Puri Information

Puri, the abode of Lord Vishnu, as Jagannath (Lord of the universe) is regarded by Hindus as one of the four holiest pilgrim centres or “char dhams”.  Adi Shankaracharya, the 8th century sage and religious reformer established the Gobardhan matha (monastery) here.  Puri is also known for its fine beach.

Puri is considered one of the four holiest places in India, home to magnificent 15thcentury Sri Jagannath Temple, where pilgrims throng to be absolved of past sins by the Lord of the Universe. But given that this is off-limits to non-Hindus, the real highlight lies farther up the coast, in the mellow town of Konark, site of the legendary 13th-century Sun Temple.

Locatioon

Puri, the abode of Lord jagannath, is situated in the eastern part of Orissa, and is one of the four holy dhams of Hinduism.  Puri is also called 'Sri Purusottama Dham" or "Martya Vaikuntha", the abode of Lord Vishnu on earth.  It is located at a distance of 60km. from the state capital, Bhubaneswar.

Climate

Puri has typical tropical climate with pleasant winters, hot and humid summers and heavy rainfalls.  The best time to visit this place is therefore from October to April.

History

The kings of the Ganga dynasty consolidated the religious and political importance of Puri in the beginning of the 12th century.  In 1135, Anantavarman Chodaganga founded the great temple in Puri, and dedicated in to Purushottama, one of the thousand names of Vishnu, the Preserver in the Hindu Trinity.  The Gajapati rulers changed the town's name to Jagannath in the fifteenth century.  Puri remained a temple town, a holy place till the British realized its potential as a seaside resort.  Since then, Puri has developed into a pilgrimage cum holiday destination with the Rath Yatra, the annual festival at the Jagannath Temple still the main draw.

Lord Jagannath Temple

The temple of Lord jaganath was built during the 12th century AD by Chodaganga Deva in the typical Kalinga style of architecture.  The 65 metres high temple dominates the landscape visually as well as spiritually and is one of the most magnificent monuments of India.  In front of the main gate stands a 16 sided monolithic pillar known as Aruna Stambha, which was brought here from Sun Temple, Konark during the 18th century.  Other shrines worth visiting in the temple precincts are devoted to Vimala, Vishnu and Lakshmi. The 65m high temple structure always makes its presence felt.  The 12th century temple was built by Chodaganga to commemorate the shifting of his capital from south to central Orissa. A 20-foot high wall within which several smaller shines are located surrounds the temple. Ananda Bazar, the biggest food market in the world is another attraction. However, for non-Hindus, the best view of this mighty Kalinga temple is from the balcony of Raghunandan Library, across the street. From here, you not only get a glimpse of the tremendously active temple life, but you’ll be privy to the colorful activity around the souvenir stalls that spread around the temple in every direction. From this viewing point, both the size of the temple and the sheer numbers of swarming people are impressive; the temple buildings themselves are filthy with mildew. Incidentally, you will find images of Lord Jagannath and his siblings everywhere in this part of India. Pitch-black with squat physiques and exaggerated features, they could well have been inspiration for the animation technique used by the creators of South Park: The crude, flat-featured, raccoon-eyed faces have thin red curling grins.

Sun Temple

Visualized as the gigantic chariot of Surya, the sun god, emerging from the ocean, the Sun Temple at Konark was built (though not completed) at the zenith of Orissan architectural development, at the edge of a 483km (300-mile) beach. Guarded by stone elephants and mythical lions, the immense structure was carved from rock so as to look like an enormous war chariot (originally drawn by seven galloping horses), with detailed sculpted scenes of everyday facets of life. Even the spokes of the 24 giant wheels that adorn the base of the temple are intricately carved. The temple was at some point submerged by sand; when the ocean retreated just over a century ago, the temple that had been lost to the world was uncovered and excavated by the British. The entire complex is surrounded by a periphery wall. To first get an idea of the enormity of the project, circumnavigate the temple by slowly skirting this outer wall. The sanctum has collapsed inward, so it is no longer possible to enter the temple building, but you can clamber over most of the exterior for close-up views of the various scenes of love and war, trade and commerce, sports and mythical figures. Among the friezes are those depicting amorous dalliances between entwined couples—these provide stiff competition for the world-renowned sculpted erotica at Khajuraho—including spokes with miniature examples of the erotic carvings found all over the rest of the temple. The earlier you arrive, the better your chances of enjoying this World Heritage Site in peace. Definitely avoid visiting the temple on the weekend, when day-tripping local visitors swarm to Konark as part of a high-paced pilgrimage around Orissa’s golden circuit. If you’re here during the first week of December, you may be able to catch the 5-day Konark Dance Festival , which offers performances by some of the country’s most sought-after dancers. The monument forms a remarkable backdrop to traditional dance styles accompanied by music played on classical Indian instruments.

Gundicha Mandir

Gundicha Mandir is one of the temples closely related to the festivity of the Rath yatra of Puri.  Legend has it that God resides in this holy place for seven days during the festival. This small sanctum is said to be the birthplace of Lord jagannath.  During the Rath Yatra, the deities form the main Jagannath Temple is brought for a sojourn of one week to this shrine.

Beach Festival

Celebrated in the later part of March or early April, the Beach Festival showcases the best of Orissa's folk and classical dance forms, music and handicrafts.  Quite popular among the tourists, it is the best place to witness the cultural riches of the entire state of one place.

Sakshi Gopal

Located on the outskirts of Puri, Sakshi Gopal is the place where a life-size image of child Krishna is being built.  According to ancient scriptures, Lord Krishna came to this place as a witness to clear out a dispute of two Brahmas.  It was constructed during the 13th century.

Golden Beach

It is one of the finest beaches of the country.  On ‘Kartik Purnima’, the full moon day in the Hindu month of Kartik (October / November), devotees gather here in the early morning to take a holy dip.  The five day Beach Festival is celebrated here in the month of February.

Puri Tour Information

Puri is a city in the East Indian state of Orissa.  The city is famous for its Jagannath temple, which was built in the late eleventh century.  Puri is one of the oldest cities in the eastern part of the country.  It is situated on the coast of Bay of Bengal, and is a popular beach resort.

Balighai(8km)

This Casuarina fringed beautiful beach is a popular picnic spot.

Brahmagiri (25km)

It is famous for the living shrine of Alarnath.

Satyabadi (20km)

A visit to the shrine of Lord Sakshigopal here is considered a must for devotees coming to Puri.

Baliharachandi (27km)

The temple of Baliharachandi (Durga) lies atop a sandy hill near the sea, adjacent to the mouth of the river Bhargavi. The scenic beauty of this place is ideal for group picnic.

Chilika Lake

Chilika is Asia's largest freshwater lake spread over an area of 110 sq. km. Chilika is home to a rich variety of aquatic fauna. Dolphins could be spotted in the lake and an abundance of migratory birds come to the lake in winter.  The lake is located few kilometers away from Puri.

Festivals

Rath Yatra

Puri is famous for its Rath Yatra festival held once a year.  In June-July every year, Lord Jagannath's legendary return to his kingdom on earth is the occasion for the famousRath Yatra at Puri.The spectacular Rath Yatra or the Chariot Festival is held every year in June / July.  The wooden idols of Lord Jagannath along with his sister Subhadra and brother Balabhadra are taken out in three gigantic chariots, borne on 16 enormous wheels for an annual vacation to Gundicha Mandir. The gaily decked chariots are pulled by millions of devotees and this colourful spectacle of pomp and pageantry provides a truly Indian experience.  The inexorable progress of the massive chariots has given the term “Jugernaut” to the English language.

Nava Kalebara

An immensely significant religious local ritual, this festival marks the time to change the external forms or the statues of the three temple deities, Lord Jagannath, Balabhadra and Subhadra.

Puri Distance Guide

Puri to Balangir 356 Km
Puri to Bhawani Patna 432 Km
Puri to Baripada 347 Km
Puri to Baleshwar 292 Km
Puri to Chhatrapur 179 Km
Puri to Cuttack 97 Km
Puri to Dhenkanal 132 Km
Puri to Koraput 500 Km
Puri to Kendujhargarh 294 Km
Puri to Konark 32 Km
Puri to Bhubaneswar 52 Km
Puri to Paradwip 175 Km
Puri to Phulbani 245 Km
Puri to Raurkela 372 Km
Puri to Sambalpur 342 Km
Puri to Sundargarh 421 Km