A dense line of tourists along Sea Beach on Marine Drive in Puri huddle together on this crowded beach but they are domestic tourists, mostly from the state of West Bengal. Very few Western tourists visit Puri and those that do, seldom frequent this beach. Puri has miles of white sand beach but for the most part there is a dangerous under-tow. This small stretch of beach is relatively safe and delights its guests but few venture very far from the shore. The women here hardly ever put on a bathing suit, preferring to enjoy the breeze and the pleasures of a day at the shore on land. If they go in the water at all, it is usually in their sari or salwar-kameez. Consequently, the beach is one huge market-place, attracting a huge array of vendors. Some of these vendors have permanent spots with elaborate set-ups and others are itinerant. There are many vendors selling the same item and the competition is fierce.
Some of the vendors are mere children, helping out their families and others are adults.
This pushcart even provides his customers with chairs.
This vendor sets up an intricate display every day. It was fun to watch people picking up the shells and listening to that marvelous sound that comes from deep inside the shell.
Cotton candy appeals to both the kids and grown-ups.
The vendor isn’t shown in the above photograph but the buyer contemplates a bunch of pearls. Pearls are a popular item in Puri. The vendors swear that they are authentic but they aren’t. One of their proofs is to burn the pearl. I read that you should rub the pearl on your tooth. I have bought Puri pearl jewelry and if the price is right, ie. cheap enough and I like it, I don’t care if it isn’t real.
As you can see, business on the beach is brisk and it clearly is a buyer’s market!