Preeti Jhangiani and Parvin Dabas visit Konark Sun Temple and Puri Beach

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Preeti Jhangiani and Parvin Dabas at Konark Sun Temple, Odisha. Photo: Shimmer PR

Preeti Jhangiani and Parvin Dabas took time off as they holidayed in the pristine land of Odisha (formerly known as Orissa). Also known as the land of temples, Odisha has taken leaps and bounds in terms of hospitality and tourism over the last decade, and the couple seeped in the culture, history and the glory.

The Mohabbatein actress and her Monsoon Wedding actor-spouse love exploring new places and this was something on their list that was not ticked off. They had not been on a holiday for a long time and it was a perfect time to go as the weather in Odisha is perfect around this part of the year.

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As Preeti says, “I had heard so much about this place that a part of me always wanted to come here. The Konark Sun Temple and the other temples here are simply beautiful. They have such great architecture, sculptures, carvings and art. The country needs to know more about Odisha and its scenic beauty for sure. It have so much history and culture and the hospitality here is incredible. The people are very loving, kind and soft-spoken. I visited the world-famous Puri Beach, and as we all know It has already received Blue Flag status! We also got the opportunity to meet Sudarshan Patnaik, who is known the world over for his Sand-Art. This is a blissful place and we could not have asked for a better start to our New Year.”

The 13th-century Konark Sun Temple is dedicated to the Hindu Sun God Surya, and the temple complex has the appearance of a 100-foot (30 meters)-high chariot with wheels and horses carved from stone. Declared a UNESCO world heritage site in 1984, it is a major pilgrimage site for Hindus, who gather here every year for the Chandrabhaga Mela around February. The temple is also depicted in part on the reverse side of the Indian currency note of 10 rupees to signify its importance.

The Blue Flag status, interestingly, is an eco-label certification given to beaches on the basis of 33 stringent criteria in four major heads, which are environmental education and information, bathing water quality, environmental management and conservation and safety and services in the beaches. The Foundation for Environment Education (FEE), Denmark, accords this honor, and 10 Indian beaches, the other nine being Shivrajpur-Gujarat, Ghoghla-Diu, Kasarkod and Padubidri-Karnataka, Kappad-Kerala, Rushikonda- Andhra Pradesh, Radhanagar- Andaman and Nicobar, Kovalam in Kerala and Eden in Puducherry have so far received it.

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