Visit the most revered Lord Jagannath of Puri
The Jagannath Temple of Puri is a renowned, sacred Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Jagannath, who is a manifestation of Krishna and Vishnu. It’s located, in Puri in the state of Odisha, on the eastern coast of India. Puri is one of the 4 Dhams or pilgrimages earmarked for the Hindus to visit at least once in the lifetime and that’s why considered among Top 22 religious destinations of India.
Mostly worshiped statues of deities are sculptured in stone but the figures of Lord Jagannath, Balbhadra and Subhadra, three main deities, are carved from wood. Every 12 or 19 years the figures are replaced with new figures of deities carved from the specified sacred trees. This replacement is done with a secretive but elaborate ceremony called Navakalevara meaning new embodiment.
How to reach the temple
Rail – Puri has direct express and super-fast train links with New Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Ahmedabad, Tirupati etc. Some important trains are Kolkata (Howrah) Puri Howrah Express, Jagannath Express; New Delhi; Purushottam Express.
Station to temple– The station is about one km North of the town. Cycle rickshaws and auto rickshaws are available.
Reaching Puri through Road – The bus stand near the Gundicha Temple provides connections to Bhubaneswar and Cuttack, service every 10-15 minutes. There are direct buses for Kolkata and Visakhapatnam.
History of temple
The iconic temple was built in 12th century by Oriya ruler Ananga Bhima Deva, who in fact gave it a final finish. Some evidences found suggest that the construction of the temple had been started in 11th century by the rulers of Kalinga.
Jagannath Temple consists of four entrance gates. They are named as Singhadwara, Ashwadwara, Hathidwara and Vyaghradwara. These names refer to lion, horse, elephant and tiger. Each day, the Lord at the Jagannath Temple is offered ‘bhoga’ six times and it is dispensed among the worshipers close to Ratnavedi. The main temple in Puri is surrounded by about small and big 30 temples. These were built up at different periods of history by different rulers. Ritually, the pilgrims are generally directed by the Pandas to visit and make offerings and worship in almost all these temples, before they are taken to the Jagamohana or the porch to see the presiding deities in the sanctum sanctum.
The three deities Jagannath, Balabhadra and Subhadra are called Trinity and are considered to be manifestations of almighty. Along with the trio, Sudarshan is also worshiped. Together they are meditated as four-fold divine image.
Rath yatra or Chariot festival a very famous festival of Puri falls in mid of July every year. Three chariots of three deities are pulled on the main road of Puri by huge mass of devotees through ropes. The myth is, the deities go to their maternal relative to Shri Gundicha temple and stay there for nine days. Lord Jagannath’s Chariot is biggest with 45.6 ft in height having 18 wheels. Then Balabhadra’s chariot of 45 feet height having 16 wheels then Subhadra’s chariot 44.6 feet high and it has 14 wheels. The chariots are decorated and painted by local Puri artists. This yearly fixture is attended by millions of people with love, fervor, religious frenzy and enthusiasm.