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Places to visit in Puri

When you travel to Puri, you will love to visit popular tourist spots and enjoy the local culture. Amongst other Things to do in Puri, you can surely explore some of the best things to do in Puri to make your trip a fulfilling one. On a trip to Puri things to do can include exploring Puri attractions and visiting the places of interest.

All Attractions

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Puri has a number of archaeological sights. Kurum, 8 km from Konarak has unearthed 10CE artefacts of the Buddhist era.

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Manikapatana, a place from where the remains of the medieval era were found, is in Krushnprasad block.

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Kilkha Patana, from where 15th century remains were found is on the Puri Konarak Marine Drive Road.

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Puri is a fun place for children. The attraction of the sea beach is always there, where kids can spend innumerable hours at a stretch. Nevertheless, The Nandankanan Zoo also forms a major part of the attraction! The zoo has safari rides for kids too which is fun and engaging entertainment for them and keeps them preoccupied. 

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About Jagannath Temple

Jagganath temple is situated in Puri, at the eastern coast of India in the state of Orissa. It is an all Hindu temple following Vaishnav traditions and is one of the most important pilgrimage destination in India. Lakhs of people flock to Puri every year to seek blessings and be showered with good luck. The temple is mainly dedicated to lord Jagganath who is thought to be an avatar of Lord Vishnu, the creator of the universe. It is said that Lord Vishnu comes to Puri every day to dine and thus a great deal of importance is attached to food at the temple. A mahaprasad of 56 items is offered to Him every day and then distributed to the devotees who are said to seek spiritual redemption through it.

 

History of Jagannath Temple

King Anantvarman Chodaganga of the Ganga Dynasty built Jagannath Temple in the 12th Century as per the suggestion of Kendupatna copper-plate inscription of his descendant Narasimhadeva. However, according to temple narratives, it was founded by Anangabhima-deva II, son of Anantvarman. This just goes on to show that the construction of the temple either went on during the reign of Anangabhima-deva II or it was renovated during his reign. It was also further developed more intricately during the reigns of the subsequent holders as well.

 

Highlights of Jagannath Temple

  • Jagannath Temple is considered to be the place where Lord Vishnu comes for his meals everyday
  • A mahaprasad of 56 dishes is prepared in the temple for him and is then eaten by all devotees together.
  • The built of the temple dates back to the 12th Century
  • Only Hindus are allowed inside the temple and is one of the few last orthodox temples of India.
  • One of the biggest processions of India called the Rath Yatra starts from this temple
  • The architecture of this temple is intriguing and defies scientific laws in a few ways. 

 

Recommended For

Jagannath Temple is recommended for any person who wishes to seek blessings of the Lord. However, as per the rules, only Hindus are allowed in the temple and people of no other castes can enter.  

 

Deities of Jagannath Temple

The temple has three deities installed- Lord Jagannath, his elder brother Balbhadra and sister Subhadra. These three wooden deities are seated on huge thrones. Lord Jagannath is considered as a form of Lord Vishnu and Lord Krishna and thus the Lord of the Universe. His worship is considered extremely important in every household in Odisha as Lord Jagannath is known to promote harmony, peace and tolerance in the world. 

 

Architecture of Jagannath Temple

The architecture of Jagannath Temple follows a similar pattern like most of the Odiya temples. The main shikara of it rises above the others and everyday a different coloured flag is tied to the top by the priests. There is also a wheel on top of Jagannath Temple called as Neel Chakra (Blue Wheel) which is made out of eight different types of metals called as asta dhatu. Every year on the night of Ekadasi, a lamp is lit on the top of the temple. There are four gates through which one can enter, There are four gates: the eastern Singhadwara (Lion Gate), the southern Ashwadwara (Horse Gate), the western Vyaghradwara (Tiger Gate), and the northern Hastidwara (Elephant Gate). The Lion Gate is actually the main gate which has beautiful labyrinthine carvings and structures. There is also a temple called as Narasimha Temple adjacent to the main temple which was constructed way before the Jagannath temple.

 

Mahaprasad- Puri Jagannath Temple Kitchen 

Mahaprasad is the term applied to the food offerings made to lord Jagannath in the holy temple every day. It is said mythologically that Jagannath temple is the place where Lord Vishnu comes to eat every day. 56 dishes are prepared as Prasad and offered to him and Maa Bimala in the Grand Temple. After making offerings, the food is available amongst the devotees to come and feast on the delectable food. The kitchen of the Jagannath Temple has the capacity to feed over a lakh people. What’s’ intriguing about it is that all the food is prepared in earthen pots only on wood fire and the meals are pure vegetarian. Seven pots are stacked on top of each other and placed on the wooden fire to be cooked. Surprisingly, it has been noticed that the food right on top of the stack always gets cooked first and then the ones below. The offerings include different varieties of cooked rice, vegetables, curries , sweet and spicy dal, sweet dishes, cakes and dry confectionaries made out of sugar, wheat flour, milk solids, ghee, cheese and many more indianised spices and flavors. Most of the residents in and around Puri depend on this wide spread of mahaprasad to entertain their guests on social occasions. Tourists also carry back the mahaprasad home to shower the others with Lord Jagannaths blessings. 

 

Rath Yatra

Rath Yatra means the ‘Festival Of Chariots’. It is the procession that is taken out in the honor of Lord Jagannath, his brother Balabhadra and sister Goddess Subhadra. It is believed that every year Lord Jagannath visits his birthplace Mathura for a few days and to ensure that his wish is fulfilled, this yatra is conducted from the Jagannath temple to the Gundicha Temple. Devotees believe that initially when the chariot is being pulled, Lord Jagannath refuses to move and only after multiple trials and hours of efforts does the Rath move. However, one week before the yatra, the temple doors are shut for the visitors as it is believed that Lord Jagannath wishes to rest during this period before starting the long journey to Gundicha Temple. After reaching the Gundicha Temple, the deities rest there for nine days before starting the return journey to Puri.

 

Entry Fee of Jagannath Temple

The entry in Jagannath Temple is absolutely free however, one can take paid entry if they want to seek blessing by taking a closer look at the deities and the cost of the same is nominal.

 

Interesting Facts of Jagannath Temple

  • The flag at the top of the mountain flows in the opposite direction as to the wind and there is no scientific explanation as to why this is happening
  • No bird is seen ever flying above the top of the business dome.
  • The temple crew considers wasting food a bad omen and thus not a single bite of food has ever gone wasted during the years
  • As soon as you step your foot in the temple, all the sound of the ocean waves is lost
  • Generally, breeze blows from sea to land but in Jagannath Temple it blows from land to sea
  • The Prasadam is cooked by placing seven pots one above the other and the pot at the top always gets cooked first.
  • It is one of the few temples that takes the deities out of the temple during the Rath Yatra.

 

Timings of Jagannath Temple  

 The Rath Yatra is going to be starting on the 14th of July 2019 from the Jagannath Temple.

Darshan can be done all days of the week from 5 am to 11 pm. Different rituals take place throughout the day, every day. The general timings are fixed and a detailed representation of the same can be found on their official website

 

Best time to visit Jagannath Temple

Puri has more or less pleasant climate throughout the year and hence anytime will be a good time to visit. The ideal months would however be from December to February when the climate is cooler and less humid. It is also comparatively lass crowded than during the other times of the year.

 

Location:

Jagannath Puri temple is located in Puri, a city in the heart of Orissa which is a state in India.

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The Pancha Tirtha Shetra in Puri, the five sacred spots of the holy bath comprises the The Sea or the Mahodadhi in the Swargadwar, the Indradyumana Tank, Rohini Kunda, Markandeya Tank and the Swetaganga Tank. It is a popular belief that, a dive into these five sacred water bodies can help get rid of all the ill deeds and sins that one committed in a lifetime. The pilgrimage is not complete unless you bathe in the Pancha Tirtha.

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It is situated in the epicenter of a garden. Another example of the Kalinga form of architecture, this temple of is made up of yellow sandstone. It is also known as the garden of Jagannath. It is only during the Rath Yatra that Lord Jagannath is worshipped here. The rest of the year, the temple remains empty.

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The Sudarshan Craft Museum is a must watch when in Puri. It was a huge collection of the handicrafts made in Odisha. The variety and the history attached to each make the visit worth every bit.

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The District Museum of Puri has a vast number of paintings of various kinds, handicrafts, sculptures and so on and so fore. It has everything creative that Odisha produces and is a branch of the Odisha State Museum. It is located on the Station Road.

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The Sand Art Park, which is famous for its masterpieces of sand art created by various artists throughout the year, is located in the Grand Road.

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Rath Yatra Festival is the most famous festival that happens in Puri. People from all over the world come each year to be a part of one of the largest festival and fair in India. The deity trio of Lord Jagannath, Lord Balaram and Goddess Subhadra are brought outside the temple premises only once a year. They are put on a chariot or a ‘Rath’ and are brought outside for public view, irrespective of religions. This happens during the rainy season in the months of June to July or the “asara’ month. This is the biggest festival in Puri and the largest fair happens at this time where cultural programs are organized as well.

Puri is a photographer’s delight, but it is during this festival that photographers, documentary filmmakers, performing art artists, and painters visit Puri the most.

The other festivals are the Chandan Yatra, the day on which the initiation of the work of the chariot happens on the Akshay Tritiya; the Snana Yatra when the deities are bathed and adorned on a full moon night; the Anansara, a day on which the deities go on a secret room for a vacation.

There are a number of other festivals too like the Maha Shiva Ratri, the Siruli Mahavir Mela, the Konarak Festival, The Puri Beach Festival, the Basant Utsav, The Konarak Music and Dance Festival, the Magha Mela, the Makar Mela to name a few. In Puri, celebration happens round the year. 

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The Sun Temple of Konarak, the Chilika Lake, the Chandrabhaga Beach, the Satapada Dolphin Sanctuary are all near the territory of Puri and a must watch. There are many places to visit from Puri. Nearby Udaigiri and Khandagiri also attract tourists by the dozens.

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There are many rivers and lakes in and around Puri like the Kushabhradra River, the Daya River, the Kadua River the Sar Lake and you will really lobe strolling in the banks of these rivers and lakes. 

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The other most important landmark in Puri beside the Jagannath Temple is the Sakkhi Gopla temple. 

All Activities

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You can go sailing, sea rafting, and diving, under the supervisions of the professionals. Adventure sports are gradually coming into existence here due to rising demand. Many of the private beach resorts have their own offering for adventure sports. 

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Sunrises and sunsets on the beach, visiting the Temples during the morning and evenings ‘arti’, long walks on the beach and splashing in the sea- Puri has the most therapeutic relaxation catalysts.

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The luxury accommodations like Toshali Sands Resort, Mayfair Resort; the deluxe ones like Asian Inn, Holiday Resort, Camelia Resort, Chanakya BNR; the regular hotels like the Hotel Sonar Bangla,  Hotel Diamond Palace, Hotel Chariot, Hotel Puri Beach Resort, Hotel Berries are only a few named. Puri has accommodation facilities for all kind of budgets.

The government guesthouses like the Circuit House, the forest IB, the Irrigation IB, and the Court Guest House require prior booking and are in great demand.

All Foods

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Food is quite integral to Orissa; Puri is no different. Along the sea-front, you will find a spate of the best hotels and restaurants serving the best fares. Hotels like Puri, boasts of a popular restaurant that attracts tourists by the dozens. Other must visits include The Gajapati, Chung Wah, Bhojohori Manna, New Parijat Restaurant, Joney Bee Bakery and Pizzeria, and Wildgrass Restaurant among others. 

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The Oriya cuisine, a mix of subtle and strong spices, is a must try. It includes an abundance of crabs and fish. Six percent of the population is vegetarian and chicken and mutton are less preferred over various types of fishes and crabs.

Pakhala, Chuda Dahi, Buta Dali, Dalma, Mandia Jau and Chatua, Bati Chura, Maach Besara, Patua, Bundia, Chuda Ghasa are some of the names of the Oriya dishes which should be tasted.

The temple ‘Bhog’ of the Jagannath Mandir, prepared by thousand cooks are internationally famous because of both the religious significance and the high quality of the food.

All Night Life

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Visiting cinema halls for night shows, cultural performances, and a stroll on the beach- this is the nightlife in Puri. Being a place of immense religious importance, there are no discos or bars. In fact, late night partying is not something Puri is accustomed with.

All Shoping

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The sea beach has many small shops that sell conch shell mirrors, home decoration items and costume jewellery. Fish and crab are also widely bought to bring back home. Jewellery made of conch shells are also popular souvenirs.

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On the Grand Road, various types of clay models especially of Lord Jagannath, Goddess Subhadra and Lord Balaram are available. The vegetable market on this road is famous for fresh fruits and vegetables to take back home. The stretch along the Swargadar Road has a thriving street market where you can purchase gifts, souvenirs as well as edibles. 

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