Puri Tourist Attractions
Puri needs no introduction; it is one of the four celebrated religious centers of India and the abode of Lord Jagannath.For Hindus, Puri is one of the holiest pilgrimage places in India. Religious life revolves around the Jagannath Temple, unfortunately it is closed to non-Hindus.Puri is also famous for its annual Ratha Yatra, or Car Festival. The deities Jagannath, Baladeva, and Subhadra, are brought out of the temple, and placed in a chariot procession.The long sandy beach in Puri is another popular attraction. The beach is wide and shadeless and offers spectacular views of colorful sunrises and sunsets. Bird and dolphin watching are other activities to enjoy. The beach offers seaside resorts and old charming hotels.Residents of Puri have rich traditions, which are very evident in their many festivals.
Jagannath Temple was built in the 12th C and dedicated to Jagannath, the Lord of the Universe. Wooden images of Jagannath, Balabhadra and Subhadra were installed in that temple.The temple is surrounded by two walls with a 58-meter high spire that is topped with a flag and wheel of Vishnu. The outer enclosure is called "Meghanada Prachira" and the inner wall is called "Kurmabedha". The eastern entrance, or Lion Gate, is guarded by two stone lions and is used as the passageway for the chariot procession known as Rath Yatra. The three other gates - north, south, and west are called the Horse Gate, Tiger Gate and the Elephant Gate as statues of men on horses, tigers and elephants guard them.Jagannath Temple is one of the tallest monuments in India and presents an imposing sight in Puri.The temple of Lord Jagannath at Puri is one of the most sacred pilgrimage spots in India. The temple employs 6,000 men to perform the required rituals to care for the gods. The temple is said to have the largest kitchen in the world with 400 cooks feeding thousands of devotees each day.Within the temple are four halls - the main temple where Lord Jagannath is worshipped with Balabhadra, Subhadra and Sudarshan; the audience hall, dance hall and offering hall.Non-Hindus can not visit but may view the temple from the roof of the Raghunandan Library.
The Rath Yatra is one of India's greatest annual events! It takes place in June or July in Puri and across Orissa. The Rath Yatra festival originated in the city of Puri based around the worship of Lord Jagannath and the ancient temple.The deities Jagannath, Baladeva and Subhadra are worshipped within the temple, but on this one day the legndary procession takes to the streets so that every resident has the opportunity to encounter them. This commemorates the annual journey of Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra and their sister Subhadra to their aunt' s temple - Gundicha. The gods remain at Gundicha Temple for seven days and then the procession is repeated.This massive celebration has thousands dancing in front of the deities as they proceed through the streets. The Car Festival as it is also known involves 4,000 temple employees pulling the cars. After the festival, the cars are broken up and used for firewood in the temple kitchen or for funeral pyre fires.