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Puri

Nestling on the eastern coast along the blue waters of the Bay of Bengal, Puri is a unique synthesis of magnificent temples, interesting legends, mythology, a world famous chariot festival, sun and sea like no other.
Puri is a kaleidoscope of all that is Indian heritage – temples, architecture, mythology, legends and the sea. However the two dominant forces of Puri that immediately cross a traveller’s vision, the majestic Jagannath temple and the Sea.  The sea in Puri is a wild affair with roaring white capped waves that keep lashing against the shores. The local fishermen take their sturdy dinghies to the wild heart in search of a good catch.
The wide Bada Danda road at the centre of the city leads from the Gundicha temple up to the grand Jagannath temple around which the whole city has grown. It is the same path on which one can see awe inspiring chariots pulled by thousands in the annual Rath Yatra festival of Puri.
Many visit  Puri on pilgrimage, as it is one of the four most holy Hindu places or “Dhams”; many  others visit because they love the atmosphere, character and the ‘je ne sais quoi’ (mystical something), that has made Puri one of the most popular destinations in India.
The city has immense religious significance and attracts a wide number of visitors from all parts of the world. Puri is also known as Jagannath Puri, Martya Vaikuntha or Sri Purusottama Dham; it is claimed to have be the residence of Lord Jagannath and has a marvelous, ancient temple dedicated to him. This temple is the main attraction of the city aside from a number of other temples and ashrams that provide a very devout feeling to the city.
According to legends associated with the origin of the temple, the original image of Jagannath was found near a fig tree in the form of an Indranila or a shiny Blue Jewel. King Indradyumna of Malwa wanted to find this idol for which he performed strict penance. Lord Vishnu then appeared and instructed him to leave for Puri and find a floating log in the ocean. When the king found the log, A mysterious old man turned up and offered to carve the image on the log on condition, that nobody would open the closed room, where he was working, for three weeks. If anyone broke this promise he would leave the idols incomplete. However the king’s impatient and inquisitive queen opened the door and the old sculptor disappeared leaving the three idols in their incomplete form, as they are seen today.
The shrine here holds a wooden image of Lord Jagannath, a deity form of lord Krishna, as well as statues of Balabhadra and Subhadra, the brother and sister of Krishna.
Chaitanya Mahaprabhu a saint and social reformer of the 16th century spent the last 24 years of his life in Puri.
It is believed that the Jagannath temple was originally built by the Kalinga ruler Anantavarman Chodaganga during 1078 - 1148. A major part of the present structure was built by King Ananga Bhima Deva in 1174. It took him nearly 14 years to finally complete the structure in 1198.
Jagannath Temple
Jagannath temple is the biggest temple in the state of Orissa. This 65m high, majestic structure dedicated to Lord Jagannath is situated on a hill known as Nila Parbat. Krishna, Balabhadra and Subhadra are the main deities of the temple. Constructed in the 12th century AD, it is a huge complex built over an area of 37000m2 and has gateways on four sides. The main gateway is known as the Simha Dwar or the Lion gate and is characterized by the presence two massive stone lions guarding the entrance. Apart from the main shrine, Jagannath temple has a nearly 120 small temples and shrines. The entire structure is enclosed by a 7m high wall. The main temple is composed of four chambers. The outermost chamber is known as the Bhogmandir, followed by Nata-mandir (a pillared hall for music and dance), the next part is Jagamohana (prayer room) and the last chamber is the sanctum of the temple (the Deul) where the deities reside. The Shikhara (= dome) of the temple is about 58m high. Mahaprasada: Lord Jagannath is offered 56 varieties of food everyday. 600 cooks known as Suaras and 400 assistants are involved in preparing Lord's food popularly called Mahaprasad. The temple kitchen is known to be the biggest in the world and can cater to 5000 visitors on daily basis.
Gundicha Temple
Situated near the Jagannath temple this complex was constructed in the 16th century and is also known as ‘Janak Puri'. It is believed that Gundicha Temple was the residence of Lord Krishna’s aunt and that the famed Ratha Yatra brought Lord Krishna Jagannath, Balabhadra and Subhadra to reside here. Before their arrival the entire temple was cleansed thoroughly and decorated carefully. The highlight of the temple is a huge dome that holds the wheel of Lord Vishnu. The temple is named after King Indradyumna, who was also known as Gundicha. This Kalinga style temple stands in the middle of a garden and is surrounded by a 6m high, 1.5m wide wall. It is divided into four chambers Vimana, Jagamohana, Natamandapa and Bhogamandapa.
Swargadwar Beach
This beach holds a very religious significance for people visiting here, since it was the bathing place of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu a famous Vaishnava social reformer. It is believed that it was here that lord merged with Brahma and went to his celestial abode. People come here to pray and take a holy dip.
Beaches
Puri Beach: A long and beautiful beach where sunrise and sunset are especially lovely. This beach is also good for bathing. During the festival of Kartik Purnima people throng the beach to take a holy dip. Balighai Beach: Just 8km from the main town, this beach situated on the mouth of river Nuanai is a popular picnic spot and also has a sea turtle research centre.
Sri Lokanath Temple
This temple is situated nearly 3km from Jagannath temple and is dedicated to Lord Shiva. This temple is said to be one of the oldest in Puri and the striking feature here is that the Lingam at the temple remains submerged under water .
District Museum Puri
This museum showcases some of the rare sculptures, Patta and palm leaf paintings.
Puri is famous for appliqué work, pata and palm-leaf paintings and bell-metal work.
Puri is famous for a delicacy called ‘Khaja' - which is a dry sweet made of white flour, sugar and ghee (purified butter). Khaja forms part of the Mahaprasad; it is great to take away, as it remains fresh for a long time.
Rath Yatra Festival:
The most celebrated event at Puri is the annual Ratha Yatra, which is conducted during the months of June and July every year; the main attractions of the festival are the huge chariots that hold the idols of Lord Jagannath, his sister Subhadra and brother Balbhadra. These elegantly, traditionally decorated chariots are taken in a huge procession, pulled by thousands of devotees, through the Grand Road (Bada Danda) of Puri to the Gundicha Ghar where the Lord and his siblings rest for a week. The idols are then returned to Jagannath temple in same chariots.
This annual event is a major attraction for the visitors. This is the only time of the year that non-Hindus have the chance to catch a glimpse of Lord Jagannath, as they are not otherwise allowed into his temple. As Jagannath is a manifestation of Lord Krishna, this is a particularly important event for Hare Krishna devotees.
It is said, that the British coined the word ‘Juggernaut’ (= overwhelming, advancing) after having witnessed the fervor and expanse of the Ratha Yatra festival.
The extravagant festivities and joyful ambience during this time provides a glimpse of rich Indian traditions and culture.
2. Puri Beach Festival is held in the month of February.
Nearby places Train stations Airports
BHUBANESWAR 58 Km 00H 59m
Puri
Nearby major cities
Name Distance Duration
35 Km 00H 33m
132 Km 03H 45m
Raghurajpur. near Puri, is a village is engaged in keeping alive rich traditions of Oriya Patachitra painting. Patachitra is a canvas made by coarse white cloth joined with an adhesive made of tamarind seeds. Both side of the cloth is coated with a mixture of tamarind paste and soap stone powder and dried. Master painters of the village create the painting on the dried cloth. National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) declared it as a heritage village in 2000
35 Km 00H 33m
The temple town of Konark is famous for the magnificent Sun Temple dedicated to Sun god. It is a World Heritage Site recognized by UNESCO. The backdrop of the majestic temple is the venue for one of the most exciting classical dance festivals held in the country.
61 Km 01H 01m
Bhubaneswar, the capital of Orissa, is the seat of Tribhubaneswar or 'Lord Lingaraj'. Bhubaneswar is an important Hindu pilgrimage centre. While hundreds of temples dot the landscape of the Old Town, which once boasted of more than 2000 temples, the new Bhubaneswar with its modern buildings complements its modern aspirations. This city is most renowned for changing the conqueror Asoka to the conquered. The great Kalinga War took place here between Emperor Asoka and Kalinga (the old empire of Odi
132 Km 03H 45m
The endless expanse of emerald water of the Chilika lagoon is a combination of rare natural beauty and unique marine ecosystem. The largest inland salt water lagoon in Asia is home to the rare Irrawaddy dolphins and several thousands of indigenous and migratory birds that draw visitors from across the globe.
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Best Seasons
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Weather
Season Min. Temp. Max. Temp.
Summer 20 °C 35 °C
Winter 12 °C 25 °C
Puri is generally pleasant throughout the year with the Summer temperatures not going beyond 35C. However the humidity levels are high due to the proximity to the sea. The best time to visit is post Monsoon October - March period.
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