Travelogue: PURI - The Home of Lord Jagannath by Atanu Kumar Ghosh

There are four Dhams, i.e., abodes of Gods, viz., Badrinath, Dwarka, Rameshwaram, and Puri. It is believed every Hindu should visit the above four Dhams to achieve Moksha during one’s lifetime. The great philosopher, Adi Shankaracharya, established the above four Dhams dating back to the 8th century CE.

Puri is among the four Dhams where Lord Jagannath is being worshiped as Purushottama form of Lord Vishnu. Puri is situated in the state of Odisha in India. The ancient name of the town was “Che-li-ta-lo” as mentioned by the famous Chinese pilgrim, Hiuen Tsang. In British records, it was also mentioned as “Pooree.”

The world-famous Jagannath temple was built by the King of the Ganga dynasty, Ananta Varman Chodaganga Deva in the 12th century CE at the seashore of Puri. The temple was completed by Anangabhima Deva in 1174 CE.

Jagannath means “Lord of the Universe.” He is considered an avatar (incarnation) of Lord Vishnu. The Gods — Jagannath, Balabhadra, and Goddess Subhadra are the main deities worshiped at the temple. Balabhadra is the elder brother, Balaram. Jagannath is the younger brother, Krishna. Subhadra is their youngest sister. They are seated on the Ratnabedi in the inner sanctum. Every 12 years, the wooden deities are replaced by the new one, and the day is observed as Nabakalebara which means new embodiment. The bodies of the deities are made from Neem tree logs known as Daru.

Lord Jagannath has no ears, no hands, and no feet as it is believed Jagannath is an offshoot of Param Brahma, who can move without feet, see without eyes, and could listen without ears also. 

The famous Rath-Yatra (Chariot festival) is held every year which is a 9-day festivity followed by rituals and traditions. It begins on Dwitiya Tithi (Holy time), the second day of the bright fortnight of Ashadha month, Shukla paksha and ends on Shukla paksha Dasami of Ashadha month. It is a 460 year old festival that is mentioned in the Brahma Purana, Skanda Purana, Padma Purana, and Kapila Samhita.

On this day, the deities meet their maternal aunt at Gundicha Temple where they stay for seven days. They travel by three separate chariots on the road pulled by thousands of devotees. Ulta Rath, popularly known as Bahuda Yatra, is the return journey of the Puri Jagannath Rath Yatra chariots from the Gundicha Temple on the eighth day.

  • Chariot of Lord Jagannath is known as Nandighosha
  • Chariot of Lord Balabhadra is known as Taladhwaja
  • Chariot of Goddess Subhadra is known as Dwarpadalana

Astonishing Mysteries:

There are certain mysteries surrounding Jagannath Temple which cannot be explained with logic.

  1. There is not a single shadow of the temple on the ground during the daytime on a sunny day.
  2. The cooking system of the Prasadam in the temple is another mystery. The priests use 7 pots kept on top of each other to cook the Prasadam. The wonder is that the topmost pot is prepared first followed by others.
  3. The flag on the top of the temple always flaps in the reverse direction of the breeze.
  4. Birds and aircraft do not fly over the temple.

PURI has now become a famous tourist spot in India where thousands of people visit every day to get the blessings of Lord Jagannath and also take a dip in the Bay of Bengal at the beach.


How to Reach:

Nearest Airport: Bhubaneshwar

Indian Railways: Puri is well connected with railways all over India

Roadways: Puri is well connected with Bhubaneshwar, the capital of Odisha on the East Coast of India.