Puri is a coastal city and a municipality in the Puri district of Odisha, India. It is one of the four sites in India’s Char Dham pilgrimage and is also part of India’s Chota Char Dham pilgrimage circuit. It is dedicated to Lord Jagannath, who is worshipped here as the lord of the universe. The city is located on the Bay of Bengal, 60 km (37 mi) south of the state capital of Bhubaneswar. The city lies on the site of the ancient kingdom of Kalinga, which was conquered by Ashoka in the 3rd century BCE.
Location of Puri Temple
The Puri temple is about 500 km (310 mi) from Kolkata city, which is well connected by flights, trains and buses from various cities in India. The temple can also be reached by road from nearby towns such as Bhubaneswar, Cuttack and Konark. The temple is located on the Grand Road, which is a wide avenue that connects the temple with the Puri beach. The temple offers a splendid view of the sea and the sand.
Timing of Puri Temple
The Puri temple is open for darshan (viewing) from 5:00 am to 11:00 pm every day. The temple has six aartis (rituals) daily: at 5:00 am, 8:00 am, 11:00 am, 6:00 pm, 8:00 pm and 11:00 pm. The temple also has a special aarti called Mangala Aarti, which is performed at 5:00 am using lamps and incense. This aarti is considered to be very sacred and auspicious, as it symbolizes the awakening of Jagannath and his siblings Balabhadra (his brother) and Subhadra (his sister). The temple charges a nominal fee for entry and photography.
Rituals of Puri Temple
The Puri temple has various rituals and ceremonies that are performed by the priests and devotees throughout the year. Some of the main rituals are:
- Abhishek: This is the ritual of bathing the idols of Jagannath, Balabhadra and Subhadra with water, milk, honey, curd, ghee and other substances. This is done to express devotion and gratitude to Jagannath and to seek his blessings. Devotees can perform abhishek by themselves or by booking online through the temple website.
- Rath Yatra: This is the festival that commemorates the journey of Jagannath, Balabhadra and Subhadra from the Puri temple to the Gundicha temple, which is their aunt’s house. It falls on the second day of the bright fortnight in the month of Ashadha (June–July). On this day, a grand procession of chariots carrying the idols of Jagannath, Balabhadra and Subhadra is taken out from the Puri temple to the Gundicha temple. Devotees pull the chariots with ropes and chant slogans in praise of Jagannath.
- Snana Yatra: This is the festival that marks the birthday of Jagannath. It falls on the full moon day in the month of Jyeshtha (May–June). On this day, the idols of Jagannath, Balabhadra and Subhadra are taken out from the sanctum sanctorum and placed on a platform called Snana Mandap. They are then bathed with 108 pots of water by the priests. After this ritual, they are taken inside for a period of 15 days called Anavasara, during which they are said to fall ill due to excessive bathing. They are then given herbal treatment and new clothes.
Importance of Puri Temple
The Puri temple is considered one of the most important pilgrimage sites for Hindus, especially for Vaishnavites (followers of Vishnu). The temple has a long and rich history, with evidence of its existence dating back to more than 1,000 years. The temple has been visited and praised by many saints, poets and kings, such as Adi Shankaracharya, Ramanuja, Madhvacharya, Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Jayadeva Goswami and Akbar.
The Puri temple is believed to be the place where Vishnu manifests himself as Jagannath or “the lord of the universe”. The temple is also believed to be the place where Vishnu performed many miracles and leelas (divine acts) such as saving his devotee Prahlada from his father Hiranyakashipu, killing the demon king Ravana, lifting Govardhan hill, playing the flute and dancing with the gopis (cowherd girls). The temple is also believed to be the place where Vishnu revealed his divine form to Arjuna (his friend and disciple) on the eve of the Mahabharata war.
The Puri temple is a symbol of faith, power and devotion for millions of Hindus across the world. The temple attracts thousands of pilgrims and tourists every year, who come to seek the blessings of Jagannath and to witness the beauty and history of the temple.
Tourist Places in Puri Temple
There are many tourist places near Puri temple that can be explored by the visitors. Some of them are:
- Puri Beach: This is a beach that lies along the Bay of Bengal, about 2 km (1.2 mi) from the Puri temple. It is one of the most popular beaches in Odisha, known for its golden sand, blue water and scenic views. It is also a place where many cultural and religious events are held, such as sand art festival, beach festival and rath yatra. The beach is open 24 hours and has no entry fee.
- Konark Sun Temple: This is a temple dedicated to Surya or the sun god, located about 35 km (22 mi) from Puri. It is one of the most famous monuments in India, known for its exquisite architecture, intricate carvings and erotic sculptures. It was built in the 13th century by King Narasimhadeva I of the Eastern Ganga dynasty. It is designed as a huge chariot with 12 pairs of wheels and seven horses, symbolizing the movement of the sun across the sky. The temple is open from 6:00 am to 8:00 pm and has an entry fee of Rs 40 for Indians and Rs 600 for foreigners.
- Chilika Lake: This is a brackish water lagoon that lies about 50 km (31 mi) from Puri. It is the largest coastal lagoon in India and the second largest in the world. It is home to a rich biodiversity of flora and fauna, including many migratory birds, dolphins, turtles, crabs and fish. It is also a popular destination for boating, fishing and bird watching. The lake is open from 6:00 am to 6:00 pm and has no entry fee.
Significance of Puri Temple
The Puri temple has a great significance for Hindus, as it represents one of the aspects of Vishnu, the supreme god of Hinduism. Vishnu is known by many names and forms, such as Narayana (the lord of the universe), Rama (the ideal king), Krishna (the playful lover), Narasimha (the protector), Vamana (the dwarf), Matsya (the fish), Kurma (the tortoise), Varaha (the boar), and many more. Vishnu is also known as Jagannath or “the lord of the universe”.
Jagannath is the aspect of Vishnu that symbolizes universal love and compassion. He is the lord who loves his devotees unconditionally and accepts them as they are. He is the lord who protects and guides his devotees with his wisdom and compassion. He is the lord who bestows happiness and prosperity to his devotees, who worship him with love and devotion. He is the lord who rules over Puri, which is considered to be a city of peace and joy.
The Puri temple is dedicated to Vishnu as Jagannath, who is worshipped as the giver of universal love and compassion. The temple is also dedicated to Vishnu as Jyotirlinga, which means “the linga (symbol) of light”. A Jyotirlinga is a representation of Vishnu’s infinite power and presence, which can be seen and felt by his devotees. A Jyotirlinga is also a manifestation of Vishnu’s grace and compassion, which can heal and transform his devotees.
The Puri temple is one of the four sites in India’s Char Dham pilgrimage, which are considered to be the most sacred shrines of Hinduism. The other three sites are Badrinath (in Uttarakhand), Dwarka (in Gujarat) and Rameswaram (in Tamil Nadu). These four sites are believed to be the abodes of Vishnu in his four different forms: Badrinatha (the lord of Badri), Dwarkadhish (the lord of Dwarka), Rameshwara (the lord of Rama) and Jagannath (the lord of the universe). By visiting and worshipping these four sites, devotees can experience the various facets of Vishnu’s glory and bene
How to reach Puri temple?
The Puri temple can be reached by road, rail or air. The nearest airport is Bhubaneswar airport, which is about 60 km (37 mi) away from the temple. The nearest railway station is Puri railway station, which is about 2 km (1.2 mi) away from the temple. The temple can also be reached by road from nearby towns such as Bhubaneswar, Cuttack and Konark.
When is the best time to visit Puri temple?
The best time to visit Puri temple is from October to March, when the weather is pleasant and comfortable. The temple can also be visited during festivals such as Rath Yatra, Snana Yatra, Diwali and Holi, when the temple is decorated and celebrated with great fervor and enthusiasm.
What are the dress code and restrictions for Puri temple?
The dress code for Puri temple is modest and respectful. Men should wear dhoti or kurta-pyjama and women should wear saree or salwar-kameez. Shoes, leather items, cameras, mobile phones and other electronic devices are not allowed inside the temple. Non-Hindus are not allowed to enter the sanctum sanctorum of the temple. Devotees should maintain silence and cleanliness inside the temple premises.
The Puri temple is a sacred and scenic temple that showcases the power and devotion of Hinduism. The temple is a testimony of the faith and courage of the Hindus, who have preserved and maintained the temple despite several challenges and calamities. The temple is a source of inspiration and solace for millions of pilgrims and tourists, who come to seek the blessings of Jagannath and to witness the beauty and history of the temple. The Puri temple is not just a temple, but a living legend that embodies the spirit and essence of Hinduism.