50 lakhs people are expected to visit Puri during the 10 days of Nabakalebara festival. While there are some common issues like avoid drunken driving, don’t enter the sea without lifeguards, be careful of pick-pocketing, etc; we would like to highlight some specific ones
- Booking – Do not visit without any prior booking as it is overcrowded and there is not even a chance to get a room even in Bhubaneswar (60 kms away from Puri). Also don’t overstay as you can come back to Puri whenever you want
- Respect the Priests – If by any chance you get in contact with any of the local priests (pandas), Respect them & don’t misbehave with them as they can be rude in the mad rush.
- Rains – The chances of rainfall during this period of time is very high & hence it would be advisable to carry mobile phones & cash in small polythene pouches. Carrying an umbrella is a great choice if you can handle the same in a big crowd.
- Food, Water & Hygiene – The government is taking steps to check quality of food in hotels and eateries across Puri to prevent possible outbreak of epidemics, but better take steps on our own. Sticking to fruits & packed foods is a brilliant option.
- Multiple SIMs – In this world of Dual SIM phones, ensure to carry SIMs of different mobile operators as there might be huge issue of Network Congestion. (Imagine a public of 10 lakh people within a distance of 3 kms). At least data services are bound to get affected.
- Fitness – As there would be lot of walking activity required, children & senior citizens should avoid taking the Grand Road during both Ratha Yatra & Bahuda Yatra. People getting fainted due to exertion are a common issue.
- Visiting Cards of hotels – Don’t forget to keep visiting cards of the hotels/lodges where you are staying. Yes, you can remember names but it gets very tricky with similar names like “The Sea Beach Hotel” & “The Sea Beach View Hotel”.
- Cash – With so much people expected in Puri, there is high risk of ATMs going dry & logistically it is very difficult for banks to refill the ATMs. So better to carry sufficient cash with you for the full stay period.
- Public transport – For the ease of traffic, entry of private vehicles is restricted in major areas. Government is running buses from Maltipur Bus Depot to various parts of the city. For the narrow lanes of Puri you can avail the services of manual rickshaw (plentily available).
- Spare Footwear – While visiting a holy city, it is always advisable to carry spare footwear as you may not find shoe stands everywhere. Barefoot is a brilliant idea if your hotel is a walking distance from the temple/parking lot.
- Mark a Landmark – You should landmark a place where everybody should meet up if people get lost from the group. Places like high rise buildings are easier to identify.
- Packing – Pack well before you reach there. Carry important documents like ID proofs for everybody including children & seniors citizens. Also, make sure to carry medicines for chronic diseases as well as normal medicines.
Lastly, don’t panic. The government is doing everything possible & has got 10000 plus volunteers to help the visitors. Simply, approach them & we are sure the problem can be resolved.
Jai Jagganath! Happy Ratha Yatra!
Thank You Akhil Agrawal for this post.