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For other uses, see Puri (disambiguation).
City/Tourist Attractions
Montage of Puri City
Montage of Puri City
Puri is located in Odisha
Coordinates: 19°48′38″N 85°49′53″E / 19.81056°N 85.83139°E / 19.81056; 85.83139Coordinates: 19°48′38″N 85°49′53″E / 19.81056°N 85.83139°E / 19.81056; 85.83139
Country  India
State Odisha
District Puri
Elevation 0 m (0 ft)
Population (2011)
 • Total 201,026
 • Official Odia
Time zone IST (UTC+5:30)
PIN 75200x
Telephone code 06752
Vehicle registration OD-13

Puri (About this sound listen ; Odia: ପୁରୀ) is a city and a Municipality of Odisha. It is the district headquarters of Puri district, Odisha, eastern India. It is situated on the Bay of Bengal, 60 kilometres (37 mi) south of the state capital of Bhubaneswar. It is also known as Jagannath Puri after the 11th-century Jagannath Temple located in the city. It is one of the original Char Dham pilgrimage sites for Indian Hindus , of which the other legs are Dwaraka, Badrinath and Rameswaram. According to Hindu teachings, a pilgrimage of the temples of India is not considered complete without a journey to Puri.

Puri has been chosen as one of the heritage cities for HRIDAY - Heritage City Development and Augmentation Yojana scheme of Government of India.

New Jagannath Sadak connects Puri with western and southern Odisha.

Puri Beach is a popular beach resort. Sun Temple Konark is at distance of around 35 km from Puri.[1]


Puri, the holy land of Lord Jaganath, has many names. It is mentioned in Puranas as Srikshetra, Shankhakshetra, Neelāchala, Neelādri, Purusottama Dhāma, Purusottama Kshetra, Purusottama Puri and Jagannath Puri. The word "Puri" in Sanskrit means 'town', or 'city'[2] and is cognate with polis in Greek. It is possible that Puri is a shortened name for Jagannath Puri or Purusottama Puri. In some records pertaining to the British rule, the word 'Jagannath' was used for Puri.[3] It is the only shrine in India, where Radha, along with Lakshmi, Saraswati, Durga, Bhudevi, Sati, Parvati, and Shakti abodes with Krishna, also known as Jagannath.[4]


Govardhana matha main gate

Puri is the site of the Govardhana matha, one of the four cardinal institutions established by Adi Shankaracharya, the others being those at Sringeri, Dwaraka and Jyotirmath.

Puri is also known for its Ratha Yatra, or "Festival of Chariots", an annual event when the deities Jagannath, Balabhadra, and Subhadra, are brought out of the temple, and placed in a chariot procession.[5] This festival occurs on various dates of the Gregorian calendar, typically in the month of July.[6]

The town has many Mathas (Monasteries of the various Hindu sects) and also houses the relics of many Hindu figures as traditionally it is seen as a holy place to die in or to be cremated. Among the important mathas is the Emar Matha founded by the Tamil Vaishnav Saint Ramanujacharya in the 12th century AD. As a result, it has had a disproportionate number of widows.

In 1903, Sri Yukteswar established an ashram in the sea-side town of Puri, naming it "Kararashram". From two ashrams, Yukteswar taught students, and began an organization named "Sadhu Sabha."

The city is the site of the former summer residence of British Raj era governors, the Raj Bhavan.

Among seven holy sites of India[edit]

Markandeshwar Tank

Puri is one of the seven most holy places for Hindus in India whereas Varanasi is considered as the holiest of the seven holy cities.[citation needed]

A Kṣetra is a sacred ground, a field of active power, a place where Moksha, final release can be obtained. The Garuda Purana enumerates seven sites as giver of Moksha, They are Ayodhya, Mathura, Māyā, Kāsi, Kāñchī, Avantikā, Purī and Dvārāvatī.[7]


Puri has an average elevation of 0 metres (0 feet). It is 60 kilometers away from Bhubaneswar, capital of Odisha.


Climate data for Puri
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 27
Average low °C (°F) 18
Average precipitation mm (inches) 10
Source: Weather2Travel


As of 2011 India census,[8] Puri had a population of 201,026. Males, 104,267, females, 96,759, children under 6 years of age, 17,000. The sex ratio is 928. Puri has an literacy rate of 89.38. Govt of Odisha started its first centralized kitchen under miday meal scheme to feed 60.000 children in and around Puri in MOU with Akshayapatra foundation, Grand road Puri.

Pilgrimage and Sacred Places of Puri[edit]

Jagannath Temple at Puri[edit]

Jagannath Temple at Puri
The main entrance of the Jagannath Temple

The Temple of Jagannath at Puri is one of the major Hindu temples in India. The temple is built in the Kalinga style of architecture, with the Pancharatha (Five chariots) type consisting of two anurathas, two konakas and one ratha. Jagannath temple is a pancharatha with well-developed pagas. 'Gajasimhas' (elephant lions) carved in recesses of the pagas, the 'Jhampasimhas' (Jumping lions) are also placed properly. The perfect pancharatha temple developed into a Nagara-rekha temple with unique Oriya style of subdivisions like the Pada, Kumbha, Pata, Kani and Vasanta. The Vimana or the apsidal structure consists of several sections superimposed one over other, tapering to the top where the Amalakashila and Kalasa are placed.[9]

Temple of Jagannath at Puri has four distinct sectional structures, namely -

  1. Deula or Vimana (Sanctum sanctorum) where the triad deities are lodged on the ratnavedi (Throne of Pearls);
  2. Mukhashala (Frontal porch);
  3. Nata mandir/Natamandapa, which is also known as the Jaga mohan, (Audience Hall/Dancing Hall), and
  4. Bhoga Mandapa (Offerings Hall).[10]

The temple is built on an elevated platform, as compared to Lingaraja temple and other temples belonging to this type. This is the first temple in the history of Kalingaan temple architecture where all the chambers like Jagamohana, Bhogamandapa and Natyamandapa were built along with the main temple. There are miniature shrines on the three outer sides of the main temple. The Deula consists of a tall shikhara (dome) housing the sanctum sanctorum (garbhagriha). A pillar made of fossilized wood is used for placing lamps as offering. The Lion Gate (Singhadwara) is the main gate to the temple, guarded by two guardian deities Jaya and Vijaya. A 16-sided, 11 meter high granite monolithic columnar pillar known as the Aruna Stambha (Solar Pillar) bearing Aruna, the charioteer of Surya, faces the Lion Gate. This column was brought here from the Sun temple of Konark.[11]

The temple's historical records Madala panji maintains that the temple was originally built by King Yayati of the Somavamsi dynasty on the site of the present shrine. However, the historians question the veracity and historicity of the Madala Panji. As per historians, the Deula and the Mukhashala were built in the 12th century by Ganga King Anangabheemadeva, the grandson of Anantavarman Chodaganga and the Natamandapa and Bhogamandapa were constructed subsequently during the reign of Gajapati Purushottama Deva (1461–1491) and Prataprudra Deva (1495–1532) respectively. According to Madala Panji, the outer prakara was built by Gajapati Kapilendradeva (1435–1497). The inner prakara called the Kurma bedha (Tortoise encompassment) was built by Purushottama Deva.

The temple is known as the Shri Mandira to the devotees.

As a matter of tradition, it is strictly forbidden for non-Hindus to enter the Jagannath temple.

There are many more Jagannath Temples all over India, Bangladesh and Pakistan .In the Besakih temple of eastern Bali province of Indonesia, an ancient idol of Jagannath has been found.[12]

The Pancha Tirtha of Puri[edit]

Main article: Pancha Tirtha of Puri
The Sea at Swargadwar of Puri
Puri Sea Beach viewed from the light house

Hindus consider it essential to bathe in the Pancha Tirtha or the five sacred bathing spots of Puri, India, to complete a pilgrimage to Puri.[13][14][15] The five sacred water bodies are:

  1. Indradyumana Tank
  2. Rohini Kunda
  3. Markandeya Tank
  4. Swetaganga Tank
  5. The Sea also called the Mahodadhi is considered a sacred bathing spot in the Swargadwar area.

Gundicha Temple[edit]

Main article: Gundicha Temple
The Main Gate of the Gundicha Temple

Known as the Garden House of Jagannath, the Gundicha temple stands in the centre of a beautiful garden, surrounded by compound walls on all sides. It lies at a distance of about 3 kilometres (1.9 mi) from the Shrimandira, the main temple of Jagannath. The two temples are located at the two ends of the Bada Danda (Grand Avenue) which is the pathway for the Rath Yatra.

The temple is built using light-grey sandstone and architecturally, it exemplifies typical Kalinga temple architecture[16] in the Deula style. The complex comprises four components: vimana (tower structure containing the sanctum), jagamohana (assembly hall), nata-mandapa (festival hall) and bhoga-mandapa (hall of offerings). There is also a kitchen connected by a small passage.[17] The temple is set within a garden,[16] and is known as "God's Summer Garden Retreat" or garden house of Jagannath.[18] The entire complex, including garden, is surrounded by a wall.

Except for the 9-day Rath Yatra when Jagannath is worshipped in Gundicha temple, the temple remains empty the rest of the year. Tourists can visit the temple after paying an entry fee. Foreigners (prohibited entry in the main temple) are allowed inside this temple during this period.[19] The temple is under the Jagannath Temple Administration, Puri - the governing body of the main temple. A small band of servitors maintain the temple.[17]

Festivals of Puri[edit]

The Grand Road near the Jagannath Temple

There are elaborate daily worship services. There are many festivals each year attended by millions of people. The most important festival is the Rath Yatra or the Chariot festival in June. This spectacular festival includes a procession of three huge chariots bearing the idols of Jagannath, Balabhadra and Subhadra through the Bada Danda meaning the Grand Avenue of Puri till their final destination the Gundicha Temple.[20]

Suna Vesha or Golden Attire of Lord Jagannath

Early European observers told tales of devotees being crushed under the wheels of these chariots, whether by accident or even as a form of meritorious suicide akin to suttee. These reports gave rise to the loan word juggernaut suggesting an immense, unstoppable, threatening entity or process operated by fanatics. Many festivals like Dol Yatra in spring and Jhulan Yatra in monsoon are celebrated by temple every year.Pavitrotsava and Damanaka utsava are celebrated as per panchanga or panjika.There are special ceremonies in the month of Kartika and Pausha.

The annual shodasha dinatmaka or 16 day puja beginning 8 days prior to Mahalaya of Ashwin month for goddess Vimala and ending on Vijayadashami, is of great importance, in which both the utsava murty of lord Madanmohan and Vimala take part.

Rath Yatra at Puri[edit]

Main article: Ratha-Yatra (Puri)
The Rath Yatra in Puri in modern times showing the three chariots of the deities with the Temple in the background

The Jagannath triad are usually worshiped in the sanctum of the temple at Puri, but once during the month of Asadha (Rainy Season of Orissa, usually falling in month of June or July), they are brought out onto the Bada Danda (main street of Puri) and travel (3 km) to the Shri Gundicha Temple, in huge chariots (ratha), allowing the public to have darśana (Holy view). This festival is known as Rath Yatra, meaning the journey (yatra) of the chariots (ratha). The Rathas are huge wheeled wooden structures, which are built anew every year and are pulled by the devotees. The chariot for Jagannath is approximately 45 feet high and 35 feet square and takes about 2 months to construct.[22] The artists and painters of Puri decorate the cars and paint flower petals and other designs on the wheels, the wood-carved charioteer and horses, and the inverted lotuses on the wall behind the throne.[23] The huge chariots of Jagannath pulled during Rath Yatra is the etymological origin of the English word Juggernaut.[24] The Ratha-Yatra is also termed as the Shri Gundicha yatra.

Pahandi bije during Ratha Yatra at Puri

The most significant ritual associated with the Ratha-Yatra is the Chhera Pahara. During the festival, the Gajapati King wears the outfit of a sweeper and sweeps all around the deities and chariots in the Chera Pahara (sweeping with water) ritual. The Gajapati King cleanses the road before the chariots with a gold-handled broom and sprinkles sandalwood water and powder with utmost devotion. As per the custom, although the Gajapati King has been considered the most exalted person in the Kalingan kingdom, he still renders the menial service to Jagannath. This ritual signified that under the lordship of Jagannath, there is no distinction between the powerful sovereign Gajapati King and the most humble devotee.[25]

Chera pahara is held on two days, on the first day of the Ratha Yatra, when the deities are taken to garden house at Mausi Maa Temple and again on the last day of the festival, when the deities are ceremoniously brought back to the Shri Mandir.

As per another ritual, when the deities are taken out from the Shri Mandir to the Chariots in Pahandi vijay.

In the Ratha Yatra, the three deities are taken from the Jagannath Temple in the chariots to the Gundicha Temple, where they stay for nine days. Thereafter, the deities again ride the chariots back to Shri Mandir in bahuda yatra. On the way back, the three chariots halt at the Mausi Maa Temple and the deities are offered Poda Pitha, a kind of baked cake which are generally consumed by the poor sections only.

The observance of the Rath Yatra of Jagannath dates back to the period of the Puranas. Vivid descriptions of this festival are found in Brahma Purana, Padma Purana, and Skanda Purana. Kapila Samhita also refers to Rath Yatra. In Moghul period also, King Ramsingh of Jaipur, Rajasthan has been described as organizing the Rath Yatra in the 18th Century. In Orissa, Kings of Mayurbhanj and Parlakhemundi were organizing the Rath Yatra, though the most grand festival in terms of scale and popularity takes place at Puri.

Moreover, Starza[26] notes that the ruling Ganga dynasty instituted the Rath Yatra at the completion of the great temple around 1150 AD. This festival was one of those Hindu festivals that was reported to the Western world very early. Friar Odoric of Pordenone visited India in 1316-1318, some 20 years after Marco Polo had dictated the account of his travels while in a Genoese prison.[27] In his own account of 1321, Odoric reported how the people put the "idols" on chariots, and the King and Queen and all the people drew them from the "church" with song and music.[28] [29]

Chandan Yatra[edit]

The Narendra Tirtha tank where ceremonies of Chandan Yatra are performed
Main article: Chandan Yatra

In Akshaya Tritiya every year the Chandan Yatra festival marks the commencement of the construction of the Chariots of the Rath Yatra.

Snana Yatra[edit]

Main article: Snana Yatra

On the Purnima of the month of Jyestha the Gods are ceremonially bathed and decorated every year on the occasion of Snana Yatra.

Anavasara or Anasara[edit]

The backside of the Jagannath temple with the Koili Baikuntha garden in the foreground

Literally means vacation. Every year, the main idols of Jagannath, Balabhadra, Subhadra & Sudarshan after the holy Snana Yatra on the jyestha purnima, go to a secret altar named Anavasara Ghar where they remain for the next dark fortnight (Krishna paksha). Hence devotees are not allowed to view them. Instead of this devotees go to nearby place Brahmagiri to see their beloved lord in the form of four handed form Alarnath a form of Vishnu.[30] Then people get the first glimpse of lord on the day before Rath Yatra, which is called Navayouvana. It is said that the gods fall in fever after taking a huge bath and they are treated by the special servants named, Daitapatis for 15 days. During this period cooked food is not offered to the deities.[31]

Nava Kalevara[edit]

Main article: Nabakalevara

One of the most grandiloquent events associated with the Lord Jagannath, Naba Kalabera takes place when one lunar month of Ashadha is followed by another lunar month of Aashadha. This can take place in 8, 12 or even 18 years. Literally meaning the “New Body” (Nava = New, Kalevar = Body), the festival is witnessed by as millions of people and the budget for this event exceeds $500,000. The event involves installation of new images in the temple and burial of the old ones in the temple premises at Koili Vaikuntha. The idols that are currently being worshipped in the temple premises were installed in the year 1996.Next ceremony will be held on 2015.[32] More than 3 million devotees are expected to visit the temple during the Nabakalevara of 2015[33] making it one of the most visited festivals in the world.

Niladri Bije[edit]

A scene from a play being enacted during the Sahi Yatra

Celebrated on Asadha Trayodashi.[34]

Sahi Yatra[edit]

Considered the world's biggest open-air theatre,[35] the Sahi yatra is a 11 day long theatre festival which begins on Ram Navami every year. The festival includes plays depicting various scenes from the Ramayan. The residents of various localities or Sahis are entrusted with the responsibility of organising various plays.


Puri railway station is amongst the top hundred booking stations of Indian Railways.[36] Puri is connected to Bhubaneswar by National Highway 203. There are frequent buses from Puri to Bhubaneswar and Kolkata.

Puri people[edit]

The Atharanala Bridge dating back to the 16th century at the entrance of Puri


Current MLA from Puri Assembly Constituency is Sri Maheswar Mohanty of BJD, who won the seat in State elections in 2014. He won this seat for BJD in 2000,2004 and 2009 and representing JD in 1995. Other previous MLAs from this seat were Sri Braja Kishor Tripathy who won this seat representing JD in 1990, representing JNP in 1985 and 1977, Sri Gadadhar Mishra of INC(I) in 1980. Sri Uma Ballav Rath also became the MLA in 1991 in a Bi election as a JD candidate.[37]

Puri is part of Puri (Lok Sabha constituency).[38] Current M.P of Puri is Pinaki Misra.


  1. ^ "The Paradise of East Coast: Puri". 
  2. ^ Klaus Glashoff. "Sanskrit Dictionary for Spoken Sanskrit". Spokensanskrit.de. Retrieved 2011-09-19. 
  3. ^ [Tripathy, M. M.; Puri; An article from the 'Sri Mandira' magazine published by the Govt. of Odisha]
  4. ^ "Jagannathyatra". Jagannathyatra. Retrieved 11 October 2013. 
  5. ^ "Puri". 
  6. ^ Subhamoy Das. "Rath Yatra-The Chariot Festival of India". 
  7. ^ The Hindu temple, Volume 1 By Stella Kramrisch, Raymond Burnier p.3. Books.google.co.in. Retrieved 2012-08-30. 
  8. ^ "Census of India 2001: Data from the 2001 Census, including cities, villages and towns (Provisional)". Census Commission of India. Archived from the original on 2004-06-16. Retrieved 2008-11-01. 
  9. ^ "Architecture of Jagannath temple". Jagannath temple, Puri. Retrieved 28 November 2012. 
  10. ^ "Jagannath Temple, India - 7 wonders". 7wonders.org. 2012. Retrieved 3 July 2012. The temple is divided into four chambers: Bhogmandir, Natamandir, Jagamohana and Deul 
  11. ^ "Temple information: Jagannath temple". Full Orissa. Retrieved 28 November 2012. 
  12. ^ Mohanty, B B. "Ratha Yatra : The Chariot of secularism". Hindu net. Retrieved 28 November 2012. 
  13. ^ "Panch Tirtha of Puri". Shreekhetra. Retrieved 5 December 2012. 
  14. ^ Starza, O.M (1993). The Jagannatha Temple at Puri: Its Architecture, Art, and Cult. BRILL. p. 10. 
  15. ^ Madan, T.N (1988). Way of Life: King, Householder, Renouncer. Motilal Banarsidass. p. 161. 
  16. ^ a b "Tourism in Sonepur". 
  17. ^ a b Shree Kshestra
  18. ^ Sehgal, Sunil (1999). Encyclopaedia of Hinduism, Volume 4. Sarup & Sons. p. 1077. ISBN 9788176250641. Retrieved 4 December 2012. 
  19. ^ Panda, Namita (22 June 2012). "Ready for the Trinity". The Telegraph. Retrieved 4 December 2012. 
  20. ^ "Jagannath Temple at Puri". Retrieved 2006-09-20. 
  21. ^ "Festivals of lord jagannath, puri festivals". fullodisha.com. 2010. Retrieved 16 May 2012. Pana Sankranti or Mahabishuba sankranti: 
  22. ^ Starza 1993, p. 16.
  23. ^ Das 1982, p. 40.
  24. ^ "Juggernaut-Definition and Meaning". Merriam Webster Dictionary. Retrieved 28 November 2012. 
  25. ^ Karan, Jajati (4 July 2008). "Lord Jagannath yatra to begin soon". IBN Live. Retrieved 28 November 2012. 
  26. ^ Starza 1993, p. 133.
  27. ^ Mitter 1977, p. 10.
  28. ^ Starza 1993, p. 129.
  29. ^ Das 1982, p. 48.
  30. ^ "Alarnatha – Articles - Jagannath Dham". jagannathdham.com. 2012. Retrieved 16 May 2012. peoples believe that Lord Jagannath during this time manifests as Alarnath Dev, 
  31. ^ "Festivals of Lord Sri Jagannath". nilachakra.org. 2010. Retrieved 16 May 2012. suffer from fever on the account of elaborate bath and for that they are kept in dietary provisions (No cooked food is served) and are nursed by the Daitas 
  32. ^ "Puri gearing up for 2015 Nabakalebar". dailypioneer.com. 2011. Retrieved 4 January 2013. Nabakalebar ritual of Lord Jagannath to be held in 2015, 
  33. ^ "Plans afoot to manage Nabakalebar crowd". Times of India. 12 July 2014. Retrieved 13 July 2014. 
  34. ^ "Festivals of Lord Sri Jagannath". nilachakra.org. 2010. Retrieved 3 July 2012. NILADRI BIJE - Celebrated on 13th day of bright fortnight of Asadha. 
  35. ^ Mahapatra, Prasanta (24 April 2013). "WORLD’S BIGGEST OPEN-AIR THEATRE SAHI YATRA BEGINS AT PURI". The Pioneer. Retrieved 19 March 2015. 
  36. ^ "Indian Railways Passenger Reservation Enquiry". Availability in trains for Top 100 Booking Stations of Indian Railways. IRFCA. Retrieved 2013-01-04. 
  37. ^ "State Elections 2004 – Partywise Comparison for 56-Puri Constituency of Odisha". Election Commission of India. Retrieved 2008-09-17-2010-2011-2012.  Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  38. ^ "Assembly Constituencies – Corresponding Districts and Parliamentary Constituencies of Odisha" (PDF). Election Commission of India. Retrieved 2008-09-17. 

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