Guide to Lord Jagannath Temple in Puri, Odisha

Lord Jagannath Temple in Puri, Odisha is one of the holy and important pilgrimages visited by tourists from each nook and corner of the world. Referred to as one of the Char Dhams as per Hinduism sect and considered as being extremely auspicious for Hindus to come over and get blessings of the deity, the other 3 Dhams are Dwarka, Badrinath and Rameshwaram. If you are visiting it for the very first time, then you will definitely feel that the huge complex is an astounding cum magnificent spot to be into. Though, only Hindus are allowed to enter in the temple.

History of the Temple:

Lord Jagannath Temple is been constructed way back in 12th century. Started by the famous Kalinga ruler Anantavarman Chodaganga Dev, it was later completed by the King Ananga Bhima Deva. The temple is home to main three deities, Lord Jagannath, his sister Subhadra and his elder brother Balabhadra. Each one of their wooden idols is present in the temple and sitting on a throne. The idol of Balabhadra is six feet tall, of Lord Jagannath it is five feet tall, and of Subhadra it is four feet tall. Lord Jagannath, also been well known as the Lord of the Universe, is known to be a form of both Lord Krishna and Lord Vishnu. He is the prime and directing deity of Odisha and is worshipped in most of the households throughout the state. Lord Jagannath worship boosts communal harmony, tolerance and peace. Considering the Char Dham, it is believed that Lord Vishnu used to dine at Puri, bathe at Rameshwaram, get sanctified at Dwarka, and meditate at Badrinath. This is the reason that high priority is given to food at this temple in Puri. In fact, as a form of Mahaprasad, Lord Jagannath gives his devotees to eat 56 items that are served to him, as a way of spiritual revival and advancement.

Features of the temple:

There is an 11 metre high towering pillar at the temple’s main gate, also known as Aruna Stambha representing the charioteer of the Sun God. The inner courtyard of the temple could be reached by climbing 22 steps from the main gate and there are about 30 smaller temples around the main temple, and it is believed to visit all of them before visiting the deities of the main temple. Though, if people have less time than they can visit the most important deities in the main temple, along with smaller temples around including Vimala temple, Ganesha temple, Laxmi temple and so. Other interesting feature is that the temple is built in a large 10 acre complex, along with an ancient banyan tree, the kitchen where the Mahaprasad is cooked and it is known to be among the world’s largest kitchen and Anand Bazar where Mahaprasad is sold to all devotees daily in between 3 PM to 5 PM. The kitchen makes enough food that is needed to feed to over 100,000 people every day. Over 20 different rituals are held at the temple on daily basis starting from 5 in the morning till midnight. The rituals reflect everything that is carried out in a day to day routine including brushing teeth, bathing, eating, and getting dressed and so. There is a tradition that is been going on from more than 800 years, which cover the changing of flags tied to the temple’s Neela Chakra during sunset in between 6 PM to 7 PM. The old flags are sold to very lucky few devotees.

How to Visit the temple:

Except cycle rickshaws, any other vehicle is not allowed nearby the temple complex. People need to walk from the car parking and the temple has four entry gates. Entrance is absolutely free of cost. Guides could always be found and are around the temple complex every time and will ask for showing the complex around in about Rs. 200. To enter the inner sanctum and get blessing of the deities, there are two ways to do the same.

•  Do attend the public darshan that is held in the morning daily for an hour usually in between 7 AM to 8 AM, also been known as Sahana Mela after the Abakash Puja referring to the brushing of God’s teeth and bathing routine.
•  From inside the temple complex, buy a Parimanik Darshan ticket that will cost about Rs. 50 and viewers can go in at specific times of the day and covers activities like Mangal Aarti, Sandhay Aarti, Abakash Puja, Chandan Lagi. The timings for the same are 5 AM, 8 AM, 10 AM, 1 PM and 8 PM and make sure to reach 30 minutes prior to buy tickets.
•  Otherwise, people can see the temple and deities from a distance.
•  There is also a provision to view the temple’s kitchen and the ticket costs about Rs. 5 each.
•  Do come with a couple of hours in order to fully explore the temple complex.

Things to make sure while visiting the temple:

•  Try to get early if possible at the temple, like by 5:30 in the morning.
•  Do understand that no belongings are allowed to carry along inside the temple including shoes, cell phones, socks, cameras, leather items and so. At the main entrance, there are facilities available where you can deposit the items for security.

The Famous Rath Yatra Festival:

Every year, once in June or July, the idols are taken outside of the temple and that is what this Rath Yatra festival is all about. Reckoned to be the most iconic and splendid festivals of Odisha, tourists and believers from all corners come to Puri just to get a glimpse of the deities and see the huge arrangement and celebration of this festival. The festival is held for 10 days and during the period, Gods are transported around on towering chariots that symbolize and resemble like temples. The chariot construction is indeed in itself is a detailed and intense process, thus it starts from the January or February month of the year.

Wish to visit the Lord Jagannnath temple in Puri and get the blessing of the divine deity? Let Best Choice Holiday tour organizer, be the one arranging your itinerary this time and do the desired arrangements as per the expectations and wishes so that you can remember it for lifetime.