A Day Away: Puri

On Sunday, I took a day trip to visit Puri, a nearby town that is very holy to Hindus.  We didn’t visit the famous Jagganath Temple, since we couldn’t go inside, but we did visit the lovely beach.  I was skeptical (and so was the lonely planet), but my friends here have found an incredible place – an off the beaten path restaurant that has private beach access.

It’s a 20-30 minute walk through a beautiful national forest to reach the beach with A., A. and A.:

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And a truly incredible beach it was. Beautiful (other than a fair amount of trash washed up from the ocean), and an army of crabs each time a wave receded:

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We didn’t see another soul except for these fishermen and our friends.

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Twas a fantastic afternoon relaxing on the beach

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Except for the two dead turtles than I found on a walk with A1.  One empty turtle shell was sad- but the second was heartbreaking, particularly because it still had a turtle in it.  And I was reasonably convinced that the turtle was in the process of digging a hole for it’s eggs when it had been bludgeoned to death, since its head and shell were bloody, and it was very much in egg-laying pose.

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And then a slightly delirious walk back for a late lunch:

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Wonderful trip.  RIP turtle friends… I’m sorry about whatever happened to you.  But also quite impressed about the secret existence of this beach.

The restaurant was full of Indian patrons, but only our group of foreigners were on the beach.  I’m not sure whether to believe it- but my friends say that the restaurant owner only lets foreigners go to the beach, since Indian tourists would be calling him on his cell phone and telling him to bring them things or throwing trash on the beach, whereas the foreigners just fend for themselves and are more respectful to the beach.  I can imagine this being true, but still quite interesting to find. I can’t help but be glad that this place is not in the lonely planet or similar tour book. What a traveling conundrum – with hundreds of tourists, this beach would have a completely different feel…but to willingly keep it secret also seems to go against the traveler’s code of sharing discoveries.

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