Deity Worshipped : Lord Jagannath
Built By : Chodaganga Deva in the 12th century A.D
Festivals Celebrated : The temple celebrates many colourful festivals like Chandan Yatra, Snan Yatra and Ganesh Puja. But the most famous is the Rath Yatra or Car Festival. The festival falling in the months of June-July is celebrated for 10 days. The deities of Lord Krishna, brother Balram and sister Subhadra are taken in beautifully decorated huge chariots to Gundicha temple located one kilometre away. At the end of the festival, the deities are taken back to the main temple and the chariots are broken. The Rath Yatra is celebrated to mark Krishna's departure to Mathura from Gokul.
Jagannath temple was built by Chodaganga Deva in the 12th century A.D. The magnificent temple is one of the finest examples of medieval Indian temple architecture. The main temple of Sri Jagannath is an imposing structure that rises to a height of 65 metres. Due to its sheer size, the temple could be seen from miles away. The fantastic architecture and sculptural richness makes Jagannath temple one of the most magnificent monuments of India. The temple stands on an elevated platform of stone measuring about 10 acres. The entire temple premises is surrounded by an enclosure which is 20 feet high and measuring 652 feet by 630 feet. The main entrance of the temple has an attractive 16 sided monolithic pillar rising to a height of 11 meters. This pillar originally stood in front of the famous Sun temple at Konark but was brought to Jagannath temple in the 18th century. The main entrance is called Simha Dwara as there are two lion statues at the entrance. Apart from the Simha Dwara, there are three other entraces to the temple.
The sanctum sanctorum or garbhagriha has very attractive archaic type of wooden images of Lord Jagannath, his sister Subhadra and brother Balram. The images of Lord Jagannath and Balram are on the sides while the one of Subhadra is in the middle and smaller in size.
It may be mentioned that the temple feeds thousands of devotees on a daily basis. The holy food is called Mahaprasad. The kitchen of Jagannath temple is regarded as the biggest in the world. The temple has over 6000 priests in different categories supported by an additional staff of 14000. The person heading the temple affairs is called the Raja of Puri. Only the Raja can sweep the chariot of Lord Jagannath and carry the umbrella. The Jagannath temple allows all caste groups belonging to Hindu religion to offer prayers at the temple. However, non-Hindus are not allowed to enter the temple premises.
Reaching Jagannath Temple
Air : To reach Jagannath Temple, tourists can board flights to Bhubaneshwar which is the nearest airport from Puri at a distance of 56 kms. Flights are available to Bhubaneshwar from all major destinations of India.
Rail : The railway station at Puri is a major railway station well connected to many cities and towns of India.
Road : Puri is well connected to the rest of Orissa and Kolkata by road.