India is a country where you would find famous temples in every town. There are four Dhams – Badrinath, Dwarka, Rameswaram and Puri at the four ends of the country.
The eastern Dham is Shree Jagannath Temple which is located in the coastal district of Puri in Odisha. Lord Jagannath, fondly called as Bada Thakura, Kalia, Jaga in local tongue, is the presiding deity of Odisha. People of the state are very emotional about Lord Jagannath.
About Jagannath Temple
Shree Jagannath Temple commonly known as Srimandir is one of the most impressing monuments which was built by Ganga Dynasty king Ananta Varman Chodaganga Deva in 12th century at the seashore of Puri.
The main temple is built in such a way that the shadow does not fall anywhere at any time of the day. The ‘Rosha Ghara’ where prasad for Lord Jagannath is made is the biggest kitchen in the world. However, devotees are not allowed to enter the divine kitchen of the Holy Trinity.
The world-famous Rath Yatra of Lord Jagannath and his siblings Lord Balabhadra and Devi Subhadra is celebrated in the month of June-July. Millions of people across the globe gather in Puri to participate in the annual sojourn of the deities in which the trio visit to their aunt’s house. Before Ratha Yatra, Deba Snana Purnima of the Holy Trinity is held in which the deities take a ceremonial bath with 108 pitchers of sacred water.
Jagannath temple is also known as Bada Deula and Puri is locally called Shreekhetra.
What’s Special about Jagannath Temple
The uniqueness of Jagannath temple in Puri attracts devotees and tourists from all over the world. However, non-Hindu devotees are not allowed inside the temple. Rath Yatra is the only day when the Lord comes out of the sanctum sanctorum of temple to give darshan to the devotees. There is a devotional meaning of every uniqueness. Here are few of the unique features of Jagannath temple Puri:
- The Nila Chakra on top of Jagannath temple looks the same from every angle. This is made of 8 different types of metals.
- The flag on Nila Chakra flies against the course of wind. There is no scientific reason behind the same.
- This flag is changed every day by a priest of Jagannath temple. The priest without any protective gear climbs to the top of the temple.
- The sound of Puri beach wave is not audible inside the temple. You would hear it all around the temple but not inside it. According to mythology, it’s said Lord Jagannath’s sister Goddess Subhadra wanted peace and no sound of Puri beach waves.
- The height of the temple is regarded deeply and no building in the surrounding has more height than Jagannath temple. No bird is seen flying near the temple dome.
- The giant kitchen inside the temple can feed lakhs of people on a single day. It’s said Lord Vishnu himself comes to Puri Jagannath temple to taste the Mahaprasad which consists of 56 items, known as Chhapan Bhog. Not a single bite of food goes waste at Bada Deula.
- The Prasad is cooked on seven earthen pots placed on the top of one another. The strange thing is the top most pot cooks first.
As the temple narratives say, Bada Deula was built in 12th century by Anangabhima Deva II of Ganga dynasty. However, the copper plate inscription suggests King Anantavarman Chodaganga the father of Anangabhima Deva II. The subsequent reigns have developed the temple and preserved it under the purview of the Government of Odisha.
Jagannath Temple in Puri is built like any other temple in Odisha but the architectural marvel outlaws scientific facts in a many ways.
Three deities in wooden idols are placed on Ratna Singhasana (huge throne).
There are four gates to enter Jagannath Temple, such as Singhadwara in East (Lion Gate), Ashwadwara in the south (Horse Gate), Vyagrahadwara in the west (Tiger Gate), Hastidwara in the North (Elephant Gate). However, devotees are now allowed to enter through Singhadwara and it is the main gate.
How to Reach
Puri is well connected with every big city via airways, railways and roadways.
Via Air: Nearest Airport is Biju Patnaik International Airport.
Via Train: Puri Railway station is just 3 kms from the temple. Once you get down at Puri Railway station take a cab or autorickshaw to Puri Bada Danda.
Via Road: Taxi, bus services are available. Buses from major cities will directly drop you near the Temple.
There is no entry fee but a closer view of three deities will cost you nominal. The temple opens at 5 am and closes at 11 pm everyday. The rituals are performed throughout the day.
As it’s a renowned temple in Odisha, devotees visit in lakhs and to accommodate them, there are good number of hotels and Dharamshalas in Puri. The price will vary, as per the luxury you want. It ranges between Rs 500- Rs 40,000 per day.
Puri is also known for its food. Mahaprasad of Lord Jagannath called Abadha is available for Rs 70- Rs 120. Ukhuda, a sweet served to the lord, is also sold at the temple.
Visiting Puri is incomplete if you could not taste its local cuisine. Chingudi Malai, Chhenapoda, Pitha, Malpua, Rasabali, Dalma and Khaja are some of the local dishes you should try in Puri.
Nearby Places to Visit
You will also like exploring the nearby getaways in Puri. Konark Temple and Konark Beach, Puri Beach known as Golden Beach, Satapada and Chilika Lake are some of the nearby attractions to visit.
- You won’t have any issue visiting Jagannath temple any time of the year but planning a trip in between December and February would be a pleasant experience as the weather is cooler and less humid at that time.
- Phones are not allowed inside the temple. You can’t take photos in the temple premises and you must deposit your phone outside.
The Eastern Dham of India witnesses millions of devotees during Rath Yatra. Lord Vishnu and Lord Krishna in the incarnation of Lord Jagannath blesses devotees. Lord Jagannath promotes peace, harmony and tolerance in the universe. So, take some time out from your busy schedule and list Puri Jagannath Temple in your next travel journey.
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