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Holy Destinations of India

Jagannath Dham - Puri (Orrisa)

The holy city of Puri, 60 km from Bhubaneswar, is one of the four holiest points of pilgrimage for Hindus.

The reigning deity of the city, Lord Jagannath, whose temple was built way back in the 12th century, is not only of great religious significance to the people of Orissa but is revered by thousands of pilgrims who seek His blessings from every part of the country. This intense veneration of Jagannath, or the Lord of the Universe, reaches its zenith during the annual rites of the Rath Yatra in the months of June July, when the images of Lord Jagannath, His sister Subhadra and brother Balbhadra are transported through the Grand Road (Bada Danda) of Puri in traditionally decorated massive chariots that are dragged by thousands of devotees to the Gundicha Ghar where they sojourn for a week. The process is repeated when they are returned amidst intense religious fervor to the temple. Though the temple is closed to non-Hindus, the activities of the Jagannath Temple are so immense that they create enough colour and interest for tourists to participate in the bazar element of the proceedings outside the temple precincts. The other important feature of the town is its beautiful beach which, for centuries, has offered pleasure to both pilgrims and swimmers. This picturesque beach is one of the most delightful white beaches in the country and is becoming a pleasure haunt for tourists from all over the globe. Though the surf here is pretty exciting, the under-current can be a bit tricky, so tread carefully... The areas both within and outside Puri offer excellent shopping and the nearby artist villages of Pipli (for the famous appliqué work), Raghurajpur (for pata and palm-leaf paintings) and Balakati (for bell-metal work) bring shoppers directly in contact with the craftsmen at work. It can be quite an experience.

Photos of Jagannath Dham - Puri (Orrisa)

jagannath Temple - PuriPuri - Orrisa

 


HISTORY

The city is known by various names such as Nilanchala, Nilagiri, Niladri, Purusottama Kshetra, Srikshetra, Sankha-Kshetra, Jagannath Kshetra (Dhaam) and Pirisptta, Puri. These names have been mentioned in the Puranas and ancient sacred literature like Mahabharata, Kurma Purana, Narada Puran, Padma Puran and Skand Purana. Similarly, the other literary works like Rudrajamala, Tantrajamala, Kalika Purana etc., also refer to Purusottama Jagannath. It is the seat of Jagannath is worshipped as Lord Vishnu - the most benign among all the deities in the Hindu Pantheon. Puri is thus, the seat of Vishnu, the Purusottama Dhaam and Martya Vaikuntha again is the Home of Vishnu on earth, elaborately described in a literery work called Niladri Mohodaya. The historical evidebces are available with literery works as well as inscriptions and archaeological remains show that Puri has been the seat of Vishnu Kshetra since 9th century A.D., when Sankaracharya (78-820 A.D.) had paid a visit to Puri in the early part of the 9th Century A.D. and established one of his four Pithas here namely Gobardhan Pitha or Matha near Swargadwar. Anargharaghavam Nataka by Murari Mishra, a literery work of 9th century also records the deity of Purusottama Kshetra. Again, in 10th Century A.D., the Mahiar inscription mentioned that one Damodar had undertaken piligrimage to Purusottam Kshetra and drowned in the Sea-Mahodadhi. However, scholars agreed that the present temple of Lord Jagannath was initially started its construction by Somavamsi King Yayati. The Ganga King Ananta Varma Chodaganga Deva (1078-1150 A.D) towards 1147 A.D. rebuilt it with a massive tower and again Ananga Bhima Dev II (A.D. 1170 to 1194) 4th successor to Ganga throne also enhanced it. The Ganga dynasty ruled Orissa from 1078 to 1434 A.D. and made Puri a cultural centre. Puri was regarded a celebrated Pitha, and the saints and seers paid their visit to Puri. In course of time Saint Ramanuja (1056-1136 A.D.) the advocate of Visistadaita philosophy, saints like Nibark, Vishu Swami and Madhabacharya paid their visit to Puri and established their monasteries. The great poet Jaydev of Orissa in 12thy century, composed the famous work Gita-Govindam, dedicated to Lord Jagannath as Krishna - Madhava. In 13th century Narasimha Muni, a follower of Madhavacharya preached Vaisnavisim in Orissa and Puri became the centre of Vaisnavism under the patronage of the Ganga - Kings.




BEST TIME TO VISIT:
Barring the high temperatures in May and June, Puri is a year-round destination. The Puri Beach Festival in November welcomes the onset of winter, and till March and early April, Puri remains a pleasant place to visit.


 

WHERE TO STAY

    1.Puri Hotel,Sea Beach........223810,222744
    2.Hotel Hans Coco pams, Baliapanda......230952,230262,230038
    3.Pullin Puri,Sea Beach.........222360,229247
    4.Ocean View Hotel......223352
    5.Sagarika Hotel......224063
    6.Hotel Samudra,Sea Beach.......228654,222705
    7.Sterling Resort,Baliapanda.......230090,230391
    8.Victoria Hotel,Sea Beach.......222005,222583
    9.Hotel Milli,Chakratirtha Road.........
    10.Hotel Tourist Home Chakratirtha Road........223020,223330,224449
    11. Hotel Raj Chakratirtha Road........230767,231183
    12 Hotel Sea Hawk ,Chakratirtha  Road........223168
    13.Hotel Holiday Inn, Chakratirtha Road....223782,224363
    14. Hotel Golden Palace Beach.......223192,223534,228400  
    15. Hotel Sea View,Sea Beach......223417
    16.May Fair ,Sea Beach.........224041,224042
    17.Bijoy International,Sea Beach...........223705,222702
    18.Holiday Resort,C.T.Road........222440,223968,222172
    19.Sankar International,Chhakratirtha Road.........222696,223637
    20.Bay View Hotel,,Chhakra Tirtha Road.........
    21.Hotel Rupasa,Sea Beach........224073
    22.Hotel Sonali,Sea Beach.........226275,223545
    23.Hotel Lee Garden ,Chunguhaw,Subhash Bose Chhaka........223397,229986,223647
    24.Basanti Hotel Station Road.........
    25.Laxmi Hotel,Narendra kona........222337
    26.Sriram Hotel ,Medical Chhaka........222896,222897
    27.Paradise,Grand Road.......222278,223701
    28.Hotel Subhadra, Grand Road......223686,224570
    29.Birla Guest House,Grand Road......231311
    30.Hotel Love & Life,Chakratirtha Road........
    31.Hotel Park,Sea Beach.........222040,223366
    32.Swagatam Lodge,Narendra Kona..........225039
    33.Hotel Manisha,Kacheri Square........229190,229191
    34.Hotel Jagadish,Post Office Square.........229206
    35.Hotel Padma,Station Road........228081,228082,224515
    36.Gochhikar House,Sea Beach........
    37.Hotel Basu,Sea Beach.........228586
    38.Lodge Gopinath...........231467,227889
    39.Hotel Baby,Gopalballav Road......222923
    40.Hotel Rani, Swargadwara.......231427,231425
    41.Hotel Park Beach Resort,Sea Beach.........221166
    42.Hotel   Rupam, Balia  Panda......230650,231222     
                                                                         

CIRCUIT  HOUSE

Special Circuit House,Puri is situated near Sea Beach with three   massive buildings consisting of  37 rooms including 5 V.I.P. rooms.1st building is 100   years old ,2nd building was constructed during the year 1964 and the 3rd    building is newly constructed in the year 1996.V.I.P.s namely governor, Union Ministers ,Chief Ministers and Ministry of Chief Justice & other Justice of Orissa High Court and other states,Judges of Supreme Court,senior officers of central govt. and state govt. are staying here and other dignitories are also staying in the circuit house .They all are coming on official visit.State guests are also visiting state & sight seeing purpose.They all are visiting puri to see world famous temple of lord jagannath and world's best sea beach at puri and also visiting konark sun temple.Minimum facilities  are available at minimum price by the govt. of Revenue Dept. of Orissa. It is controlled by the Dist. Magistrate,puri(fax no._223939  ,   tel no._222033, circuit house no._222036).It is managed by the manager with 24 other staffs.

 

PLACES TO VISIT

Raghurajpur

The artists village of Raghurajpur, 16 km from Puri, is famous for its patachitras created by traditional chitrakaras, who have, for centuries, also churned out palm-leaf etchings with exquisite detail. Quite a few of the craftsmen are winners of national awards.

Satapara

Satapara, a retreat in nature on Chilika Lake, is opened up to the tourists. For its location near the confluence of the lake with the ocean and proximity to Puri (48 km), it is an ideal spot to enjoy Chilika. The thrilling sight of dolphins round the year and abundance of migratory and resident birds in winter make it a preferred place for a vacation with nature.

Choudwar

Choudwar, a growing industrial area was once the capital of Somakuli Keshari Kings of Orissa. Eight prominent Siva pithas were established by the Keshari dynasty in the vicinity of Choudwar which is now in ruins. Tradition records that it was the capital of Virat, the brother-in-law of Kichaka. The five Pandava brothers with their consort Draupadi took shelter in Choudwar in their secret exile.

Chhatia

Popularly known as Chhatiabata, Chhatia is a sacred place of pilgrimage. The shrine of Lord Jagannath at Chhatia is a modern piece of Orissan temple architecture. Nearby one can find the archaeological remains of Amravati-Kataka, one of the five important forts of Chodaganga Deva. Amaravati with the back drop of the hill "Dhania" presents an attractive sight.

Jajpur

Otherwise known as Vaitarani Tirtha, Jajpur with Goddess Viraja (Durga) as its presiding deity is one of the sacred places of pilgrimage in Orissa. The place has its unique importance in India as Navigaya Kshetra where pinda is offered for the satisfaction of the ancestors. The shrine of Sweta Varaha (the white boar incarnation of Vishnu) along with hundreds of other shrines here made Jajpur a Tirtha par excellence. The "Dasavamedha Ghat", the flight of steps leading to the Vaitarani where the ten horse sacrifices were performed is a great sanctified spot for the Hindus.

Ansupa

Ansupa the small but picturesque lake holds a prominent position in the tourist map of Orissa and offers an asylum to the migratory birds in winter. The play of the shadow of Saranda mountain and surrounding bamboo and mango groves on the rippling waters of Ansupa make it a real thing of beauty. One can have a boat journey or go for fishing in the lake.
Ansupa is 70 kms from Cuttack and 20 kms from Raja-athagarh station, connected with regular bus service.

Ratnagiri Lalitgiri Udayagir

These three hills comprise a remarkable buddhist complex. Hieun-T'sang, the Chinese pilgrim found it to be the seat of a flourishing Buddhist University called "Puspagiri". Extensive ruins of brick pagodas, sculptured stone portals and esoteric Buddhist images testifying its ancient glory have been unearthed. Ratnagiri is the gem of this complex. The magnificently carved door jambs of the Vihar and superbly finished Buddha images from perhaps the greatest concentration of Buddhist sculpture of the post-Gupta period. Ratnagiri is 70 kms, Lalitgiri is 55 kms and Udayagiri is 60 kms from Cuttack.

Dhavaleswar

A small island in the Mahanadi, the temple of Dhavaleswar is situated on a hillock. Though a new structure, sculptures of 10 / 11th century A.D. are found in the temple premises.

TEMPLES

It is the earliest Ganga monument of Orissa, but it must be noted that the ganga temples of much earlier dates are still to traced in the Andra regions, the original seat of power of Gangas. There is adefinite mention in all the later copper plate records of the successor of Chodaganga that he was the bulider of this great temple at Puri. According to some evidence sources that Chodaganga had began this huge structure and one his successor Ananagabhimadev III completed it or added the Jagamohan to it. The height of the Jagannath temple of Puri as calculated as 215 feet 8 inches. It is therefore the loftiest religious edifice of Orissa. At present the thick coat of plaster which had covered the structure for centuries has been removed.

As is usual in all great temples of the period, the monument stands on a high platform which is connected with the ground level by a height of 22 very very big steps. The edifies is masive and strong and is a product of accummulated experience of the past in temple architecture and this factor has enabled it to with stand the ravages of time.

Rath Yatra

Once every year, in the months of June-July the famous Rath Yatra or car festival is held at Puri. It celebrates Lord Jagannath’s legendary return to his kingdom on earth. The beach festival is celebrated in the later part of March or early April, and showcases the best of Orissa’s folk and classical dance forms, music and handicrafts. Nava Kalebara is a local festival of an immensely significant religious ritual, when the three temple deities Lord Jagannath, Balabhadra and Subhadra change their external forms. New idols are carved out of specially sanctified sandalwood trees, following certain regulations.



HOW TO REACH


The nearest airport is Bhubaneswar, 60 km.

Reaching Puri through Rail - Puri is a terminus on the East Coast Railway having direct express and super fast train links with New Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Okha, Ahmedabad, Tirupati etc. Some important trains are Kolkata (Howrah) Puri Howrah Express, Jagannath Express; New Delhi; Purushottam Express. Khurda Road Station, 44 km, from Puri is convenient rail head for train to Chennai and Western India.

The station is about one km North of the town. Cycle rickshaws and auto rickshaws compete aggressively to get you to a hotel.

Reaching Puri through Road - The bus stand near the Gundicha Temple provides connections to Bhubaneswar and Cuttack, service every 10-15 minutes. Minibuses to Konark leave every 20-30 minutes and also from Jatiababa Chhak. There are direct buses for Kolkata and Visakhapatnam.

For Getting around puri - cycle rickshaws are available all over town. Auto rickshaws are also available but every few in numbers. Bicycle, moped or a motorcycle can be hired easily from several outlets on the Chakratirtha (CT) Road for trips to the coast and to Konark. Most travel agents in the city provide this service.


FESTIVALS

DOLA YATRA

This is Celebrated from the tenth day of the bright fortnight of Falguna up to the full moon day. The representative deities Dologobinda, Bhudevi and Sreedevi are taken in a procession to Dolabedi located outside the outer compound wall of the main Temple and special rites are performed.

CHANDAN YATRA

This Takes place in the month of Vaisaksha and continues for long 42 days. But, generally speaking it is a Festival of first 21 days only.The first period of 21 days is known as "Bahar Chandan"or outer Chandan. During this period,the representative images of Rama,Krushna, Madanmohan,Sridevi and Bhudevi are taken in a procession to Narendra tank.The images of Siva from 5 Siva Temples known as "Pancha Pandavas" also accompany them to the Narendra tank, At Narendra tank the images play in well decorated boats and are worshipped. The second period of 21 days known as "Bhitar Chandana" is celebrated inside the Temple. The rites observed on this period are not popularly enjoyed.

SNANA YATRA

This Festival takes places in the month of Jestha. it is popularly known as the Deba Snana Purnima.This is the first occasion in the course of a year when the deities Jagannath, Balabhadra, Subhadra along with Sudarsan and Madanmohan are brought out from the Temple and taken in procession to Snana Bedi located in the North East corner of the outer compound.The deities are bathed there with 108 pitchers of water drawn from a well near the Northern Gate. Here,Jagannath and Balabhadra are dressed like Lord Ganesh of the Purans with the head of an elephant

RATHA YATRA (Chariot Festival)

The most splendid of the innumerable festivals celebrated round the year in the holy city of Puri , the Ratha Yatra is the grand culmination of a series of celebrations spread over the summer and the monsoon months. Akshaya Trutiya tithi marks the beginning of the construction of the Rathas (chariots) for the ceremonial journey and sojourn of Lord Jagannath, Balabhadra and Subhadra at the Gundicha Temple for a week. On the full-moon day of the month of Jyestha (May-June) in the Snana Yatra, the Bathing Festival,when the three deities move in colourful processions to a platform in the outer enclosure of the temple, the Snana Vedi, the bathing platform, where they bath with one hundred and eight pitchers of perfumed water drawn from a temple well once a year. After the ritual bath, the deities assume the special elephant form, recalling the legend of the Lord's affection for a devotee, whom He proved that he was in fact another manifestation of Lord Ganesha. At the end of the Snana Yatra day, the holy triad,supposedly afflicted with fever, do not return to their pedestal in the sanctum.they stay away from the public view for a period of fifteen days,called Anasara,after which they appear in their Navayauvana  Vesha,literally a renewed youth, on the new moon day of the Month of Ashadha.During this fortnight the icons get a fresh coat of painting which gets washed out on the day of the Bathing Festival. During this period the deities eat only fruits other restricted diet and soft drinks.Cloth paintings. representing the deities called Anasara Pati, are
displayed beyond the enclosures hiding the deities from the devotees to see and worship. Finally comes the Ratha Yatra on the second day of the bright fortnight of the month Of Ashadha, when the three deities come out of the temple in a specacular procession called Pahandi. The deities, which are colossal wooden statues, adorned with giant floral crowns, called Tahias, are literally pulled, pushed and dragged in rhythmic movement to the accompaniment of the beat of cymbals, drums and chanting of their names in chorus by devotees in frenzied ecstasy. After all the deities are seated in their respective chariots starts the Chhera Pamhara, the ritual of sweeping of the chariots with a golden broom by the Gajapati King of Puri,the foremost servant of God,the Adya sevaka of Lord Jagannath. The King comes from his palace on a richly decorated palanquin. Chhera Pamhara is a symbolic rite which proclaims that the King, like others, is but an humble servant of the real sovereign, Lord Jagannath. The most exciting part of the Rath yatra is the pulling of chariots by thousands of people who lay their hands on the sturdy ropes and drag the massive structures along the Bada-Danda,the grand road. The chariot of Balabhadra moves first, followed by those of Subhadra and Jagannath. The chariots grind forward slowly until they reach the Gundicha temple and the three deities rest for a night at the entrance on their own chariots. They enter the Gundicha temple on the next day in the usual Pahandi style and stay there for seven days.

Godess Laxmi,who gets angry for being left out at the temple, proceeds to the Gundicha temple to meet her Lord, Jagannath , on the Hera Panchami day,the fifth day of the fortnight. After having a stealthy look at her Lord, she returns to the temple, damaging a part of Jagannath's chariot in anger and disgust. The deities, after the seven-day stay at Gundicha temple, their garden house, commence their return journey. It is called Bahuda Yatra held on the tenth day of bright fortnight of Ashadha. The return of the chariots takes place in the same order as in the Rath Yatra. Balabhadra’s chariot moves first, followed by those of Subhadra and Jagannath. On his way back,Jagannath stops for a while at Ardhasani temple, popularly called Mausi Ma temple or the temple of Aunt.

He accepts from the aunt His favourite rice cake, Poda Pitha. The three chariots pulled by thousands of devotees,reach back the Simhadwara in the late afternoon of the Bahuda day and the deities remain seated on their chariots. On the next day known as the Bada Ekadasi,the three deities, are attired in costumes of glittering gold and are worshipped by thousands of devotees. This form of the deities is known as the famous Suna Vesa. On the Dwadasi day, the three deities go back to their original place,the Ratna simhasana, literally the jewelled platform,with the usual fanfare and the Pahandi style.Their arrival into the Sanctum sanctorum marks the end of the Ratha Yatra the grand festival of chariots.


NAVAKALEVARA
As a man discarding worn out clothes takes other new ones,so also the embodied soul, casting off worn out bodies enters into others which are new.In the light of this truth of the Bhagavat Geeta, Navakalevar can be interpreted as a ceremony for entering into new bodies, when Lord Jagannath, Balabhadra, Subhadra and Sudarshan cast off their old bodies and take new ones. It is called Navakalevar. The year which has two months of Ashadha is regarded auspicious for Navakalevar ceremony.It usually occurs in 8,11 or 19 years. The new bodies of the deities are made out of the newly cut Yeem trees. The previous navakalevars were held in 1733,1744,1752, 1771,1790, 1809,1828, 1836,1855,1874,1893,1912, 1931,1950, 1969,1977 and 1996.

       

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