around 176 kms from the destination. Guwahati airport is well connected to the other parts of India.

By Rail

If you are planning to travel via train, then one must get down at the railway junction of Barpeta road. The junction is around 32 kms away from the Manas National Park.  You can also choose to travel till Guwahati railway station before heading to Manas through road.  

By Road

From Guwahati, one can take national highway 31 to get close to Manas National Park. Adjoining Barpeta road in Assam, the highway will lead you to Bansbari, which is the entry point of Manas. This road journey from Guwahati to the national park is expected to take near about 5 hours. Besides Guwahati, tourists also have the option of driving from Darjeeling, Kajiranga, Siliguri and Shillong.

Manas National Park Travel Tips

As Manas has a subtropical climate, light cotton clothes can surely prove beneficial. Similarly, if you are wishing to travel during the time of autumn, do not forget to pack some woolens. Besides proper packing, one must also keep a tab on the different aspects of the trip, like prior booking of lodges and other travel arrangements. Foreigners are advised to carry much Indian currency to avoid further problems. 

Opening hours and Safari Timings

  • 5:30 am to 6:30 pm every day (opening hours)
  • 5:30 am to 10 am (Morning safari duration)
  • 2 pm to 5:30 pm (Evening safari duration)

Manas National Park Entry Fees

  • Rs 20 for Indians
  • Rs 250 for foreigner tourists

Manas National Park Camera Fees

  • Rs 50 (Indians)
  • Rs 500 (Foreigners)

[ Looking for more? Check out the best national parks and wildlife reserves in India ]

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Jagannath Temple: Lord of the Universe

One of the biggest and most popular temples of Odisha, The Jagannath Temple is set in the beautiful city Puri. This sacred Hindu Temple is dedicated to Lord Jagannath. The Jagannath temple is one among the most important pilgrimage destinations for most of the Hindus. The temple is one of the holiest Hindu Char Dham (four divine sites) sites.

The temple features alluring architecture which takes every visitor back to the classical era. One can find detailed carvings on the walls of the temple. The pillars depict Lord Krishna’s life in detail which is why the temple attracts worshippers of Lord Krishna from different corners of the world.

The temple witnesses millions of devotees throng throughout the year to seek the blessings of Lord Jagannath. During the time of the Rath Yatra, chariots carrying the idols of Lord Jagannath, Subhadra and Balabhadra are taken to the Gundicha Temple and brought back to the Jagannath Temple. People from all across the globe visit the temple to be a part of this grand festival.

Jagannath Temple: Lord of the Universe

Jagannath Temple: Location

The Jagannath Temple is located on the eastern coast of India in Puri in the state of Odisha. The temple is set at a distance of 60 km from Bhubaneswar which is located on the coast of Bay of Bengal.

Who built it Jagannath Temple?

The creator of Eastern Ganga dynasty, King Anantavarman Chodaganga Deva erected this temple during the 12th century.

Best time to visit Jagannath Temple

The best time to visit the Jagannath Temple is from the month of June to March when the weather remains cool and pleasant. Also, during the month of July, the world famous Rath Yatra is celebrated on a grand scale. People from all over the world visit the temple during this time to be a part of the Rath Yatra. Many more festivals of the region are celebrated during this time of the year.

How to reach in Jagannath Temple

By Air

Biju Patnaik airport at Bhubaneswar is the nearest airport to Jagannath Temple which is located at a distance of 59 km. The airport is well-connected to major cities of the country like Delhi and Mumbai. International travelers can also easily connect to the temple via Delhi or Kolkata. From the temple, tourists can take buses or taxis to reach the temple.

By Train

The nearest railway head to the Jagannath Temple is Puri. Puri is a major railway junction which is connected to different parts of the country. With regular direct train services from different cities of India like Bhubaneswar, New Delhi, Chennai and Kolkata, tourists can easily reach Puri. On reaching the railway station, tourists can hire taxis for reaching the temple.

By Road

Via road, Puri is well-connected to major cities of the country. State and private buses operate between Puri and other regions of the country on regular basis.

Interesting Facts

Here are some interesting facts about Puri Jagannath Temple:

  • There is a Sudarshan Charka at the top of the temple.  If you look at the chakra from any place in Puri, you will always find the chakra facing you.
  • The shadow of the main dome of the temple can never be seen, be it at any time of the day.
  • The present day structure of Sri Jagannath Temple is not the original structure. Originally, the structure was constructed by Indradyumna. Later, changes were made by the Kings and rulers in subsequent times. They added different assets to the temple complex.
[ Read More about South India Temple Tour ]

More about the temple

  • There are a number of temples inside the temple complex. Major shrines include The Vimala Temple, Mahalaxmi Temple, Kanchi Ganesh Temple and Saraswati Temple.
  • On the top of the temple, one can find the Nila Chakra. Everyday a different flag is waved on the Nila Chakra. The flag is considered equal to the deities who are present in the temple complex.
  • The temple remains open from 5 am in the morning till 12 in the midnight. Abakasha puja is performed from 7 am to 8 am in the morning.
  • The temple complex covers an area of around 400,000 square feet (37,000 m2). It is surrounded by a high wall.
  • There are many entry gates in the temple complex. Singhadwara is the main entrance gate to the temple. There are three more gates facing north, west and south. They are named according to the animals guarding them.

[ Read More About Jagannath Temple in Puri ]

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Fairs & Festivals in India in January 2015

India, a land inhabited by more than a billion human population, is never short of reasons to celebrate. These reasons can either be religious or change of seasons, the country stays packed with fairs and festivals round the clock. Be it the divinely tripped sacred fair of Kumbh at the confluence of Ganga and Yamuna or the cultural festival depicting the ancient traditions of South India, the festivals are celebrated with in depth enthusiasm and spirit. Some of the prime festivals and fairs in the colorful country of India are as follows:

Bikaner Camel fair

Bikaner Camel Fair
Adding colors to the lively city of Bikaner is the annual camel fair, which is organized by the Department of Tourism, Art and Culture of Rajasthan. As per the name, the prime attractions of the fair are camels which get dressed up like brides with jeweled necks and Jingling anklets. These traditionally dressed camels are made to dance gracefully in an amazing rhythm by their trainers. Thereby, creating a mystical scene of colors that seems to dazzle thousands visiting the fair.  

When: 4-5 January, 2015
Where: Bikaner, Rajasthan

[ Read More about Bikaner Camel Festivals

Kumbhalgarh Festival

Kumbhalgarh Festival
Woodstock of India, the Kumbhalgarh festival is a reason for the finest artists of India to bring on their talent to the city of Udaipur. An incredible effort of the tourism board of the state, Kumbhalgarh festival is primarily divided into two parts-Folk performances at the daytime and an impressive show of light and sound at the daytime.

When:  28-30 January every year
Where: Kumbhalgarh fort, near Udaipur in Rajasthan

Hampi Festival

Hampi Utsav
Also known as Hampi Utsav and Vijaya Utsav, Hampi festival is an old tradition of the ruined city of Hampi. The festival boasts of bright colored handicrafts and traditionally crafted leather puppet which are attempted to be reproduced in the ancient style. Beside  the celebrated craftwork, Hampi festival is also known for classical  dance and singing performances in certain avenues of the region.

When:  9-11 January, 2015
Where: Hampi, Karnataka

Mamallapuram Dance Festival

Mamallapuram DanceCenter of the ancient Pallava culture and art, Mamallapuram dance festival is held every year in the state of Tamil Nadu. The popular beach resort of Mamllapuram gets a whole new different face in this reputed festival. Classical dance forms like Bharat Natyam, Kuchipudi, Kathak and Kathakali are the major exponents of the Mamallapuram dance festival.

When: Late December until early January
Where: Mamallapuram, Tamil Nadu

Chennai Music Festival

Chennai Music
Bringing down the connoisseurs of Carnatic music and dance from all across the globe, the Chennai Music Festival, also known as the Madras Music Session is a promising platform for young talents to display their skills. This famed music season was first started in the 1920s by a group of individuals. During its early days, it used to be scheduled between March and April. In order to attract more tourists to this music festival, the organizers decided to shift it around the December month.

When: Mid December to mid January each year
Where: Chennai, Tamil Nadu

Pongal

Pongal in Tamilnadu
One of the most popular harvest festivals of South India, Pongal marks the beginning of Uttarayan-Sun’s journey towards North. As per the tradition, there is a ritual of boiling fresh milk in new clay pots during the Pongal festival. The festival is celebrated for four days. First day of the festival is termed as Bhogi and on this day old clothes and materials are thrown away. Whereas the second day is dedicated to the milk ritual.

When: January 14-17, 2015
Where: Tamil Nadu

VadFest 2015

Covering around 50 events in 4 days, Vadfest is an international art and culture festival which lures down the country’s legendary artists into its kaleidoscopic diversity.

This mega event of Gujarat, showcases dance concerts, vintage car shows, theatrics and many more.

When: January 23-26, 2015
Where: Vadodara, Gujarat

Rann Mahotsav

Rann Mahotsav
Changing the white serene of Kuch into a colorful rendezvous of culture, the Rann Mahotasav is a fascinating festival held annually in the state of Gujarat. This cultural extravaganza attracts thousands to its endless cycle of dance, music, art and craft.
 
In a perfect blend of enthusiasm and the spirit of celebration, the Rann Mahotsav kick starts on the full moon night of December.

When: 14th Decemebr 2014 to 31st January 2015
Where: Vadodara, Gujarat.

[ Read More about Rann Utsav in Gujarat ]

International Kite Festival

International Kite Festival
Among the numerous festivals celebrated in Gujarat, the International Kite Festival signifies the cultural strength  of the state. Coincided with the festival of Uttarayan or Makar Sankrati, the kite festival marks the onset of  the spring season.

Colorful kites fill up the skies of the state which look so splendid. The excitement of the kite festival continues even at the night time.

When: January 7-15, 2015
Where: Ahmedabad, Gujarat.

India Yoga Festival

An invitation to all the Yogis and peace seekers, India Yoga festival offers a harmonic blend of traditional Yoga and vivid spiritual tendencies of the world. All the days of the festival  include classes, workshops and Kirtans conducted by renowned Yoga teachers and artists from across the country.

When: January 9-11, 2015
Where: Ashwem Beach, Goa

Goa Lokotsav Festival

Folk Festival
A renowned platform for presenting various folk dances and music of the respective states of India, the Goa Lokotsav Folk festival is gaining huge popularity with every passing year.

The idea behind this festival of Goa is promotion of the folk culture and handicrafts of the different states of the country. It is organized by the directorate of Art and Culture in Goa.
  
When: January 9-18, 2015.
Where: Panjim, Goa 

The Story of Light Festival

Story of Light Festival
Scheduled to take place in the capital city of Panjim, the Story of Light Festival seeks to fuse science and philosophy through art and design.

Blessed with different themes like ‘Light and Life’, ‘Light in Technology’, ‘Our Universe’ and ‘Seeing & Perceiving’, the festival exhibits some of the brilliant creations of light.

When: January 14-18, 2015.
Where: Panjim, Goa.

Adoor Gajamela

Adoor Gajamela
Also known as elephant festival of the South, Adoor Gajamela takes place during the ten day-long festival at Sree Parthasarthy temple.  

Prime attraction of the festival, the elephants are usually decorated with glittering ornaments which give a traditional look to these most loved animals in Kerala.

When: January 30, 2015
Where: Adoor, Kerala

Ernakulathappan Uthsavam

Kerala Highly famous in the city of Kochi, Ernakulathappan Uthsavom is celebrated on the premises of Ernakulathappan temple. Grand ceremonies and splendid procession of elephants draws a lot of attention of the tourists. Special rituals and poojas are carried on all through the festival days.

When: January 25-February 1, 2015.
Where: Ernakulam, Kochi.

Republic Day Parade

Republic Day Parade
To mark the importance of the Republic day, an iconic parade is held in the capital city of New Delhi. Every year, the parade commences from the Raisina hill near the Rashtrapati Bhavan, then make its way to Rajpath. Just before the march of the republic day parade, the Prime Minister of India lays a floral wreath at the Amar Jawan Jyoti, which is a memorial of Indian soldiers at the India gate.

When: January 26 each year
Where: New Delhi.

India Art Fair

India Art Fair
South Asia’s leading art fair for modern and contemporary art, the India Art Fair takes place in New Delhi every year. Previously known as India Art Summit, the fair includes a plethora of paintings, sculptures, Prints, drawings and various other arts. It is the biggest fair of its kind in the world and attracts thousands of tourists from all over the world.

When: January 29-February 1, 2015.
Where: NSIC Exhibition Grounds (Okhla), New Delhi

Rajarani Music Festival

Rajarani Music
A well known festival of Orissa, Rajarani Music Festival is held against the backdrop of  the ancient Rajarani temple.

The heavenly music along with the excellent surroundings of  the festival creates a lasting impact in the minds of the visitors.

When: January 18-20, 2015.
Where: Bhubaneswar, Odisha

Mukteshwar Dance Festival

Mukteshwar Dance
Named after the prominent Mukteshwar temple of Orissa, the Mukteshwar Dance festival encourages  traditional dancers from all parts of India to showcase their talent. It is a must visit for lovers of this art form. It is held every year at the sprawling green lawns of the Mukteshwar temple.

When :  January 14-16, 2015.
Where : Bhubaneswar, Odisha

Chilika Festival

Near the capital city of Puri, a festival dedicated towards promoting Chilika lake, is now gaining huge popularity in Orissa.

Named after the tranquil lake of Chilika, the Chilika festival showcases maritime tradition, art and craft. It also offers various water sport opportunities to the tourists exploring the festival.

When : January 11-13, 2015. 
Where : Satapada, Odisha 

The Kabir Festival

The Kabir FestivalOrganized by the evolving Kabir community in Mumbai, the Kabir festival is a country wide affair to celebrate the words of Kabir and various other legendary Sufi poets of all time.

Various artists from across the length and breadth of India are invited for the auspicious event. The highlights of the festival are  story telling and film screenings of the Bhakti poets.

When : January 8-11, 2015.
Where : Mumbai

Kenduli Mela

Kenduli Mela
Held on the occasion of Makar Sankranti in the Birbhum district of West Bengal, the Kenduli Mela is dedicated to the birth of the famous poet Jaydev Kenduli.

It is primarily a three day musical event which enthralls its visitors with its soulful music. Moreover, the festival serves a unique opportunity to meet the wandering minstrels, know as Bauls.

When: January 14-17, 2015.
Where: Kenduli village, Shantiniketan in West Bengal

Kila Raipur Sports Festival

Kila Raipur Sports Festival
Held annually near the Ludhiana city of Punjab, the Kila Raipur sports festival attracts hundreds of sports enthusiasts and foreigners. Owing to various competitions of major Punjabi rural sports like cart race and rope pulling, the Kila Raipur Sports festival is also known as the Rural Olympics of India.

When: January 29-February 1, 2015.
Where: Ludhiana, Punjab

Lohri

The long awaited bonfire festival of North India originally started from the Punjab region of the country. It is one of the most joyful occasion for every Punjabi as it reflects the community’s love for festivals and celebrations.

Dancing on the beats of dhol in front of the ritualistic bonfire is the major highlight of this festival.

When : 13 Jan 2015
Where:  Punjab

Makar Sankranti

Makar Sankranti
Celebrated in the second week of January, Makar Sankranti is a harvest festival which denotes neutralization of illusion by the lightning inner glow.Makar Sankranti is a solar event and the festival is believed to actually mark the arrival of spring in the India.
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