Puri is the site of the Govardhana Matha, one of the four cardinal institutions established by Adi Shankaracharya, when he visited Puri in 810 AD, and since then it has become an important Dham (divine centre) for the Hindus; the others being those at Sringeri, Dwarka and Jyotirmath. The Matha (monastery of various Hindu sects) is headed by Jagatguru Shankaracharya. It is a local belief about these dhams that Lord Vishnu takes his dinner at Puri, has his bath at Rameshwaram, spends the night at Dwarka and does penance at Badrinath.
Besides being a temple town, which has Gundicha Temple along with Lord Jagannath Temple, Puri also has clean beaches as a tourist attraction. The beach at Puri, known as the Ballighai beach, at the mouth of Nunai River, is 8 kilometres (5.0 mi) away from the town and is fringed by casurina trees. It has golden-yellow sand. Sunrise and sunset are pleasant scenic attractions here. Waves break-in at the beach which is long and wide.
Other places to visit are The Pancha Tirtha of Puri; the five sacred bathing spots of Puri, District Museum, Raghunandana library.
Chilka Lake: Chilka is a 1000 square kilometre lake on the east coast of India.. Because of its connection with the Bay of Bengal, Chilika is also a lagoon and like all coastal lagoons, its waters are rich with life. Chilika is one of Asia’s most important wintering grounds for migratory birds and greater flamingos are among the earliest visitors every winter. They are believed to come here mainly from the Kuch region of western India where they breed.
Puri has a moderate and tropical climate. Humidity is fairly high throughout the year. The temperature during summer touches a maximum of 36 °C (97 °F) and during winter it is 17 °C (63 °F). The average annual rainfall is 1,337 millimetres (52.6 in) and the average annual temperature is 26.9 °C (80.4 °F).
Puri is well-connected by rail, road and air services. A broad gauge railway line of the South Eastern Railways which connects Puri with Kolkata and Khurda is an important railway junction on this route. The rail distance is about 499 kilometres (310 mi) from Kolkata and 468 kilometres (291 mi) from Vishakhapatnam.
Road network includes NH 203 that links the city with Bhubaneswar, the state capital, situated about 60 kilometres (37 mi) away. NH 203 B connects the city with Satapada via Brahmagiri. Marine drive, which is part of NH 203 A, connects Puri with Konark.
The nearest airport is the Biju Patnaik International Airport at Bhubaneswar. Puri railway station is among the top hundred booking stations of the Indian Railways.