Char Dham

Shree Jagannath Puri Temple – A Complete Visitor’s Guide

The city of Puri is home to the Jagannath Temple. The Shree Jagannath Puri Temple represents a significant pilgrimage destination in India and is widely regarded as an authentic Chardham site. Here, people worship Lord Jagannath or Jagannatha, the God to whom the temple is dedicated. The term “Jagannath” originated from the Sanskrit language, where “Jagat” denotes the world and “Nath” refers to The Lord. This yields the literal interpretation of Jagannath. The name Jagannath means “Lord of the Universes.” 

Puri is renowned as the cultural centre of Odisha. The Shree Jagannath Puri Temple is a popular destination for pilgrims, drawing large crowds year-round. Meanwhile, the golden sand beaches of the region are a haven for those seeking a serene getaway, attracting thousands of holidaymakers and honeymooners.

The feelings of nearly every Odia are intertwined with this particular place. Emotions echo and reverberate in the “Jay Jagannath” chant. So, if you haven’t already, get going! Let’s begin learning more about our beloved Mahaprabhu and His abode!

The Original Char Dhams

India boasts numerous pilgrimage sites that are steeped in the rich mythology of the Hindu religion. These sites are dispersed throughout the country’s expansive territory. The Char Dham Yatra holds a significant position among these. The Char Dham, defined initially by Adi Shankaracharya, a prominent Indian saint, and philosopher, comprises four pilgrimage sites: Badrinath, Dwarka, Puri, and Rameswaram. Among these, three are Vaishnavite, dedicated to Lord Vishnu, while the fourth one is Shaivite, dedicated to Lord Shiva.

Puri, as a part of Char Dham

Jagannath Temple at Puri is one of the four major ‘Char Dham‘ pilgrimage destinations honouring Lord Jagannath, a manifestation of Lord Vishnu. The temple’s primary trio of gods worshipped are Mahaprabhu Jagannath, Badathakura Balabhadra, and the Goddess Subhadra. The Supreme Lord lives in his deity form in Puri, Odisha.

Anyone who receives His darshan achieves freedom from this world of things. One receives the pious credit of visiting all the other holy pilgrimage sites by travelling to Jagannath Puri Dham.

Location of Puri

One of the other names for the Puri Jagannath Temple is “Yamanika Tirtha.” It is said that Lord Jagannath’s presence in Puri has rendered “Yama,” the Hindu God of Death, powerless.

So what’s holding you up?

Plan a trip to Puri as soon as possible and see the majestic Shree Jagannath Puri Temple in all its glory!

Your Journey is Incomplete Unless you have Visited:

Jagannath Puri
Badrinath
Dwaraka
Rameshwaram

Jagannath Puri

Badrinath Dham

Dwaraka Dham

Rameshwaram

Your Journey is Incomplete Unless you have Visited:

Jagannath Puri

Jagannath Puri

Badrinath

Badrinath Dham

Dwaraka

Dwaraka Dham

Rameshwaram

Rameshwaram

History of Puri

Puri Jagannath Temple

 

Any place in India, religious or non-religious, has deep roots in history. There are always interesting historical facts and tales about a place. The same is true for Puri too!

The Chinese traveller Hiuen Tsang’s historical evidence indicates that Puri was formerly called Charitra. Under Chodaganga Deva’s reign, Puri became famous as the home of Lord Purusottama, earning it the new moniker of Purusottama Kshetra.

Purusottama Kshetra acquired the name Chhatar under the Mughal and British suzerainty. The name of Purusottam Kshetra was subsequently altered to Purusottam Puri. The city of Puri is called ‘Pooree‘ in British records, subsequently acquiring its current name.

During the early 19th century, the province was partitioned into the Southern and Northern Divisions, with the Mahanadi River as the boundary between them. In the mid-19th century, the regions were merged.

Odisha was established as an independent province in 1936. In 1948, the integration of Khandapara, Daspalla, Ranapur, and Nayagarh feudatory states in Odisha resulted in a new district called Puri.

Administration of Shree Jagannath Puri Temple

The Managing Committee and Administrative Structure of the Shree Jagannatha Temple were upgraded in February 2005 following the enactment of the Shree Jagannatha Temple Amending Act of 2004.

A Revenue Divisional Commissioner, an IAS officer, has been designated as the Chief Administrator. The committee established by the Act currently comprises 18 members. The committee is chaired by Sri Dibyasingha Deb, the Gajapati Maharaja of Puri. The committee’s tenure is three years per the Act.

Geography and Climate of Puri

The city of Puri can be found at coordinates 19.8°N 85.85°E and boasts an average elevation of 0 metres (0 feet). Located on the Bay of Bengal coast, the district of Puri benefits from the refreshing sea breeze that provides respite from the hot and humid summers, making it a more bearable destination than Odisha’s inland areas.

From March through June, the climate in this region tends to be humid, with high levels of moisture in the air. The temperature tends to maintain a moderate level during the months spanning from July to August. Conversely, the period from October to January is typically regarded as the winter season.

But whatever the season, you will always have a great time visiting this place, having a darshan of the deities and enjoying the Puri Golden Beach.

Connection of Lord Jagannath with Puri

How did Mahaprabhu Jagannath and his siblings get associated with Puri? Well, we got the tale for you right here!

Read on to know the mysterious ways of the Lord and His will.

Over the course of centuries, a rich tapestry of myths, legends, and historical accounts has coalesced into a grand and intricate cultural tradition centered around the figure of Lord Jagannath. The Skanda Purana (an ancient Hindu text containing numerous mythological sections) recounts a fascinating story behind the root of Lord Jagannath, the Lord of the universe.

According to legendary sources, the Lord was once revered by the Sabakas, a tribal group known as the Daitas. These individuals, who are believed to be of tribal descent, continue to hold a significant role in the various ceremonies and rituals dedicated to Lord Jagannath at the revered Shree Jagannath Puri Temple.

The Tale of Nila Madhaba and Lord Jagannath

In ancient times, there existed a king by the name of Indradyumna. He was renowned for his unwavering devotion to Lord Vishnu. He harboured an ardent desire to behold the divine form of the deity.

 

On a certain day, a Brahmin went to the King’s court. He conveyed that Lord Vishnu had taken on the form of Lord Nila Madhava at a distant location.

Then, the King dispatched various priests to embark on a quest and locate the divine Lord Nila Madhava. Every attempt to succeed proved futile, save for the one made by a priest who went by the name of Vidyapati.

As Vidyapati embarked on his quest to locate The Lord Nila Madhava, he chanced upon the home of a prominent local chief Vishwavasu.

Here, he found valuable information regarding the precise whereabouts of the revered deity. 

Despite Vidyapati’s repeated requests, Vishwavasu never led him to Lord Madhava’s place of worship.

Undeterred, Vidyapati continued to dwell in the same village, ultimately taking Lalita, Visvavasu’s daughter, as his wife. Soon after his wedding, he asked his new father-in-law Vishwavasu to lead him to God.

After considerable convincing, his father-in-law finally led him to the Lord’s dwelling. Vidyapati went to where Lord Nila Madhava lived while blindfolded. Still, he was smart enough to sprinkle some mustard seeds all the way to the holy place to mark the route. And when he beheld the divine form of the Lord, he was utterly captivated and left in awe.

Vidyapati
Nilamadhab Darshan

After several days, the contented Vidyapati returned to King Indradyumna and recounted the entire tale. Overwhelmed with joy, the King promptly implored Vidyapati to lead him to the abode of the Lord. However, when they arrived, the Lord was nowhere to be seen.

What happened then?

The King, consumed by devastation, returned to his kingdom. Subsequently, a celestial voice spoke to him, saying, “O King, do not despair over your failure to behold me.” Going to Puri Beach, you will see a piece of wood floating in the water. Get the log, carve my idol out of it, then build me a temple.

The King procured the sturdy wooden log and summoned the most skilled architects and sculptors in the land.

Despite their expertise, none could fashion an idol from the log, as none knew of the Lord’s appearance. Despite their best efforts, none of their tools could penetrate the solid wooden log.

King Indradyumna
Lord Viswakarma archetecting Jagannath

 

 

After a few days, Vishvakarma, the great Architect of Gods, comes to King Indradyumna dressed as an artist and promises to make the Lord’s images.

However, he insisted on being left alone to finish the idols for at least 21 days. With those words, he shut the door to his chamber and set to work on the wooden block.

You know where this story is heading, right?

The sculptor, Vishwakarma, takes the giant monolithic log and shuts the door. Days pass. After 15 days, there was no sound audible from the chamber. This made the queen restless.

The queen begged the King to open the chamber, terrified that the sculptor was no more.

Who did they see when they opened the doors?

But to their surprise, they found three unfinished wooden sculptures in the room, and no sculptor in the room. And from that point forward, people only regard the unfinished idols as Lord Jagannath and his siblings and adore them!

What do the no limbs and round eyes signify for the people?

As mentioned above, the mythology is thought to be the basis for the fact that the trinity’s idols lack limbs and are incomplete. The deities Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra, and Goddess Subhadra continue to be adored in that appearance, as the unfinished state of their idols is believed to convey a sense of wholeness and perfection.

The Hands are half-made, and it is believed that God warmly embraces anybody who comes in their direction with faith in him. It is unknown how far their vision extends because their eyes are rounded. They are believed to be able to observe the entire universe with those eyes.

Jagannath, Balavadra and Subhadra
(Lord Balabhadra, Goddess Subhadra and Lord Jagannath)

History of Puri Jagannath Temple

Who built the Jagannath temple?

The temple’s main shrine was constructed by Anantavarman of the Chodaganga dynasty in the eleventh century, making it one of the oldest Hindu temples. However, it is said that the shrine’s gods are far older and are connected to King Indrayumna, the famous Satya-yuga king and Lord Ram’s nephew.

Architecture of Jagannath Mandir

Mandira

The primary temple in Puri is situated on a large elevated platform, considered the foundation of a hill called Nilagiri or Blue Hill. This platform is encircled by approximately 30 additional temples devoted to diverse deities of the Hindu pantheon. The kitchen at the Puri temple elicits a sense of awe in individuals from any part of the world who become aware of it.

Within the temple’s walls lie exquisite examples of Odishan architecture and sculpture. Two rectangular walls encircle the temple. Meghanada Pacheri forms the outer enclosure, while the inner enclosure is known as Kuruma Bedha. 

The Shree Jagannath Puri Temple boasts a flawless pancha-ratha plan. The temple stands as a prime exemplar of the Kalinga style in its entirety, boasting the presence of all four indispensable components. 

  • The Vimana or the Sanctum Sanctorum
  • The Jagamohana or the Audience Hall
  • The Nata Mandapa or the Dancing Hall
  • The Bhoga Mandapa or the Hall of offering

Dwara

There are 4 entrance gates of Puri Jagannath Temple:

  • The Eastern Simha Dwara (Lion Gate) – Represents Dharma (Piety)
  • The Western Vyaghra Dwara (The Tiger Gate) – Represents Vairagya (Renunciation)
  • The Northern Hasti Dwara (Elephant Gate) – Represents Aishwarya (Material Opulence)
  • The Southern Ashwa Dwara (Horse Gate) – Represents Jnana (Knowledge)

Stambha

The magnificent Aruna Stambha, a towering pillar that reaches a height of approximately 11 metres, is situated just outside the premises and is a sight not to be missed! The pillar, which was once a part of the Sun Temple in Konark, symbolises the charioteer of the Sun God. In the 18th century, the temple was abandoned and faced the threat of invasion. As a result, it was relocated to a safer location to ensure its preservation.

Deities at Shree Jagannath Puri Temple

All three Gods are crafted from the wood of the neem tree (Melia Azadirachta Indica). The deities Jagannatha, Balabhadra, and Subhadra each have a distinct colour associated with them. These colours are black, white, and yellow, respectively.

The gods have been given a wide range of interpretations by various religious groups and philosophical strands. According to social anthropologists, the three colours are believed to symbolise the three distinct races of humanity: Negroids, Europeans, and Mongoloids.

Chaka Nayana

The circular shape of Lord Jagannath’s eyes contrasts with the oval shape of the eyes of Devi Subhadra and Lord Balabhadra. The countenances of the divine trio are distinct in their features.

Lord Balabhadra’s head bears a scalloped appearance with a semi-circular lobe that resembles the hood of a serpent. Maa Subhadra’s head, on the other hand, is reminiscent of a tiara, while Lord Jagannath’s head is marked by a straight line.

But the universal truth is, no one can explain why it is that the deities with big heads, no ears, no proper hands, and no legs are a beacon of hope to the devotees all around the world.

A glimpse of those Chakanayana (Big circular round eyes of Jaga) mesmerise everyone!

In accordance with the phases of the moon, the Divinities are adorned in various attires, of which 21 hold notable historical significance. All aspects pertaining to Lord Jagannath are characterised by a sense of grandeur and greatness, it is “Bada“.

People call Lord Jagannth as “Bada Thakura”. The temple is commonly referred to as “Bada Deula”. The road that runs in front of the temple is “Bada Danda”.

Rituals at Shree Jagannath Puri Temple

 

The Temple’s rituals and systems have remained largely unaltered since its construction. A distinctive form of worship is observed here for the Lord of the Universe.

He and his siblings receive familial love and care. Every morning, they are awakened by music and a religious ritual known as arati. They are required to change their attire and perform oral hygiene.

The individuals undergo bathing and dressing procedures before the morning darshan. Then they change attire before partaking in a light breakfast called Gopal Ballabh, which typically includes fruits, curd, and green coconut.

At 10 am, a second breakfast known as Raj Bhoga is served, followed by Betel nuts to facilitate digestion. At 1 pm, the deities partake in an elaborate lunch known as Madhyana Dhupa.

In 1910, the mid-day meal comprised 435 dishes. A divine feast indeed!

(Morning Arati of Shri Jagannath)

Every big meal needs to be followed by a short nap, and the Gods are no different. The deities are placed on cots within the sanctum sanctorum to rest undisturbed.

At 6 pm, the deities are awakened for Sandhya Dhupa and darshan. Subsequently, they attire themselves for the Chandana Lagi ritual, which involves the administration of a refreshing sandalwood paste, and prepare for the evening. The deities partake in a late evening meal known as Badasinghar Bhoga at 10:30 pm. The cots are replaced with more comfortable couches before bedtime. 

The temple servitor, known as a sevak, uses a veena to accompany a recitation of the Gita Govinda, a 12th-century poem by Jayadeva, in order to lull the deities to sleep. The divine siblings, including the Lord of the Universe, are in a peaceful slumber until the following day. What a joy when you know that he spends His day just like any other living being, right?

What is Rath Yatra (Chariot Festival)

Brace yourselves as we proceed to the most exciting part of Shree Jagannath Puri Temple, “Rath Yatra”! The Rathyatra Puri, also referred to as the Chariot Festival, is a significant event at the Jagannath temple. This festival begins on Ashada Shukla Paksha Dwitiya Tithi. It concludes on Ashada Shukla Paksha Dasami Tithi, per the Shri Mandir Panji.

After a lengthy stay of 15 days in the home of Anasar (15 days reclusion period of the deities due to fever by bathing on Snana Purnima), the world-famous Puri Jagannath Rath Yatra lasts for 9 days. During the annual Rath Yatra festival, devotees from all over the world gather to get the divine darshan of Mahaprabhu Shree Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra, Sister Subhadra, and the celestial Wheel Sudarshan as they ride in their chariots along the Bada Danda.

Akshaya Tritiya is a significant occasion where the customary Ratha Anukula ritual (initiation ceremony for chariot construction) is performed to mark the commencement of chariot construction.

HAPPY RATH YATRA

2024

Sun, 7 Jul, 2024

Chariot Wheel

Snana Purnima

The three deities are ceremonially bathed on the auspicious day of Snana Purnima or Jyestha Purnima. During the annual ceremony, Mahaprabhu Shree Jagannath, Balabhadra, Subhadra, Sudarshana, and Madana-Mohana are escorted to the Snana Bedi, where they are bathed with 108 pots of holy water drawn from a well on the north side of the temple.

After the bathing ceremony, it is believed that the deities undergo a period of fever and then withdraw to their private chambers. They remain out of sight for a period of fifteen days. The period is called Anasara.

Who can you witness and pray to when the Lords are in Anasar

The devotees can witness three paintings hung on the bamboo screen for the duration of these fifteen days (Ashadha Krishna Paksha). People also call it Pati Diyan or Anasara Pati.

In addition to the three paintings, metal statues of Rama, Dola Govinda, and Narasimha are positioned in front of Balabadhra, Bhudevi and Sridevi in front of Subhadra, and Krishna and Madanamohana in front of Jagannatha. The set of artworks comprising 3 paintings and 7 metal pictures is collectively known as Dashavatara Murti or Dashavatara Thakura. Every ceremony typically carried out in the Sanctum Sanctorum is here. During the Anasara period, worshippers could have a darshan of these deities.

What are the three Raths

Obviously, you must be longing to know about the Chariots or Rathas on which the deities embark for this splendid & magnificent journey! Three grand and ornately adorned Chariots or Rathas are pulled from the Shree Jagannath Mandir to the Gundicha temple during the annual Ratha Yatra. These Chariots are known by the following names:

Taladhwaja Ratha of Lord Balabhadra

Taladhwaja

(Lord Balabhadra’s Chariot)

dwarpadalana rath of Maa Subhadra

Dwarpadalana

(Maa Subhadra’s chariot)

Nandighosa

(Lord Jagannatha’s Chariot)

What happens on the day of the Rath Yatra

There are a lot of pre and post-yatra rituals and ceremonies that take place on the occasion of Rath Yatra.

Now, let us briefly examine each one of them.

Pahandi

Devotees glimpse the Lord in His youthful form after fifteen days of seclusion “Anasara“. On the second day of Ashadha Shukla tithi, following the morning rituals of the deities, including Mangala Alati, Abakash, Ballabha, and Khechedi bhoga, the Mangalarpana ritual takes place. The four deities participate in a ceremonial procession known as “Pahandi” and subsequently sequentially embark on the sacred chariots, accompanied by other gods.

Chera Panhara

The Chera Panhara ritual takes place once the deities board the chariots. The Gajapati Maharaja of Puri cleans the chariot with a gold-handled broom while sprinkling perfumed water and sandalwood powder.

The Yatra on Bada Danda

The Gods then leave the Shri Mandira and head for Gundicha. The temple is located two miles northeast of the Jagannatha Temple. Therefore, the festival is also referred to as Gundicha Jatra.

Lakhs and thousands of devotees aggressively pull the enormous chariots toward the Gundicha temple while blowing trumpets, banging drums, beating cymbals and dancing in front of the chariots. Millions of devotees gather at Bada Danda to witness this event. Artists and performers present their art in front of the chariots as an act of devotion to the Lord.

Devotees engage in a large-scale Sankirtana ceremony in the presence of the Ratha. The devotees’ fervour is driven by their desire to catch a glimpse of their beloved deity, Jaga Kalia (the Dusky Jaga), Chaka Dola (the Round-Eyed one), and Bada Thakura (Great God).

Jagannath Temple decorated with flower
(Jagannath Temple Decorated with Flowers during Rath Yatra)

The chariots represent Sandhini Shakti, and their mere touch is believed to bestow the compassion of Lord Shree Jagannatha upon devotees. The verse in question is as follows:

“Ratha tu vamanam drustva punarjanma na vidyate”

The three Rathas in all their glory, among a sea of devotees and chants of the Daitas, pulled down on the Badadanda…you just cannot forget this view! This is one majestic sight to behold! One of the best times to visit Puri is during the Rath Yatra. If you do proper planning and arrangements, you can see this once-in-a-year phenomenon with your own eyes.

Baladeva’s chariot, Taladhwaja, is positioned ahead, while Subhadra Devi’s chariot follows behind. The Nandighosha Ratha, dedicated to Lord Jagannatha, is the final one to arrive. Thus, the deities arrive at the Gundicha temple. They remain there for a week and then return to Shri Mandira during Bahuda Jatra.

Infographics on Entire process of Rath Yatra
(Complete Process of Rath Yatra - Snana Purnima to Niladri Bije)

What happens when they reach the Gundicha Temple

The chariots of the gods remain in front of the Gundicha temple. Subsequently, bathing and additional ceremonial practices are carried out, and the deities repose for the night, bedecked in Dashavatar costumes. The deities proceed to the Gundicha Temple the following evening, accompanied by Goti Pahandi and Bije, and assume their designated positions.

Hera Panchami is a significant festival observed on the fifth day of the Ratha Yatra. On the sixth day following the Hera Panchami rituals, the Chariots pivot towards the south, also called Dakshina Moda.

Bahuda Yatra

The procession of deities from Gundicha temple to Shree Jagannath Puri Temple on the 9th day is called Bahuda Yatra. Bahuda yatra is observed on Asadha Shukla Dashami with specific rituals.

Poda Pitha (Odia delicacy made up of rice, urad dal, coconut, jaggery and nuts), a special type of pitha (type of homemade cakes or pancakes, popular in regions like Odisha, West Bengal & Assam), is presented to the deities at Mausi Maa Mandira during the return journey to Shri Mandira. The Laxminarayan Bheta ritual is also conducted during the Bahuda Yatra.

Suna Besha

This ritual takes place on Asadha Shukla Paksha Ekadasi Tithi after Madhyanna Dhupa (mid-day bhoga). During the Suna Besha of Mahaprabhu, the deities are adorned with gold ornaments while on chariots.

Adharpana

The Adharpana ritual is conducted on Ashadha Shukla Dwadashi, following the Suna Besha. Nine earthen pitchers filled with drinks were placed adjacent to the lips of the three deities. Immediately after that, the Daitapatis and Sevaks crash and spill the pitchers on the Rathas.

During Rath Yatra, many ghosts and spirits are believed to follow the Lords in anticipation of consuming the holy drink to achieve salvation. 

Niladri Bije

The occasion of Niladri Bije happens on Asadha Trayodashi when the deities are reinstated at the Ratna Bedi (the pedestal in the main temple where the 4 idols sit facing towards the east). As a means of gaining entrance to the temple, Lord Jagannath presents Goddess Laxmi with Rasagullas.

Rath Jatra celebration in different parts of the world

Since 1968, the ISKCON Hare Krishna movement has brought the Ratha Yatra festival to major cities worldwide, making it a familiar sight to many. The celebration of Lord Jagannath’s Rath Yatra spans across continents. It is observed in 192 countries, equivalent to the total number of member states in the United Nations.

Thanks to the benevolence of Lord Jagannath, the annual Ratha Yatra is now celebrated in over 170 cities worldwide, including Moscow, New York, London, Rome, Zürich, Kolkata, Mumbai, Karachi, Berlin, and numerous others.

Nabakalebara and its significance

The distinctiveness of Lord Jagannatha of Puri is attributed to His unique physical appearance and the rituals of worship associated with Him. The ceremony is rooted in the belief that the same eternal law governing the human body’s perishable nature and the soul’s enduring nature also applies to Lord Jagannatha.

Nabakalebara‘ combines two Odia words, ‘Naba‘, which translates to ‘new‘ and ‘Kalebara‘, which means ‘body‘.

The Jagannatha Temple in Puri is the site of a unique and infrequent ceremony during Joda Asadha, also known as the intercalary month of Asadha.

The highly anticipated ceremony occurs at intervals of 8, 12, or 19 years, as determined by the astrologer’s calculations. This event spans three to four months, commencing in either March or April and concluding in July.

The ceremonial proceedings typically commence following Ram Navami, during the Chaitra Sukla Dasami, the 10th day of the bright full moon in the Odia month of Baisakh.

Puri Nabakalebara of Shri Jagannath

Na jāyate mriyate vā kadāchin nāyaṁ bhūtvā bhavitā

vā na bhūyaḥ

Ajo nityaḥ śhāśhvato yaṁ purāṇo na hanyate hanyamāne śharīre

According to the sloka, the soul is eternal and does not undergo birth or death. It is believed that once in existence, the soul continues to exist indefinitely without any cessation. The soul is considered an eternal, ageless, and immortal entity not subject to birth or death. According to the belief, it is said that the essence of a being is not annihilated even after the physical body ceases to exist.

Puri Beach or Sea Beach at Puri

Now let’s move on to the next best tourist destination in Puri besides the Shree Jagannath Temple, the Puri sea beach! In addition to the renowned Jagannath Temple, Puri Beach stands out as a significant tourist destination. The beach is widely regarded as one of the safest in the country, providing beachgoers ample opportunities to enjoy a relaxing swim in the sea.

You can have a great time bathing in the cool waters of the Bay of Bengal. Also, bathing in the Bay of Bengal at Puri’s sea beach is regarded as one of the most important rituals of the char dham Yatra. Moreover, visiting the Puri beach at night is a mesmerising experience! 

How far is the beach from?

2 Km

(From Jagannath Temple)

3 Km

(From Bus stand – VIP Road)

2 Km

(From Railway Station)

2 Km

(From Jagannath Temple)

3 Km

(From Bus stand – VIP Road)

2 Km

(From Railway Station)

Golden Beach Puri

The beautiful town of Puri boasts a stunning 8-kilometre-long stretch of pristine sea beach. The Golden Beach stretches along the Puri Sea for an idyllic 870 metres, from Gandhi Park to the back of the Mayfair Hotel. This golden beach is enclosed on both ends with proper fencing to ensure that only ticket-holding visitors get entry. Visitors can purchase tickets at the entrance counter.

Puri’s golden beach has the esteemed “Blue Flag” from the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE), a non-profit and non-governmental organisation based in Copenhagen, Denmark. This recognition is a testament to the beach’s commitment to environmental sustainability.

Men’s and women’s restrooms, changing rooms, drinking water dispensers, lifeguards, and seating areas are just some amenities tourists can enjoy. The primary draw for children is a compact play area. The Puri Golden Beach is a perfect destination for those seeking to enjoy quality time with their family & loved ones and watch the sunrise and sunset.

Visitors must pay an entry fee of Rs 20 for three hours and Rs 50 or 100 for the entire day, per the authority’s regulations. Children under the age of 10 are granted complimentary admission.

One noteworthy beach feature is the acclaimed sand artist Padma Shri Sudarshan Pattnaik, who showcases his exceptional sand art at a designated beach area.

sand art by Sudarshan Patnaik
(Sand Art by Shri Sudarshan Patnaik)

Must do activities at Puri Golden Beach

This beach is a popular tourist place in Puri that attracts many vacationers daily. It is bustling with activity from dawn to dusk and is frequented by individuals of all ages. Visiting the Golden Beach Puri market, open around the clock, is also fun. People can take home artefacts and gifts like shell jewels, art, idols, etc.

There’s always a lot of action on the beach because of the huge market where you can buy almost everything. You can reach Golden Beach from the Jagannath temple using local transport facilities like Rickshaws, autos, taxis etc. The fare is very minimal, and the ride is joyous!

Golden Beach caters to a wide range of interests, from those seeking a serene and calming atmosphere to those searching for thrilling outdoor activities. With various activities ranging from speed boats, surfing, kayaking, snorkelling, water scooters, parasailing, and even the option to simply relax and enjoy a peaceful evening on the beach, the possibilities for entertainment and leisure are limitless.

Water Sports price activity list

Famous Food in Puri

Puri’s local cuisine reflects the town’s diverse and charming character, offering a range of sweet and savoury flavours to tantalise the taste buds. At Puri, one can indulge in an elaborate affair of Mandir Mahaprasad and local cuisine that is truly satisfying. The city takes great care to offer a unique Odia twist to its cuisine, ensuring that all travellers have a memorable culinary experience.

Let us look at the various types of bhoga, local foods and cuisines that one can indulge in Puri!

Ananda Bajar – Abhada

Mahaprasad refers to the assortment of 56 delectable food items traditionally offered to Lord Jagannath. The culinary delights are prepared in a unique kitchen within the temple premises. The kitchen boasts an impressive capacity to prepare meals for hundreds of thousands of devotees who visit the temple.

The Mahaprasad of Lord Jagannath is widely regarded as a spiritual sustenance that fortifies the soul, cleanses the sacraments, and prepares the departing soul for its ascent!

Anand Bazar is a bustling marketplace located within the premises of the revered Shree Jagannath Puri Temple. Here, devotees can purchase the sacred Mahaprasad as a divine offering to the deity.

Two types of Mahaprasad are available, namely, Sankudi Mahaprasad and Sukhila Mahaprasad. Both types are available at Ananda Bazaar, located within the Grand Temple. In addition to Sankudi and Sukhila Mahaprasad, there is another variety of dry Mahaprasad known as Nirmalya or Kaibalya.

You cannot miss the experience of tasting Mahaprasad. It’s heaven!

Abhada Mahapraasada

Tanka Torani

Tanka Torani of Puri Jagannath Temple

Tanka Torani is a dish that leaves a lasting impression on the taste buds of those who visit the Shree Jagannath Temple, Puri. The pleasure fest is undoubtedly a favourite among locals and tourists, and its appeal is unquenchable with just a single glass. 

Tanka Torani is a popular beverage available in earthenware vessels within the Shree Jagannath Puri Temple premises.

It is also available in small stalls outside the temple, providing a refreshing respite for devotees waiting in lengthy queues. It is a fermented rice drink made with curd, condiments, and spices.

Tanka Torani is one of those dishes that, once experienced, is impossible to forget!

Sweets

Khaja

Khaja holds immense significance as it forms an essential component of the Mahaprasad offered to the revered trio of Lord Jagannath, Balabhadra, and Suvadra. The Lord and his favourite delicacy are highly regarded across the city. You can easily spot this popular sweet in various locations, including the Grand Road or Bada Danda, before the revered Shree Jagannath Puri Temple.

Additionally, you can find it in the lively shopping districts near the renowned Swargadwara.

Malpua

Malpua of Puri is a delectable delicacy served as a morning offering to Lord Jagannath at the Puri Temple. This sweet treat is renowned for its unique preparation method, which sets it apart from other regional variations across India.

Ukhuda

The Shree Jagannath Puri temple offers a delectable local sweet dish called Ukhuda as a part of the bhoga for Lord Jagannath. This delectable dish features puffed rice that has been fried to perfection and sweetened with the use of jaggery.

Chenna Poda

This delectable sweet dish, Lord Jagannath’s favourite, is traditionally prepared for festivals and requires several hours of cooking. 

Rasabali

Rasabali, a delectable dessert hailing from the Oriya cuisine and commonly savoured in Puri, features farmer’s cheese that has been deep-fried to a rich, reddish hue.

Sara papudi

One of the divine dishes served at the Shree Jagannath Puri Temple is called Sara papudi. Sara papudi is a dessert that is renowned for its melt-in-the-mouth texture and is typically made using thick creams. In Odia, “sara” means “cream,” which is where the dish gets its name. This dessert is also available for purchase at the local markets of Puri.

Must buy items in Puri

Incredible and mysterious facts about Puri Jagannath Mandir

Puri Heritage Corridor/Shree Mandir Parikrama Prakalpa

With an air of anticipation and joy, Chief Minister Naveen Pattnaik graced the inauguration of the “Srimandira Parikrama Prakalpa” on January 17, 2024. The commencement of this grand endeavour was marked by a Maha Jagyan. This Jagyan commenced on Makar Sankranti Day and reached its zenith with Gajapati Dibyasingha Deba’s offering of the Purna Ahuti.

The Jagannath Temple heritage corridor project, valued at Rs 800 crore, is set to unveil spacious and unobstructed corridors encircling the temple’s outer walls. This will thereby enrich the visual connection between devotees and the revered 12th-century shrine. Beyond its aesthetic enhancements, this initiative promises to furnish pilgrims with essential amenities while fortifying safety and security measures for both the temple and its devout visitors. 

This project is a crucial part of a bigger plan that involves a transformational effort costing more than Rs 4,000 crore, with the objective of making Puri a world-renowned historic city.

Amenities & Facilities within the Heritage Corridor:

Puri Mandir Parikrama Prakalpa
Puri Heritage Corridor

How to Reach Puri

Travel to Puri by Bus

By Road

Bhubaneswar to Puri distance is approximately 60 kilometres along the national highway. People can access Puri from major and minor cities conveniently through scheduled bus services. For example, if you plan a trip from Kolkata to Puri, you can do so by road! There are a lot of buses from Kolkata to Puri. The distance between Puri & Kolkata by bus is roughly 515 kilometres.

Travel by Train

By Train

Puri serves as a railway terminus on the East Coast Railway. Direct express and superfast train services are from various destinations such as New Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Okha, Ahmedabad, Tirupati, and others to Puri. Several significant trains include Kolkata (Howrah), Puri Howrah Express, Jagannath Express, Purushottam Express, and others.

In addition, there are special trains available if you want to schedule your travel during Rath Yatra. These trains allow people to reserve their seats with less time to the big occasion. We recommend that you monitor the announcement for updates.

Howrah to Puri Vande Bharat Express

The 22895/22896 Vande Bharat Express will shorten your trip from Kolkata to Jagannath Dham Puri by over seven hours, covering the 500 km between Howrah and Puri in only 6.5 hours. 

This express will operate on six of the seven days of the week, except for Thursdays. A ticket on the Vande Bharat Express from Howrah to Puri in an air-conditioned chair car costs Rs 1,265. In contrast, an executive chair car ticket costs Rs 2,130. The 22895 Vande Bharat train will depart Howrah at 6.10 am and reach Puri at 12.35 pm. In the return direction, the 22896 Vande Bharat will depart Puri at 1.50 pm and arrive at Howrah at 8.30 pm.

Travel by plane

By Air

The nearest airport to Jagannath Puri is in Bhubaneswar, which is around 50 to 60 km away. Passengers can procure a taxi or intercity bus service from the airport to Puri.

Local Transport available in Puri

Local transport in Puri

There are many transport options from the railway station, bus stop, or vehicle stand of Puri to Jagannath Mandir, including cycle-rickshaws, auto-rickshaws, city buses (popularly called Mo Bus) and rented motorbikes. When it comes to affordable transportation, cycle rickshaws are a top choice. Temple buses are also plying up and down between the vehicle stand and Mandira.

What all are allowed into Puri Mandir? Where to keep your belongings

  • The Temple has a strict policy that only individuals of the Hindu faith can enter and do the Jagannath darshan Puri.
  • If you require police assistance, kindly contact the Temple Outpost at Lion’s Gate.
  • Additionally, visitors cannot bring personal belongings such as mobile phones, shoes, cameras, leather articles, umbrellas, radios, intoxicants, arms, and ammunition inside the temple premises.
  • It is important to note that visitors also cannot bring outside food materials into the Temple.
  • People cannot smoke within the Temple premises, under any circumstances.
  • It is important to maintain the cleanliness and sanctity of the Temple premises by refraining from any activities that may cause pollution or damage. Additionally, visitors cannot touch any idols or deities inside the Temple as a sign of respect and reverence.
  • There is a convenient facility where individuals may securely deposit their belongings for safekeeping near the primary entrance.

Temples to Visit near by Puri

Ramchandi Templa Puri

Ramachandi Temple

One of the most notable temples of Puri is the Ramchandi Temple, situated near Ramchandi Beach. Apart from the temple, this is also one of the popular tourist places in Puri. The distance between Puri and Maa Ramchandi temple is approx 38 km.

Loknath Temple Puri

Lokanath Temple

The Lokanath Temple is a revered 11th-century temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. It is one of the five renowned temples in Puri that are devoted to the deity. The distance between Puri and Lokanath temple is approx 1.7 km.

Vimala Temple

The Vimala Temple is located in the southern region of the inner ring of the Jagannath Temple. It is positioned on the western corner of the Jagannath Tower and is adjacent to the revered Rohini Kunda pond.

Gundicha Temple Puri

Gundicha Temple

The Gundicha Temple is a renowned mandir located approximately 2.6 km from the Shree Jagannath Puri temple. This is the place where Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra, and Goddess Subhadra take up their annual residence in separate chariots during the Car Festival or Rathyatra.

Alarnath Mandir Puri

Alarnath Mandir

The deity Lord Vishnu is revered as Alarnath and is depicted with four hands holding a conch shell, disc, club, and lotus in the Lord Alarnath temple situated in Brahmagiri, approximately 25 kilometres from Puri.

Markandeshwar temple Puri

Markandeshwar Temple

The Markandeshwar temple is located at a distance of approx 700 m from Jagannath temple, is among the top five most notable Puri tour places and is also recognised as one of the 52 sacred sites for the worship of Lord Shiva.

Mausima Temple Puri

Mausima Temple

The sacred town of Puri, situated in the heart of Grand Road, approx 2.1 km from Puri Jagannath Mandir, is home to a revered temple dedicated to Mausi Maa. This temple is believed to be associated with the maternal aunt of Lord Jagannath’s mother.

Sakshi Gopal Temple Puri

Sakshi Gopal Temple

The temple is dedicated to worshipping Lord Krishna, Radha, the beloved companion of Lord Krishna in Hindu mythology, is positioned to his left. The temple is approx 18.5 km away from the Jagannath Temple, Puri.

Astachandi Temple Puri

Astachandi Temple

The Astachandi Temple, situated at the entrance of Puri Town in Kumbharpada.  Situated midway between Bhubaneshwar and Puri, the temple can be found on the right-hand side of Atharnala Bridge in Puri.

Golden Triangle of Odisha

The Golden Triangle of Odisha, comprising Puri, Konark, and Bhubaneswar, is a highly sought-after family holiday destination that caters to the diverse interests of all members.

The distance from Bhubaneswar to Puri and vice versa is approx 60 km. The distance from Puri to Konark and vice versa is approx 33 km.

The Golden Triangle boasts a rich historical heritage, stunning temple architecture, vibrant living temples, golden sand beaches, and breathtaking natural scenery. These are just a few highlights that make this destination a must-visit for travellers seeking a truly unforgettable experience.

Undoubtedly, Odisha is considered one of the finest family holiday destinations.

Golden Triangle of Odisha

Summary

Puri boasts a plethora of attractions that cater to both family vacationers and spiritual seekers. From breathtaking pilgrimage sites to scenic spots, this charming city has no shortage of places to explore. The city has many ancient temples, stunning beaches, significant historical sites, and charming cultural villages and towns. Puri offers a distinctive blend of spiritual and tourist attractions.

So the next time you want to go for a vacation, visit Puri and soak in all the goodness & spirituality that the city offers!

Till then, Jay Jagannath 

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About the Author

Saswata Subhadarsini
Senior Content Editor

A voracious reader and enthusiastic writer, I have a knack for concocting a plethora of creative write-ups. I'm a trend-savvy researcher, always on the hunt for inspiration to create unique and captivating content. I fancy myself a genre chameleon, flitting from intellectually stimulating pieces to captivating works of fiction. Whenever not weaving my thoughts into words, I indulge in my love of painting, cooking, dancing and some good old Netflix binge!

Saswata Subhadarsini

A voracious reader and enthusiastic writer, I have a knack for concocting a plethora of creative write-ups. I'm a trend-savvy researcher, always on the hunt for inspiration to create unique and captivating content. I fancy myself a genre chameleon, flitting from intellectually stimulating pieces to captivating works of fiction. Whenever not weaving my thoughts into words, I indulge in my love of painting, cooking, dancing and some good old Netflix binge!

2 thoughts on “Shree Jagannath Puri Temple – A Complete Visitor’s Guide

  • Very nicely described. Rich content , all sort of informations starting from mythology, spiritualism to logistics on lord Jagannath and Puri.Great work.

    Reply
  • Beautiful piece on the Lord Jagannath! Loved the lucid way of expressing used by the author.

    Reply

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