I have never quite been able to explain why Puri holds such a special place in my heart.
May be it’s the lazy languorous summer vacations spent in Puri as a child.
The first brush of a wide-eyed me with infinity, the arrogant vastness of space.
May be it’s the allure of the ageless expanse of the Bay of Bengal.
The symphony of sun and sand.
The gorgeous sunrises. An invisible genius frivolously painting the canvas of the heavens in splendid shades of crimson and scarlet.
Or the sublime full-moon nights. The pristine orb of a luminous orange moon arising from a Stygian dark sea.
(It’s much later though that I fell prey to the beguiling seduction of new moon nights in Puri.
A haunting world of ebony darkness, cradled by a million pin-prick diamonds above.
And the shimmering-silver phosphorescent crest of the waves, wave after wave lashing the earth with the monotonous frequency of a beating heart.)
Or may be it’s the magnetic charm of the Lord.
The imposing ancient temple, the stunning architecture, the awe-inspiring ambience of the holy precincts.
Whatever the reason might be, Puri continues to beckon me even to this day.
To return to the Lord.
The narrow alleys. Where cycle rickshaws and cows jostle for that last available square-inch of space.
The delectable prasadam at the temple.
Or the to-die-for chenna pora at the numerous nondescript sweet shops that dot the town.
Or the poda pitha that is guaranteed to make your taste buds dance in blissful ecstasy !!
Poda Pitha. The fragrance of rice. The earthiness of urad dal. The mellow sweetness of coconut. The warmth of ginger. The fire of pepper. Baked to a sublime perfection. Divine !!