Fast Facts :
Situation : At the distance of 60 kms from Bhubaneshwar in Orissa
Residing Deity : Lord Jagannatha
Other Attractions : Puri Beach, Gundicha Mandir, Lord Jagannatha
Importance : For Hindus it is the one among the four holiest spots
On the Bay of Bengal’s coast is located at the distance of 60 kms from Bhubaneshwar, is the sanctified city Puri. This place is also in the list of the Char Dhams of India which are namely Dwarka, Puri, Badrinath, and Rameswaram. The belief of the people in India says that without paying your visit to Puri, the pilgrimage to the temples in India is incomplete. Puri is also very popular as “Martya Vaikuntha” or “Sri Purusottama Ksetra” this is also considered as the residence of Lord Vishnu on world. The other denotations given to this place are Nalagiri, Sankha Kshetra, Nilachal and Jagannath Dhama. Puri covers the distance of 4 kms in length and the width of 2 kms.
Here you can have a look at the chief temples of India that is the Jagannath Temple, Lord Jagannath is being workshipped here since the primitive times, before this temple there were several temples of the Lord. Puri was visited by Sri Ramanujan in 1107 to 1117 Century AD, and he settled here for some period. In the 2nd half of the 12th century, Vushnu Swami paid his visit to Puri; here he constructed a Matha nearby Markandeswar Tank which is well known as Vishnuswami Matha. The pilgrimage to this place was made by Srila Prabhupada in the month of January in 1977 and by Nimbarka Acharya too. For the “Gaudiya Vaishnavas" Puri is the very vital place, due the reason that much time of Lord Chaitanya is splurged at this place. In different parts of this region you can find his cherished associates and his pursuits. One of the major rules of this place is that there is no entrance for non Hindus.
Puri also has one of the striking beaches of India apart from being a pilgrimage center. Being a very pleasant place many foreign tourist makes their visit to this place.
Drawing Cards :
Gundicha Mandir :
Gundicha Mandir is positioned at the extreme finishing part of the main road at the distance of 3 kms to the north eastern side of the temple of Jagannath. There is one festival called 'Ratha-Yatra' festival when the Lord Jagannath stays for a week’s time in the temple of Gundicha. This temple is named after the wife Gundicha, of the establisher of the temple King Indradyumna. The temple is cleansed on the day before of the Ratha-Yatra festival as it has its mention within "Chaitanya-Caritamrita". Non Hindus are not allowed in the building of the temple but they can have a glimpse at the stunning gardens and striking walls.
Lord Jagannatha Temple :
This temple is being considered has one of the mostr scared spots of pilgrimage and also has a mention in the Char Dhamas that encompasses in four directions. Choda Ganga Deva the king of Ganga has restructured the recent structure of the temple in the 12th century. This temple was used as the navigation point by the Europeans as the complete temple was covered with white plaster until now, they also referred this has “White Pagoda” in disparity to “Black Pagoda” that has its location in Konark.
This place is located on covering the distance of 14 kms as of Puri, this place is well known as the village of craftsman’s which is famous for Patta Chitra or paintings of Patta. The themes of these paintaings is drawn through the mythology of Ramayana, Mahabharata, Lord Jagannath and Radha Krishna this is also looked upon as a tradition by this experienced craftsman. These paintings can be availed through bargaining easily.
At the distance of 8 kms from Puri, surrounded by stunning casuarina trees Balighai is the place free from the crowd and flurry of the cities. Here is the beach of Balighai near Nuanai River which is picnic spot and awesome place to relax.
Saksi Gopala Temple :
This is the temple which has its dedication to the Saksi Gopala. The original place of this shrine was in Vrindavan. This temple was being visited by Srila Prabhupada and Sri Chaitanya. The Srila Prabhupada has some western disciples but then too they follow the rule of not allowing non Hindus in the temple. This temple is at the distance of 10 kms from the temple of Jagannath.
Ratha - Yatra Festival :
The deities of Lady Subhadra, Baladeva and Lord Jagannath at the time of the festival is transported out of the temple. To carry such huge idols of the Lord there is needed as a minimum of strongly built priests called Pujaris. Three gargantuan chariots are required to place the deities, these chariots are then pulled by all the devotees who come here for this occasion through ropes. This festival marks it beginning from the 2nd day of Asadha which comes in June/July. All the deities make a stay at the temple of Gundicha temple for nine days. The 10th day is called as the “Bahuda-Yatra” on this day all the deities get back on their original temples. This is the only time when the non Hindus can have a glimpse of the idols of Lord Jagannath.
Snana - Yatra :
This is the festival when all the chief deities are taken for a bath. This is taken place on the occasion of ‘Jyestha Purnima'. The chief Deities beside with 'Sudarsana' are wreaked to the 'Snana-Mandapa' in a motorcade called "Pahandi", and just about mid-day the deities are water with 108 pots. After going back to the temple through the pageant the deities have privateness for 15 days as it is believed that the deities catch cold after the bathing ceremonial so in order to recover, seclusion is necessary.
Chandana - Yatra :
This festival is celebrated in the month of April, on this festival the processional deities are out on the boat ride at Narendra Tank and after done with this the idols are bathed with scented water and sandal wood. The duration of this festival is of 42 days and in that the first 21 days are known as "Baha Chandana". At the time of these days Krishna, Rama, Lakshmi, Madana Mohana and Saraswati are out for a ride on boat. "Bhittara Chandana" is carried out in the temple these are the festival’s last twenty one days.
Anavasara Festival :
The word Anavasara came out when Sri Jagannathaji was not being seen around the temple. He was moved to his clandestine apartment at the time of his recuperation and period of recovery and there he is offered healing food. It is the belief of the people that during this festival Lord Jagannath is down with from fever, and for curing this he is offered fruit juices and soups in form of drugs. Before two week of the festival the body of Lord Jagannath is repainted that is called as Anga-Raga, this part of the process of renovation is called Navayauvana, this gives an indication that the deity of Jagannath is restructured to youth. Nava-Kalevara is celebrated when the Lord is bestowed with new body and it is celebrated when double Asarha takes place in the year. Usually, this happens is every 11, 8 or 19 years.