Jagannath Temple Puri is one of the most sacred Temple for Hindus. This temple dedicated 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 were 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 worshiped at the temple. And it is very famous for Rath Yatra festival held during month of June-July. Millions of people gather in Puri from across the Globe to be part of this Chariot-fest.
About the Jagannath Temple
The Jagannath temple complex lies on the eastern shore of Odisha state in Puri. This temple complex was built by Eastern Ganga dynasty in 12th century. The very initial construction believed to be done by king Indradyumna long before who discovered the hidden idol of Lord Jagannath from the forest area nearby.
At the main entrance you will see two statue of big lions which is very common to Odisha temple, may be they are guarding the temple and this gate known as ‘Singhadwara‘. You will also find the exact replica of Lord Jagannath at the entrance which is placed at inner sanctum of the temple. There are three other entrances along with Singhadwara facing in all four directions and all of them got their name from the animal guarding them, these are Hathidwara(Elephant Gate), Vyaghradwara ( Tiger Gate) and Ashwadwara (Horse Gate).
After getting through main entrance there are big wide stairs to take you to the main temple. On these stair Pandas use to perform Pooja and other religious Kand. In this temple complex there are number of other smaller temples belonging to Other God and Goddess. 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 decorated with 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 far distance. For offering your parsad you have to take help of several priest available.
Rath Yatra at Jagannath Temple
There are number of festival celebrated throughout the year in the temple and most famous of which is Rath Yatra .The city attract huge crowed at the time of Yatra in which three big chariot are being made from wood and idols of Jagannath, Balabhadra and Subhadra placed on them and pulled by thousands of devottee through Bada Danda (Grand Avenue of Puri, a road of 100 mtr 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 is situated in the center of City and very close to Puri beach. There is tight security at the temple entrance with CCTV camera and you are not allowed to take mobile/camera and leather goods like Shoes, purse or belt. 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- restorent available near by the temple where you can enjoy food even without garlic or onion. This temple is managed collectively Temple trust Board of Odisha. Near the entrance a channel of railing maintain to control the crowed.
How to reach Puri
Puri is well connected with rest of the India.
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 railhead, this station is very well connected 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.