Jagannath Temple

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Jagannath Temple


Jagannath Temple located in Puri, Orissa is one of the most famous temples of Lord Vishnu in India. The temple was established in the 11th century, and is dedicated to Lord Jagannath, the Lord of the Universe.The temple is a very important pilgrimage destination for Hindus, especially for Lord Vishnu and Lord Krishna devotees.

Jagannath Temple is a part of the Char Dham pilgrimage, Ramesvaram, Badrinath, Puri and Dwarka.It was built by the Ganga dynasty King Anantavarman Chodaganga Deva. The central area called the Ratnadevi, in the temple holds the idols of the three main deities of the temple, Jagannath, Balabhadra and Subhadra in the inner chamber. The idols of Madanmohan, Sridevi, Vishwadharti and the Sudarshan Chakra are also placed in the Ratnadevi. The idols are made out of Daru Brahma, the sacred Neem wood.

It is believed that the construction of the temple was originally started by the Kalinga ruler, Anantavarman Chodaganga Dev (1078 to 1148 A.D). But the Jagannath Temple, how it stands today massive and compelling, was reconstructed by Oriya ruler Ananga Bhima Deva in 1174 A.D. The temple has four entrances facing east, west, north and south, known as Lions Gate, Elephant Gate, Horse Gate and Tiger Gate. The main platform in the centre of the temple is nearly 420000 square feet.

Legend has it that Lord Jagannath was originally called Lord Neela Madhav and was worshipped by a Savar King named Viswasu. King Indradyumna after hearing of the diety, sent off his Brahmin priests in search of the deity, to the dense forest where Viswasu worshipped the Lord. Vidyati, the Brahmin priest, on failing to locate the deity, finally managed to marry Viswasu’s daughter, Lalita. On Vidyati’s constant requests to see the deity, Viswasu took him to through the forest blind-folded to a cave where he worshipped Lord Neela Madhav. Vidyati dropped mustard seeds all through the way which later grew and made it easy for Vidyati to track the cave. When the king heard of this, he immediately proceeded to the cave to worship the deity, and on arriving he found the deity had disappeared. He was disheartened and decided he would not leave the cave until he worships the deity, and went on a fast unto death. He performed animal sacrifice and built a temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu, later in his dream he had a vision of Lord Jagannath, and heard a voice asking him to build idols out of a fragrant tree near the sea. The king had visions of other deities later on and had idols built of all of them.

The most important festival held at Jagannath Temple is the annual Rath Yatra or the Chariot festival, held in June, when the three idols, Jagannath, Subhdra and Balabhadra are paraded on huge chariots from the Jagannath Temple through the Grand Puri Avenue or the Bada Danda to the Gundicha Temple. Other important festivals celebrated every year are Jhulan Yatra, in monsoons and Dol Yatra in spring.

Best time to visit

The Jagannath Temple can be visited all around the year, but the best time climate wise is between October and March. However there are several festivals held at the temple during various season, the most famous one being the Rath Yatra in June. If you want to see the processions of this world renowned festival, June will be a great time to visit the Jagannath Temple.


The Jagannath Temple, Puri has the largest kitchen of the world, and has about 400 cooks, 200 hearths and feeds over 10000 people everyday.

The original idol of Lord Jagannath was in the form of Blue Sapphire or Indranila, and was requested to be hidden because of its brightness and color by deity Dharma.

It was observed that during the Rath Yatra, many devotees came under the wheel of the chariot, either willingly or unwillingly. This gave rise to the famous term Juggernaut, which means immense, destructive, uncontrolled power or entity.

Jagannath literally mean Lord of the Universe. “Jagat” means Universe and Nath means “Lord of” in Sanskrit.


The temple opens at 5:00 am every morning and remains open till midnight. The temple gates close for half an hour around 1:00 pm every afternoon.

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