About Jagannath Puri Temple
Puri, one of the most sacred pilgrimage in India, is one of the four 'Dhamas' of the Hindu religion. The city is home to the world-famous Jagganath temple. The temple enshrines Krishna-Jagannath in the form of a wooden image along with shrines of Balabhadra and Subhadra (brother and sister of Krishna respectively).
The original image of Jagannath was said to be found at the foot of a fig tree, as an Indranila (Blue Jewel). Lord Vishnu ordered King Indradyumna to dig out this image and search for a floating log on the Puri seashore to carve out images from its trunk. The King discovered the log and then came lord Vishnu and Vishwakarma in the form of artists to prepare images of Krishna, Balarama and Subhadra. The temple got constructed in 12th century by King Ananta Varman Chodaganga and has a lovely architect design which depicts the traditional Orissan style of architecture.
The Rath Yatra or The Chariot Festival
The world famous Rath Yatra is related to the Jagannath temple and occurs annually in June-July. During this festival, the three deities are taken from the temple and placed in large decorated chariots which are then drawn along the Grand Road to the Gundecha temple, a few kilometers away. After they have stayed in that temple for seven days, the deities again ride the chariots back to their home temple.
Construction of the temple was started by Ananta Varman Chodaganga during 12th century A.D. and was completed by Ananga Bhima Dev. This vast temple complex occupies an area of over 400000 square feet, and is bounded by a 20 feet high wall. This compound contains about 120 shrines. The top of the Jagannath temple towers to a height of 192 feet. This temple stands on an elevated platform of stone, which measures about 10 acres and is located in the heart of the town. The temple has four halls, outermost being the Bhogmandir, hall for having food. Next one is the Nata-mandir, a hall for music and dance. The next is the Jagamohana, the gathering hall for devotees and the last one is the Deul, enshrining the deities. The temple has four gates at the eastern, southern, western and northern midpoints of the Meghanad Prachir (the outer enclosure) and are called Lions gate, Horse Gate, Tiger Gate and the Elephant Gate respectively. The architecture of the temple follows the pattern of many Orissan temples of the classical period. This temple has the world's largest kitchen and feeds thousands of devotees every day. The kitchen prepares food for 100,000 people on a festival day and for about 25,000 on a normal day.
Entry of NON-HINDU is prohibited in the temple. This is strictly followed.
Visiting Hours: The temple gets open at 5am and is open till midnight. At 1 in noon the gates are closed for half an hour.
Entry Fee: Nil.
When to visit: The best time to see the temple is during the Rath-Yatra. Else one can visit Puri during Oct.-April.
Other Attractions near the Jagannath Puri Temple
Puri is a famous tourist spot. One can visit the Gundicha temple, Indradyumna tank, Siddha Hanuman temple nearby. Also in the vicinity is the
Nandankanan Tiger safari and the famous Konark temple.
Air: Puri can be reached by air as its nearest airport is in Bhubaneswar, 56 km away. Regular buses and trains service is available from Bhubaneswar to Puri.
Rail: Puri railway station is a major railway station and is well connected with almost all the major cities of India.
Road: Puri is connected with Bhubaneshwar, Konark, Berhampur, Taptapani, Sambalpur and Kolkata by road.
One can pick from a range of luxury and budget hotels in Puri. Besides, star categorized hotels around the in Puri offer excellent view of the
landmarks through their suites. Most of the places to stay in Puri are located in the pilgrim centers or near the railway station.