Puri Jagannath Temple

Description of the Diety

Lord Shri Jagannath :
Lord Shri Jagannath, is the symbol of universal love and brotherhood is worshipped in this Temple along with Lord Balabhadra,( Balarama) Goddess Subhadra, Lord Sudarshana, Lord Madhava, Goddess Sridevi and Goddess Bhudevi on the Ratnabedi or the be jeweled citadel.

Associated Dieties

  1. Balabhadra
  2. Subhadra
  3. Sudarshan
  4. Madhaba
  5. Sridevi and Bhudevi

Historical information

This Temple Belongs to11th century enjoying the honor of being one of the 'char dhams', pilgrimage which every Hindu intends to visit; Jagannath Temple has the honor of Puri and Odisha (Orissa). The holy sight of Lord Jagannath, accompanied by Goddess Subhadra and Lord Balabhadra provides abundance of joy among the devotees. The two gods and the goddess of this temple are ornamented in accordance with the occasion and seasonal changes. The structural design of this temple can be found as a pyramid shape.

The Jagannath Temple of Puri has latent legend associated with it. It is believed that in Krita Yuga, the actual image of the lord had the power of granting 'moksha' to anyone who witnessed it. Lord Yama raja didn't find this as justice. Hence he decided to hide this idol of Lord in some distant and unknown corner of this earth. However, as Dwapara Yuga arrived, the idol which is worshipped today in Jagannath Puri was installed by Lord Vishnu with the help of wooden logs. Whereas it would not make any difference in the Lord’s power in spite of having the hands lacking in Deity of Lord Jagannath.

Jagannath Temple in Odisha (Orissa) consists of four entrance gates. They are named as Singhadwara, Ashwadwara, Hathidwara and Vyaghradwara and these names refer to lion, horse, elephant and tiger. Each day, the Lord at the Jagannath Temple is offered Chappan 'bhoga' (Prasad) six times and it is dispensed among the worshippers close to Ratnavedi. It is estimated that One Lakh Devotees have this Prasad every day at this place. This Temple is also known as Bhoga Vishnu and it is mandatory for devotees to have food here in the premises of This Temple.

Architecture :
The architecture of this temple follows pattern of many Orissa temples of classical period. The main shikhara or the tower rises above the inner sanctum where the deities reside. Subsidiary shikhara rise above ante-halls. The temple complex is surrounded by wall, on each side of which there are Gopuram or gate, over which rises pyramid-shaped roof. Being the largest temple in this state, it has massive complex covering several square blocks with dozens of structures including the mammoth kitchen.

The main temple structure of this architectural and cultural wonder is 65m (214 feet) high and is built on elevated ground, creation to look more imposing. Comprising an area of 10.7 acres, this temple complex is enclosed by two rectangular walls. The outer enclosure is called Meghanada Prachira, 200m (665 ft.) by 192m (640 ft.). The inner wall is called Kurmabedha, 126m (420 ft.) by 95m (315 ft.). There are thirty-six traditional communities (Chatisha Niyaga) who render specific hereditary service to the deities. The temple has as many as 6,000 priests.

There is a wheel on top of the Jagannath Temple made of an alloy of eight metals (asta-dhatu). It is called the Nila Chakra (Blue Wheel), and is 3.5m (11 ft. 8 in) high with circumference of 11m (36 ft.). Every day, new or different flag is tied to the mast attached to Nila Chakra. Every Ekadasi, lamp is lit on top of the temple near the wheel. There are four gates: the eastern Singhadwara (Lion Gate), the southern Ashwadwara (Horse Gate), the western Vyaghradwara (Tiger Gate), and the northern Hathidwara (Elephant Gate). There is carving of each form by entrance of each gate. The Lion Gate, which is the main gate, is located on Main Grand Road. Thirty different smaller temples surround the main temple. The Narasimha Temple, adjacent to the western side of the Mukti-Mandapam, is said to have been constructed before this temple.

Significance Of Diety

Puri is synonymous with Lord Jagannath and vice versa. For more than century past, historians, foreign and Indians scientists have been trying to' unveil the mystery of the three deities namely, lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra and Goddess Subhadra worshipped in this Puri temple. However success they have achieved is almost negligible. In View traditional authorities strongly believe that Lord Jagannath perhaps is as old as our human civilization. The antiquity of Lord Jagannath is so much shrouded in mystery which may take many more years for scholars/scientists to arrive at any definite conclusion. There are number old works in Sanskrit singing the glories of Odisha in general and Puri Jaganathji in particular. A passage is frequently quoted from Rigveda which is explained in well-known commentary of Sayana demonstrate that history of Lord Jagannath dates back to age of origin of Rigveda .

The Puranas (Voluminous works in Sanskrit containing accounts of ancient Indian history, culture, mythology, philosophy, religion, etc.) present elaborate accounts pertaining to origin of Lord Jagannath in an atmosphere of mystery and divine inspiration. Prominent among Puranas are the Skanda Purana, Brahma Purana and Narada Purana. Even in Ramayana and epic Mahabharata, there are references to the Shreene of Jagannath. The Pandavas of Mahabharata are believed to have visited this place and offered worship to Lord Jagannath; some scholars believe that even Jesus Christ and Mohammed, the founders of Christianity and Islam respectively have also visited Puri. However historians express that such view are yet to be established.

Historically speaking antiquity of Lord Jagannath can be assumed as second century B.C.when Kharavela was then emperor of Kalinga (the ancient name of Odisha). This mentions as one Jinasana in the historic Hatigumpha inscription of the emperor on the top of Udayagiri hills near Bhubaneswar and though it clearly speaks of a Jaina deity, it is often identified with Lord Jagannath. But reliable materials in historical indications which are available from the 9th century A.D. when Saint Sri Adi Shankaracharya visited Puri and founded t Goverdhan Matha as eastern dharma of India.

The place where each one of the four Mathas has been established by Saint Sri Adi Shankara is known by the celebrated name of dharma which literally means sacred place. Puri is the dharma of eastern India. It is the traditional belief that as a Hindu One should visit these four dharma’s at least once in his lifetime , prevailing practice is that, after visiting the other three of these dharma’s, one must visit Puri dharma. The records maintained by Pandas in the Puri temple contain reliable materials to show that for centuries past, people from entire of India have been visiting Puri in course of their lifetime pilgrimage.

The main temple in Puri is surrounded by about 30 temples, which are small and big in size. They were established at different periods of history by different people. Even to, this day, pilgrims are generally advised by the Pandas to visit and offer worship in almost all of these temples before they are taken to the Lord Jagamohana or the porch to see the presiding deities in the sanctum sanctorum.

Lord Jagannath is not the only deity worshipped in the temple, though it is known as Lord 'Jagannath Temple’. Along with Lord Jagannath, two others namely, Lord Balabhadra and Goddess Subhadra are also worshipped here. These three, constitute basic and fundamental Trinity and are considered to be the forms and manifestations of the Omni-present, omniscient and Omni-potent supreme power. Lord Sudarsan who is supposed to be the fourth important divine manifestation who is also worshipped with the celebrated trio and these four are known as the Chaturthi moorthies or the four-fold divine Idols .Besides, Lord Madhava, replica of Lord Jagannath, Goddess Sridevi and Goddess Bhudevi are also installed in the sanctum sanctorum and worshipped.

Shtala Purama

According to the legend, Indrayumna, the king of Malava in SatYuga, there was a great devotee of Lord Vishnu. Once the king dreamt of Nilamadhava Vishnu and was curious to know where this particular form of Lord was worshipped. Therefore, he sent his emissaries in four directions of this world to find this.

Brahmin Vidyapati was sent to the east. He came to Uthkala and entered Savara village where he took shelter in the house of the Savara King Vishvavasu. Lalitha, king's daughter, fell in love with Vidyapati and the latter was married to her in order to extract information about Nilamadhava.

Vishvavasu used to go to the forest every morning to worship Nilamadhava installed in Niakandara (Blue cave). Vidyapati thus coaxed his wife to request her father to allow him to see Nilamadhava. Vishvavasu agreed only on the condition that Vidyapati will be taken to the temple and brought back from there with blindfold.

On hearing this Vidyapati went to his wife and asked her to make such an arrangement that he may subsequently know the path. Lalitha provided him with some sesame seeds to be scattered on the path of the road he followed so that he might know the path when sesame plants grew up during the rains.

Accordingly, Vidyapati was taken to Niakandara where he saw Nilamadhava. Later, when VasuSavara offered food to the deity, he did not take it as usual to the king's dismay. At this divine voice was heard it said, "We would no longer continue to be worshipped by you. Oh! Vasu, we will change the present Nilamadhava form and assume Daru form. We shall be worshipped in the temple by Raja Indrayumna".

The king came back from the blue cave with very heavy heart losing his deity. Vidyapati too bade farewell to his wife and father-in-law and started for Malava. Having heard this story, King Indrayumna started with his retinue for Uthkala to see Nilamadhava. On reaching Nilakandara, he found it vacant. But voice heard from the air told him to construct temple on Nilasaila (Blue Mountain).

Hearing this, the king ordered the construction to begin. On completion of this temple, the king went to Brahmaloka to invite Lord Brahma to consecrate the temple. However Lord Brahma being in meditation, he had to wait for nine Yugas. The temple thus was buried in sand in his absence.

In the meantime, new dynasty came to rule at Utkala. Galamadhva, king of that dynasty, detected the buried temple. He was considering installing idols in the temple when Indrayumna with Lord Brahma appeared before him. Both the kings had tussle over the ownership of this temple. However, Lord Brahma decided in favor of Indrayumna and asked him to install deities in the temple.

Now, the king was at loss as to where to find the deities from. Whereas god appeared in his dream informing him that he would be floating in the sea in the form of log of wood. Then Sage Narada assured king Indrayumna that Lord Vishnu would appear to him in the temple in the form of three wooden images.

When a big tree radiant with light was seen floating in the sea, Sage Narada told the king to make three idols out of it and place them in pavilion. Indradyumna requested Viswakarma, the architect of Gods, to build a magnificent temple to house these idols and Lord Vishnu himself appeared in the guise of carpenter to carve these idols on condition that he should be left undisturbed until he finished the work. Whereas after two weeks, the Queen became very anxious. She assumed that the carpenter to be dead as no sound was heard from the temple. Therefore she requested the king to open the door. Thus they opened the Door to see Lord Vishnu at work at which was disturbing the Lord Vishnu in his work hence he abandoned his work leaving the idols unfinished. But divine voice informed King Indradyumna to install them in this temple as per Condition of Carving in Wood.

The three idols represent the god Jagannath, his elder brother, Lord Balabhadra and their sister, goddess Subhadra. The wooden idols being worshipped are renewed during special occasions. These wooden idols prepared from log of wood floating on the ocean finds reference in the Rigveda, where it is referred to as Lord Purushothama.


The greatest attraction to Puri is the world famous temple of Lord Jagannath. It is known by many, names, viz., the Puri temple, the Srimandira, the Bada Deu or simply Lord Jagannath temple. The temple of Lord Jagannath is one of the tallest monuments in the entire Sub-continent of India and its height is at 214 feet from the ground (road) level. It stands on 'raised platform of stone, measuring about ten acres. It. is located in heart of this town and presents an imposing sight. This temple is bound by two compound walls, the outer one known as Meghanada Prachira & the inner one known as Kurma Prachira. The present temple was built in 12th century A.D. The temple structure is full of excellent carvings and lovely pieces of sculpture and is fine specimen of Kalinga style of architecture. It is now maintained by Archaeological Survey of India. Only orthodox Hindus are allowed to enter into the Temple. But the others can see portions of the enclosure from the top of Emar Matha building, located near the east facing gate of this temple.

The largest crowd in Puri is seen during the Car Festival of Lord Jagannath which takes place every year during June-July. Lord Jagannath of Puri is strikingly different from all other deities worshipped by in entire Hindu world, mainly for the reason that Lord Jagannath represents all the gods and goddesses known to the entire Hindu world, either directly or indirectly. He is considered to be the highest object of worship by the followers of all the religious cults who form within the purview of Hinduism. For example, whether he is Lord Shiva for Shaivite, Lord Ganapati for a Ganapatya, goddess Kalika for a Sakta and so on and so forth. This kind of integration of religious cults and creeds belonging to Hinduism is not seen anywhere else.

Lord Jagannath represents an integration of all important Hindu cultures which flourishes in India, namely, Vedic, Puranic, Tantric, Smarthas and Vaishnava’s, along with Jainism, Buddhism and that of the aboriginal tribes. The Vaishnava’s of all schools, i.e. Saint Ramanujam, Nimbarka, Chaitanya or Mlidhva Goudiya, Radha Vallabhl, Atibadi Odisi - all have great faith in Lord Jagannath. The Mahaprasada (the offerings to deities in this Puri temple) wonder of the Hindu world in as much as it is free from any kind of discrimination pertaining to any castes of India. Persons of all castes do partake Mahaprasada from the same plate without the least hesitation.as this is called Lord Vishnu Bhog where he has food offered known as CHAPPAN BHOG , it is customary to have food The main temple in Puri located on massive raised platform. Believed to be the base of small hill known as Nilagiri or Blue hill is surrounded by about 30 other temples dedicated to various gods and goddesses of the Hindu pantheon. The kitchen of the Puri temple evokes unique intriguing sense of wonder in any body from any parts of this world, which were to be informed about it. Within short notice of few hours, the temple can lavishly feed with first-class boiled rice & dishes of different tastes to thousands of people at time. It is perhaps the biggest kitchen in this world. Uniqueness is that the entire food cooked is on fire wood used from previous years RATH YATRA WOOD, also unique cooking is that series of Vessels of different sizes are placed one above the other in unison and the smallest vessel placed on the top, food is cooked first this is a scientific wonder un answered till today by the scientific world, remains unsolved mystery till date.

Since the days of first visit of Saint Sri Adi Shankaracharya who visited Puri perhaps in 810 A.D. and founded the Goverdhan Matha, Puri has gained special significance as one of the four dharma of India. It is the eastern dharma and one of the four Shankar Acharya’s of India stays here.It is believed that, there were 752 Mathas i.e., religious endowments, constituting institutions for the study and propagation of religious creeds in Puri. Only about dozen of them deserve mention.

The second great attraction to Puri is Bay of Bengal Sea beach acclaimed to be one of the best Sea beaches of the world. Numbers of beach complexes have developed on Sea Beaches at Puri & nearby. The sea at Puri is shallow and is therefore ideally suitable for bathing in Sea. However on particular days of the year care should be adhered to avoid entering beach against these waves. The nolias (fisherman of the sea) will always assist people in taking bath in the sea.
To enable thousands of people to take bath at time, there are four big sacred tanks in Puri. They are

  1. Indradyumna
  2. Narendra
  3. Markanda
  4. Shweta Ganga

The Narendra in particular is associated with the famous Chandana Yatra of Lord Jagannath Puri is an epitome of Indian philosophy, culture and religion known as Hinduism and a visit to this ancient city is always a rewarding and memorable experience.


Shree Jagannath Temple
Temple Road,
Puri, Odisha.
Pincode - 752001

Surrounding Places to Visit

Konark Temple , Lake Chilka SUN TEMPLE


Annual Uthsavas

Ratha Yatra :
The world famous Car Festival of Lord Jagannath is held on' Aashaadha Shukla Dwitiya'-or the 2nd day of the bright fort-night of Aashaadha (June- July) every year. This festival is popularly known as Ratha Yatra, Gundicha Yatra and also Ghosha Yatra. On the Car Festival day the deities are carried out of the temple and placed in their respective chariots, placed near the Singhadwara. The deities are carried to the chariots in traditional ceremonial manner-first Lord Sudarshana, followed by Lord Balabhadra, Goddess Subhadra and Lord Jagannath. Lord Balabhadra and Lord Jagannath are made to swing forward and backward in manner called 'Pahandi'.

The chariot of Lord Jagannath is known as Nandighosha. It has 16 (sixteen). Wheels and the color of the fabrics which cover the roof of this chariot are in red and yellow. The chariot of Lord Balabhadra is known as Taladhwaja. It has 14 (fourteen) wheels and the colours of the fabrics are red and green. Subhadra's chariot 'Devadalana' has 12 (twelve) wheels and fabrics are red and black. Lord Sudarshana is seated by the side of Goddess Subhadra in her chariot. Madan Mohan representative deity of Lord Jagannath sits in chariot of Lord Jagannath. So also two other small idols -Rama and Krishna adorn their seats in the chariot of Balabhadra. These small idols are made of metal. Thus actually seven deities namely Jagannath, Balabhadra, Subhadra, Sudarshana, Madan Mohan, Rama and Krishna are seated on three chariots and moved to temple known as 'Gundicha Ghar' which is at distance of about 3 kms from Lord Jagannath Temple. The chariot of Lord Balabhadra is dragged first, followed by those of Goddess Subhadra and that of Lord Jagannath.

On the first day if any chariot cannot reach the Gundicha Ghar, it is shifted onto the next day. On the ninth day i.e. the Return Car Festival day, the deities are returned back to the Singhadwara area of the Jagannath Temple. An important ritual performed, on the 5th day (starting from and including the day of Car Festival) is known as 'Hera Panchami', when goddess Laxmi proceeds to Gundicha Ghar to see Lord Jagannath. In the evening of the1Oth day (i.e. the 11th day of bright fortnight of Aashaadha) the deities are adorned with gold ornaments and dressed gorgeously in their respective chariots parked in the Simhadwar area. On the same day another ritual called 'Hari Sayana Ekadasi' is performed. On the following day i.e. the 12th day of the bright fortnight, important ceremony known as' Adharapana Bhog' is performed. A sweet drink is offered to the deities. On the evening of the following day, the deities are taken to the temple in traditional procession amidst gathering of thousands of devotees.

Monthly Rituals

  1. Chandana Yatra :
    This festival takes place in the month of Vaisakha and continues for 21 days. But technically speaking, it is festival for period of 42 days. The rites observed on the other 21 days are simple and less significant. In the first half period of 21 days, the representative images of the god are taken in procession to the famous tank called Narendra Pokhari. They are taken round in the tiny lake in beautifully decorated and illuminated boats twice each day. Thousands of people enjoy this festival with great delight.
  2. Snana Yatra :
    This festival takes place in the full moon day in the month of Jyeshta masa, popularly known as the Deva Snana Purnima. This is the first occasion in the course of year when the wooden images of the three principal deities of the Puri temple, are brought out of the sanctum sanctorum in procession and placed on the Snana Vidhis. (Described earlier) and are bathed with 108 pitchers of water. The usual daily rituals continue thereafter in the Snana Vidhis. On this occasion Lord Jagannath and Lord Balabhadra are dressed like Lord Ganesa with the head of an elephant. From the Deva Snana Purnima till the second day of bright Aashaadha, the deities are not to be seen on the 'Ratnavedi' in the sanctum. They are worshipped secretly. Preparations for the Car Festival would be in progress and the deities would be seen only for few hours before they are taken out of the temple to participate in the Car Festival.
  3. Shayanam Ekadasi :
    This festival takes place in the month of Aashaadha, when the deities are still in their chariots in the Lions Gate after the Return Car Festival. On this occasion, the idols of Lord Vasudeva, Goddess Bhuvneshwari and Lord Narayana are taken to the chariots. After completion of rites performed there, these idols are taken to the 'chamber of slumber' for enjoying complete rest for four months.
  4. Dakshinayana Sankranti :
    This festival takes place on this day of Karkataka Sankranti. Special rites are performed on. This occasion.
  5. Parsava Parivartana Ekadasi :
    This festival takes place in the month of Bhadra. The deities enjoying sleep change sides on this day.
  6. Deva Utthapanna Ekadasi :
    This festival takes place in the month of Kartika. On this day the deities rise from their sleep. Besides, it is very sacred day for the Hindus. Parvana Shashti: This festival takes place in the month of Margashira. This is locally known as Odhana Shashti. The deities are covered with thick cloths till the month of Magha.
  7. Dola Yatra :
    This festival takes place in the month of Phalguna. The representative Deities are taken in a procession to the dais called Dolavedi located outside the main temple and special rituals are performed.
  8. Damanaka Chaturdashi :
    This festival falls in the month of Chaitra. On this day, the deities pay visit to the celebrated garden of Lord Jagannath Vallabha Matha, where they pick up the tender leaves of the Dayana plant un-noticed by anybody and wear them.
  9. Makara Sankranti :
    This festival falls in the month of Pausa. The deities are specially dressed on this occasion. Boiled rice mixed with candy and the juice of some fruits is offered to the deities. This festival has some agricultural significance.
  10. Pushya Abhishek :
    This festival falls on the full moon day of the month of Pushya Masa and deities adorn with royal dress on this occasion
  11. Niladrimahodaya :
    This festival falls in the month of Vaishakha, when special rites are performed. Apart from these important festivals, there are about 50 more festivals which are observed with great enthusiasm in an atmosphere of profound religious fervor. Some of these are :
    • Jhulana Yatra - Swing festival for seven days.
    • Sola Puja - Special esoteric worship in the Vimala temple for sixteen days.
    • Rama Navami - Birth of Rama incarnation.
    • Kumara Purnima. Janmashtami - Birth of Krishna.
    • Krishna Lila - The exploits of Krishna.
    • Ganesa Chaturthi - Birth of Ganesa.
    • Radha-Ashtami - Birth of Radha.
    • Vamana Janma (or Sunia) - Birth of Vamana.
    • Ananta Chaturdashi - Birth of Anantha padmanabha.
    • Dwitiya Osa -This is specially observed in the temple of Lakshmi. In Odisha 'Osa' means religious fasting.
    • Dasara - Takes a way ten sins.
    • Navanna - Taking of new food.
    • Deepawali- Offering of lamps to forefathers.
    • Prathamashtami.
    • Vakula Amavasya.
    • Sri Panchami - Special worship of Sarasvati.
    • Shivaratri Sacred day for Lord Siva.
    • Asokastami.
    • Maha Vishuva Sankranti - Also known as Pana Sankranti in Odisha. Pana means sweet drink.
    • Nrusingha Janma -Birth of Nrusingha.
    • Sithala Sasthi - Marriage of Shiva.
    • Rukmini Harana Ekadasi - Marriage of Krishna
    • Details on these may be locally collected.