Hindu pilgrims, Bengali holidaymakers and foreign travellers all make their way to Puri. For Hindus, Puri is one of the holiest pilgrimage places in India, with religious life revolving around the great Jagannath Mandir and its famous Rath Yatra (Chariot Festival). The town’s other attraction is its long sandy beach, which is much better for strolling than swimming.
In the 1970s, the sea and copious supply of bhang (marijuana) attracted travellers on the hippie trail here. There’s little trace of that scene today, but visitors from around the world still come to chill out and visit the Sun Temple in nearby Konark.
All the action is along a few kilometres of coastline. The backpacker part of town is bunched up towards the eastern end of Chakra Tirtha (CT) Rd, while local tourists flock to busy New Marine Drive in the west, along an extended and bustling esplanade.