Puri's Jagannath Mandir is one of four holy pilgrimage sites in the Char Dham abodes, which are immensely significant to Hindus. This majestic temple is dedicated to Jagannath, the Lord of the Universe, who is Lord Vishu himself. Puri is located on the shore of the Bay of Bengal and is a very popular tourist destination for people in Orissa and West Bengal. This magnificent temple is the residence of Lord Jagannath, a manifestation of Lord Vishnu. Aside from the main shrine, which stands tall, various lesser temples inside the complex will make you feel as if you have entered God's abode.
The history of the Jagannath Puri Temple is an intriguing narrative. A monarch called Viswavasu secretly worshipped Lord Jagannath as Lord Neela Madhaba in a wilderness. King Indradyumna wanted to learn more about the god, so he dispatched Vidyapati, a Brahmin priest, to Viswavasu. Vidyapati's efforts to locate the location were futile. But he fell in love with and married Viswavasu's daughter, Lalita. Then, at Vidyapati's request, Viswavasu blindfolded his son-in-law and led him to the cave where he worshipped Lord Jagannath.
Vidyapati the wise scattered mustard seeds on the ground on the way. Following this, King Indradyumna led Odisha to the Deity. The idol, however, was not present. Despite his disappointment, he was keen to view Lord Jagannath's idol. A sudden voice instructed him to build a temple atop Nilasaila. Following that, the monarch directed his servants to construct a magnificent temple for Vishnu. Later, the monarch called Brahma to dedicate the temple. Brahma, on the other hand, was in meditation for nine years. By then, the temple had been buried beneath the sand. The king was concerned when, while sleeping, he heard a voice instructing him to find a floating log of a tree on the seashore and carve statues out of it.
As a result, the monarch had another splendid temple erected and put figures of Lord Jagannath, Balabhadra, and Subhadra fashioned of the miraculous tree's wood.
The worldwide known Odisha temple is spread across 400,000 square feet, with a 20-foot-high wall and a 192-foot-tall tower. It stands on an elevated stone platform that spans 10 acres. The four massive rooms, Bhogmandapa (offerings hall), Nata-mandir (dancing and music hall), Jagamohana, and Deul, tell volumes about the amazing architecture of the time. Aside from that, Jagannath temple has four major gateways in all four directions. Interestingly, each of these four gates has a distinct name, such as Lions Gate, Tiger Gate, Horse Gate, and Elephant Gate. The main gate, located on Grand Road, is the Lion Gate. There are several shrines inside the temple complex. There is also a wheel on top of the temple known as the Nila Chakra or Blue Wheel. It is composed of various metals, and a new flag is hoisted on the chakra every day.
The temple is open throughout the year from 5.30 AM to 10 PM. Ideal time to visit the temple is early in the morning or in the evening.
The various Timings are:
Morning Darshan: 5:00 AM – 1:00 PM
Afternoon Break (Temple closed): 1:00 PM – 4:00 PM
Evening Darshan: 4:00 PM – 11:30 PM
Prasadam: 11:00 AM – 1:00 PM
Mangala Aarti: 5:00 AM – 6:00 AM
Mailam: 6:00 AM – 6:30 AM
Sahanamela: 7:00 AM – 8:00 AM
Sandhya Dhupa: 7:00 PM – 8:00 PM
There is no entry fee for the temple. You cannot take electronic gadgets into the temple, which need to be deposited outside the temple.
You are advised to wear simple and traditional clothes while visiting the temple.
How to Reach:
It is very easy to reach the Puri Jagannath Temple. It located at the heart of Puri town.
The google map link is here .
By Road: The temple is well connected with Bhubaneshwar which is 50 km away. Buses operate from major cities like Kolkata, Bhubaneshwar, Vizag etc.
By Train: It is located 3 Km away from Puri Railway station.Puri has trains from major stations like Kolkata and Bhubaneshwar.
By Air: Closest airport is in Bhubaneshwar. Bhubaneshwar is well connected to all major airports of India.
Some Major Festivals:
1. Puri Rath Yatra:
The departure of Lord Jagannath from the temple residence is the most important event of the year. This is in contrast to all other temples, where only tiny reproductions of the deities, known as Utsava Murtis, are removed. The god rides through the city on a magnificently made and ornamented rath, giving darshan to pilgrims and inhabitants. All three idols of Jagannath, Balabhadra, and Subhadra are transported in massive chariots called raths from Puri's main thoroughfare, Bada Danda, to the Gundicha Temple. They are then returned to the Jagannath Temple after nine days. The return yatra, known as Bahuda Yatra, is undertaken in the same manner as the Rath Yatra. Thousands of people converge for a glimpse of the lords. It's a stunning sight to see all of the deities decked out in vivid colours.
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2. Makara Sankranti:
This celebration takes place throughout the month of Pausa. The deities are given unique outfits. The deities are given boiled rice combined with candies and fruit liquids. This event is important in agriculture.
3. Snana Yatra:
On the full moon day, the deities are bathed in this event. They are led out of the temple in a procession to the Snana Bedi. This festival is held in May or June.
4. Chandan Jatra
Puri's Chandan Jatra is a trip across Narendra Pond. Every day for 21 days, Mahalakshmi and Bhudevi are led by replacements of Sri Jagannath, Rama Krishna, Lakshmi, Saraswati, and five Shivas in special palanquins to the Narendra Pond for a ceremonial sunset sail. The idols at the Chandan Mandap within the pool are engaged in water sports in specially prepared vats of sandal paste water.
5. Niladri Bije
The most intriguing rite of Puri's Jagannath Rath Yatra appears to be Niladri Bije. 'Niladri' refers to Lord Jagannath, while 'Bije' signifies to enter. This is quite intriguing since it is the continuation of the battle between Lord Jagannath and Goddess Laxmi. The Trinity would be served 'Rasagola' bhog on the chariots before entering the temple. The annual Rath Yatra of the deities will come to a close with Niladri Bije (homecoming of the deities), and the deities will offer darshan to worshippers at the main temple.