Jagannath Temple of Puri is one of the most sacred Temple for Hindus. This temple belongs to Lord Jagannath (Jagat+Nath) meaning Lord of peoples. It is one of the great Char Dham of India. Many Hindu sages like Adi Shankaracharya, Ramananda & Ramanuja been closely associated with the temple. Every Hindu wants to visit these Char Dham in his old age to attain Moksha. Balabhadra and the Goddess Subhadra along with Lord Jagannath are main deities of the temple. Rath Yatra festival of Puri is world famous and held during month of June-July. Millions of people gather in Puri from across the Globe to be part of this great Chariot-fest.
About the Jagannath Temple
The Jagannath temple complex lies on the eastern shore of Odisha state in Puri. Present temple complex was built by Eastern Ganga dynasty in 12th century. King Indradyumna made the initial construction of temple when he discovered the hidden idol of Lord Jagannath from the nearby forest area.
At the main entrance ‘Singhadwara‘ you see two statue of big lions that is very common to Odisha’s temples, may be they are guarding the temple. You will also find the exact replica of Lord Jagannath at the entrance. There are three other entrances along with Singhadwara facing in all four directions. All the gates got their name from the animal guarding them, these are Hathidwara(Elephant Gate), Vyaghradwara ( Tiger Gate) and Ashwadwara (Horse Gate).
Other temples inside the Jagannath temple complex
After getting through main entrance there are big wide stairs connecting to the main temple. On these stair Pandas use to perform Pooja and other religious Kand. There are number of other smaller temples belonging to Other God and Goddess within this temple complex. Among which Bimala Temple which is also a Shaktipeeths is the most important one, and as per mythology Goddess Sati’s feet fell here. Mahaparsad of temple is incomplete without offering to Goddess Bimala after Jagannath. Other important shrine inside the temple complex belongs to Mahalakshmi, Surya, Saraswati, Bhuvaneshwari, Narasimha, Rama, Hanuman and Ganesha.There are many Mandapa (Elevated floor) for the Pooja and Hawan. There is one area for distribution of Parsad after offering to Lord Jagannath.
The main temple’s top painted in white that is renovated portion over the ancient temple which was formed from sand stone. On the ancient portion you can see many beautiful sculpture carved out, most of which in ruin. Inner portion of the main hall is full of colorful sculptures with some mythological stories. Main idol of Jagannath kept at far distance in the main sanctum, you can only see that and pray from distance. You have to take help of priest for offering your parsad to God.
Rath Yatra at Jagannath Temple
This temple celebrate number of festival throughout the year, Rath Yatra is the most famous of all. The city attract huge crowed at the time of Yatra, in which three big chariot are being made from wood. Idols of Jagannath, Balabhadra and Subhadra placed on these chariot and thousands of devotee pulled them through Bada Danda (Grand Avenue of Puri, a road of 100 meter wide) till their final destination Gundicha Temple. There these idols kept for 9 days and then taken back to main temple. To witness this grand celebration you have to make all arrangement for travel and stay in quite advance.
Information for visitors
Temple lie in the center of City and very close to Puri beach. There is tight security at the temple entrance with CCTV camera to check any un-authorize activity. Bringing mobile/camera and leather goods like Shoes, purse or belt are not allow inside temple. All items you have to deposit at the counter on chargeable basis even your luggage can be deposit at counter.(Every individual item charge separately).
There are many good hotels along the beach and in main market area where you can stay during your visit. Many pure veg- restaurants available near by the temple where you can enjoy food even without garlic or onion. This temple managed by Temple trust Board of Odisha. Near the entrance a channel of railing maintain to control the crowed.
How to reach Puri
Air: Capital city Bhubneshwar is the nearest airport 65 Km away from Puri. From there you have option of private Cab or you can go with budget friendly option of shared cab (AC /Non-AC) from Calpana Square.
Rail: Puri itself a major rail-head, have good connectivity with Howrah and many other major city of India. Puri railway station is very well maintained and neat & clean.
Road: Road connectivity is also very good. Many AC/non-AC Bus are available from Bhubneshwar and from other city of Odisha. Road condition are very nice and it is just 45 minute journey from Bhubneshwar.
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