Pilgrimage Tours - Abode of Lord Jagannath Puri

Puri is the holiest place in Orissa and one of the biggest pilgrimage centres in India situated on the shoreline of the Bay of Bengal. Here, the city's activities generally revolve around the Jagannath Temple where devotees visit from far and near. The town is divided into two - the old town the main residential area. Most nights, the beaches host colorful markets and the city is abuzz with life. Until recently, almost the entire temple was covered in white plaster, so much so that European sailors in previous centuries used it as a navigation point, referring to it as the "White Pagoda" .

 

Pilgrimage Attractions of Puri

 

Puri Jagannath Temple
The temple of Lord Jagannath ('Lord of the Universe') at Puri is one of the most sacred pilgrimage spots in India, one of the four abodes (dhamas) of the divine that lie on the four directions of the compass. The present temple structure was built in the twelfth century by the Ganga king, Chodagangadeva, replacing an earlier structure which probably dated to the tenth century.

 

Long before one reaches Puri, the 214 feet (65 meters) spire of the temple can be seen towering over the countryside. This visual dominance is symbolic of the influence which the temple commands over almost every aspect of life in Puri. The huge temple compound, each side of which measures 650 feet (some 200 meters), is surmounted with a 20 foot (6 meters) wall. Within the compound is a city, or, more accurately, a universe unto itself. With 6000 direct temple servitors, a temple kitchen which feeds 10,000 people daily (and some 25,000 on festival days), and a central deity who has become the focus of religious life throughout Orissa, the Jagannath temple is truly an institution unique in the world.

 

Gundicha Mandir (Temple)
This temple is located at the end of Grad road (the main road) about 3-km northeast of the Jagannatha temple . At the time of the 'Ratha-Yatra' festival , Lord Jagannatha goes to the Gundicha temple and stays there for one week. After one week He returns to His original temple. It is said that the wife of 'Indradyumna', the king who originally established the temple of Jagannatha, was known as "Gundicha". The cleansing of the Gundicha temple takes place the day before the Ratha-Yatra festival as mentioned in "Chaitanya-Caritamrita". Non-Hindus can walk within the walls and see the beautiful garden, but they are not allowed in the temple building.

 

Satyabadi (Sakshigopal)
The shrine of Lord Sakshigopal is only 20 kms away from Puri. the sacred feet of Shri Radha can however be only seen on 'Anala nawami' day.

 

Rath Yatra
Rath Yatra, PuriSymbolically, the Rath Yatra (chariot festival) is a journey to light from the dark and begins on the second day of the bright fortnight in the month of Asad (June-July). It commemorates the journey of Krishna from Gokul to Mtahura. This festival is celebrated at Puri with great pomp and ceremony. In this religious journey, Jagannath, Subhadra and Balbhadra are taken out in procession in three raths (chariots). The main rath is 43 ft high, 33 ft wide and has 16 wheels. The ropes of the chariots are pulled by millions of devotees.

 

Nava Kalebara
Held once in every 12 to 19 years according to lunar calander, on this religious ritual, the idols change their external forms. New idols are carved out of specially sanctified trees.

 

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