|Shree Jagannath Temple||Located at a distance of 60 km from Bhubaneswar|
|Shree Lokanath Temple||Located to the west of Shree Jagannath Temple|
|Shree Gundicha Temple||Stationed to the north east of the Jagannath Temple|
|Markandesvara temple||Positioned alongside the Bindu Sagar|
|Lakshmi Temple||Placed quite close to the Lord Jagannath Temple|
|Sakshi Gopal Temple||Positioned at Satyabadi near Puri|
|Vimala Temple||Situated in the south-west corner|
|The Indradyumna Tank||Located on the north western part of the Gundicha temple|
|Narendra Tank||Just 2 kilometers away from Puri|
|Atharnala Bridge||Placed at the entrance of the city|
|Shankaracharya Math (Govardhana Matha)||Located near Badrinath|
|Sri Kanchi Kamakoti Shankaracharya Matha||. Located at ‘Swargadwar’,5 km from the city bus station and about 1.5 km from the railway station|
|Swargadwar||Located at a distance of approximately two kilometers from the Jagannath Temple.|
|Golden Beach of Puri||3.5 km from Jagannath Temple|
|Balighai Beach||Located about 8 kilometers from Puri|
|Museum and Sudarshan Workshop||Positioned on the station Road of Puri|
|Chilika Lake||Located nearly 45 kilometers from the coastal city of Puri|
Shree Jagannath Temple
One of the Char Dhams of Hindu Pilgrimage rout and the terrestrial headquarters of the Lord Jagannath, the Lord of the universe, Puri is renowned in every corner of India for the ‘Shree Jagannath Temple’. Dedicated to a form of Lord Vishnu, this legendary temple is estimated to be constructed by a Ganga King Anantavarman Chodaganga Deva in 1135 AD. The 65 meters tall structure of the temple renders this edifice one of the tallest temples of the country. This magnificent Vaishnava Temple enshrines Lord Vishnu (Jagannath), Lord Balabhadra and Goddess Subhadra. The remarkable feature of this temple is that, the idols which are placed in the sanctum of this shrine are not in their complete physical form but it is just the head of the deity that is worshipped here.
The temple is built in Kalinga style of architecture with the main shrine fronted by Jagmohanor Hall. The walls are embellished with various paintings of Lord Krishna and the exquisitely carved pillars of the temple depict the episodes from the life of the Lord. Many years later, in 14th and 15th century, the Nata Mandir and the Bhoga Mandir were built in classic Orissa Style. The Jagannath Temple is chiefly exalted for its annual Rath Yatra Celebration when the idols of the deities are carried out in a grand procession. The idols are seated in the magnificently decorated chariots which are pulled by millions of devotees alighted here. Getting a chance of pulling this chariot is believed to be a sign of very good fortune. This Rath Yatra performed in the month of June or July every year starts at the main Jagannath Temple and leads the deity to Shree Gundicha Temple.
Archeological Survey of India has declared the Shree Jagannath Temple as a protected monument form the year 1975 and they undertake the full maintenance of this historical heritage of Indian Culture.
Shree Lokanath Temple
Located to the west of Shree Jagannath Temple of Puri, this celebrated Shiva Temple is estimated to be constructed in 11th century AD. The mythological tale attached to the background of this religious monument suggests that the Shiva Lingam placed in the sanctorum of this shrine was discovered and worshipped by Lord Rama at this place. The miraculous powers of this Shiva Lingam are such that it remains under water all the time.
It is said that the celestial holy river Ganga continuously flows out of the head of the Shiva Lingam and keeps it immersed. ‘Saranti-Somobar-Mela’ is the chief annual festival of Shree Lokanath Temple when thousands of pilgrims arrive here to pay homage at the holy feet of Lord Lokanath. The meaning of the word Lokanath is, the ‘Lord of the People’, or the ‘Lord of the Universe’. Devotees believe that the Shiva Lingam worshipped in this temple holds the miraculous powers of curing diseases. The sick and sufferers arrive here with the hope of getting cured by the Darshana of Lord Lokanath.
Shree Gundicha Temple
Shree Gundicha Temple, also known as Shree Gundicha Ghar, is the mythological house of the Aunt of Lord Krishna (Jagannath), Lord Balabhadra and Goddess Subhadra. The term Gundicha Ghar literally means the Garden House. The Shree Gundicha Temple is built in the midst of a beautiful garden. Stationed to the north east of the Jagannath Temple, this 16th century shrine is built in a dome like shape which is adorned by the Sudarshan Chakra of Lord Vishnu. As the custom goes, the three divine siblings go to their aunt’s place to spend some days there. This is the time when the world famous Rath Yatra is carried out.
Lord Jagannath, along with Lord Balabhadra and Devi Subhadra are placed in heavily decorated chariots and taken from the main temple of Jagannath Puri to the Shree Gundicha Temple in a grand procession. The nephews and the niece are welcomed by their aunt by offering them Padoapitha (cakes made form rice). The idols are kept in this temple for seven to nine days and then taken back. During their stay at their aunt’s place devotees pay homage to the deities and earn good fortune for themselves. Held in the equal esteem like the Jagannath Temple, the Shree Gundicha Temple is a much revered place of Puri. Pilgrims make it a point to visit this sacred holiday home of the God, especially at the time of Rath Yatra.
Positioned alongside the Bindu Sagar, this celebrated temple of Lord Shiva is believed to be dating back to 13th century AD. Lord Shiva is worshipped by the name Markandesvara in this temple. The structure of this shrine parallels with the two other renowned Shiva Temples of the state of Orissa. They are: Vaital Deul Temple and Sisiresvara Temple. Only the doorframe of the Markandesvara Temple differs in its ornamentation from that of the Sisiresvara Temple. The depiction of Navagrahas lacks a Graha or planet named Ketu. A Chaitya Styled window exhibiting the figure of Nataraja having 10 arms furbishes the façade of this shrine. The intricately carved figures of Goddess Parvati, Lord Ganesh and Lord Muruga; the family of Lord Shiva are installed in the alcoves of the sanctorum. Different forms of Lord Shiva such as Aja – Ekapada, Ardhanarishwar, etc decorate the corners of the temple. A magnificent carving of Mahishasuramardini with four arms amplifies the glory of this pilgrim destination of Puri.
This small temple placed quite close to the Lord Jagannath Temple in Puri holds tremendous significance in the annual Rath Yatra procession. Dedicated to the Goddess Lakshmi, the Goddess of prosperity and well being, this sacred abode of the Goddess is much exalted by the devotees. As per the allegory that stands at the backdrop of this divine tabernacle, the wedding of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati is solemnized on the day of Jyeshta Sukla Sasthi, the sixth day of the bright fortnight in the month of Jyeshta of Hindu Calendar. On the occasion of this heavenly betrothal, Goddess Lakshmi invites the newly wedded couple to this temple and treats them with luxurious hospitality.
Sakshi Gopal Temple
Sakshi Gopal Temple, an ancient shrine of Orissa is a minuscule sketch of the main temple of Lord Jagannath. Positioned at Satyabadi near Puri, this temple of Sakshi Gopal is revered a lot by the devotees. It is believed that the pilgrimage to the Jagannath Temple doesn’t count to be completed until and unless you pay homage to the Sakshi Gopal Temple. As the name suggests, the temple is dedicated to Lord Gopal i.e. Lord Krishna and his consort Radha. The idols worshipped in this temple are brought by King Prataprudra Deva after conquering Kanchi. The idol presents the divine love of Lord Krishna and Devi Radha. The life size statue of Lord Krishna can be seen playing flute and Radha is standing on his left in a reclining position. The major event that takes place at this temple is the annul fair which is organized on the day of Anla Navami in the month of Karthik.
Vimala Temple, worshipped as Shaktipitha (the abode of Shakti) was set up in 10th century by a great ruler of Somavamsi Kingdom. The seven Goddesses namely Brahmi, Maheswari, Andri, Kaumari, Vaishnavi, Varahi and Chamunda are enshrined in this temple. The presiding Goddess is Devi Vimala. The temple of Goddess Vimala stands as the evidence of the religious significance when Puri was venerated as an authentic Shaktipitha. A sacred water tank placed adjacent the temple is known by the name Markanda Tank. Innumerable devotees visit this auspicious Shaktipitha everyday and offer prayers and gifts at the feet of seven Goddesses.
The Indradyumna Tank
Spread over the total area of about four and a half acres, the Indradyumna Tank is established to the north east of Shree Gundicha Temple. Named after the mythological King of Orissa, this water tank is regarded to be one of the five sacred tanks of the seraphic city Puri. Flanked by various smaller shrines on all the sides, this water tank also holds a great religious significance. A small temple of Lord Krishna in his child form and another shrine dedicated to King Indradyumna of Orissa are the chief destinations near the Indradyumna Tank.
Estimated to be constructed in 15th century AD, the Narendra Tank is deemed one of the largest water tanks of the state of Orissa. Situated at Mauza Dandimala Sahi just 2 kilometers away from Puri, this sacred tank serves as the venue of the annual 'Chandana Pushkarini’ (Chandana Yatra), celebrated in the honor of Lord Jagannath. The tank enclosed by a number of small and big shrines is about 10 feet deep and there are 16 ghats built around. Khondalite steps lead to the main ghata of this tank. The center of the Narendra Tank is adorned with a small island holding a small temple named Chandana Mandapa. A bridge links the island with the southern edge of the tank.
Atharnala Bridge placed at the entrance of the city Jagannath Puri is an admirable example of the architectural grandeur of yesteryears. Constructed in 13th century AD, and about 85x11 meters in size, this wonderful bridge represents the engineering talent of the artisans of ancient India. They must have put all their knowledge and skills together and linked two distant locations so as to promote communication and trade between them. Atharnala Bridge is a wonderful model for studying the architectural expertise and the restless efforts undertaken in that era.
Shankaracharya Math (Govardhana Matha)
Govardhana Matha is one of the four cardinal Mathas founded by Shree Adi Shankaracharya in four directions of India. As per the order laid down by him, this Matha of Jagannath Puri is in charge of the principal Veda i.e. Rig-Veda. The first head priest of this Matha appointed by Adi Shankara Himself was Padmapadacharya. The Matha worships Lord Jagannath and Goddess Bhairavi. Prajnana Brahma is the mahavakya of Govardhana Matha and the Shree Vigraha of Goverdhananatha Krishna and Ardhanareshwara Shiva seen here were installed by Adi Shankara. The present Peethadhipati of Govardhana Matha is Svami Nishcalananda Sarasvati.
The Govardhana Matha runs a Ved Pathshala with the aim of imparting Vedic Education in traditional fashion. Shankaracharya Govardhana Yoga Vidyalaya teaches Yogasanas and Shankaracharya Govardhana Vyayama Shala trains the athletes. Shankaracharya Chikitsalaya is the dispensary run by the Matha free of cost. Shankaracharya Govardhana Go-Shala takes care of more than 70 cows. They are experimenting in the direction of developing medicines from the urine and the dung of the cow.
Sri Kanchi Kamakoti Shankaracharya Matha
Jagannath Puri, one of the seven ‘Mokshapuris’ of India is a home to Sri Kanchi Kamakoti Shankaracharya Math. Located at ‘Swargadwar’, approximately 5 km from the city bus station and about 1.5 km from the railway station, the foundation stone of this Matha was laid down by Sri B.D. Jatti, the then Governor of Orissa, in the year 1973. The beautiful two storied edifice adorned with the front arch reading the name of the Matha stands facing the Bay of Bengal. A Ved Pathshala is placed on the ground floor of the main building and the first floor houses a temple complex.
The central sanctum is dedicated to Adi Shankaracharya where Jagadguru Sri Adi Shankara Bhagavadpada is seated flanked by four of his chief disciples Totakacharya, Hastamalaka, Sureswara and Padmapada. The shrine on its right is devoted to ‘Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’ and the one on the left is the temple dedicated to Kavi Jayadeva, the author of the peerless piece of ancient literature ‘Geeta Govinda’. The daily activities performed at the Matha include Swastivaachakam, Nithya Rudraabhishekam, Purushasuktham, Alankaram, Archana and the recitation of Rudram, Totakashtaka, Lingashtakam, Jagannata Ashtakam, Bhavani Ashtakam etc. Fortnightly Pournami Pooja, Maha Sivaratri, Krishna Janmashtami and Acharya Jayanti Mahotsav are the special festivals celebrated at this Matha. The Matha also runs a ‘Sri Sankar Homoeopathic Charitable Dispensary’.
The literal meaning of the term Swargadwar is the door that leads to the Swarga (heaven). Swargadwar in Puri is a sacred and secluded beach which is unsophisticated and unaffected by modernization and has retained its divine appeal. As the legend goes, this beach is the very bathing locale of Chaithanyadev, a disciple of Lord Vishnu who had attained the state of Brahma. Devotees arrive at this beach and take a dip into the sea at this auspicious spot. ‘Mahadadhi’ is the special place for bathing at Swargadwar where numerous Hindu Pilgrims immerse themselves in the holy waters. As a mythological belief goes, a person who breathes his last breath here directly goes to Heaven and attains the state of Moksha or salvation.
The beach edges and the beach road are presently thronged by various shops and vendors selling clothes, decorative souvenirs and other local articles. Other than the religious aspect, the beach also offers a magnificent spectacle of both sunset and sunrise.
Golden Beach of Puri
The sun kissed golden sand cuddling the brinks of the Bay of Bengal makes a seven kilometers long beach of Jagannath Puri. Marked with serene ambiance, turbulent surfs and resplendent spectacles of sunset and sunrise, the golden beach of Puri beckons myriads of tourists every year. This beach of Puri is regarded to be one of the most visited beaches of India. Tourists enjoy relaxing in the proximity of the sea or take a leisurely stroll along the shore. The beach is crowded by hawkers and vendors who will provide you with the coconut water and masala chai and other local delicacies of Orissa. One can also get a local boatman who would take you to the boat ride on the back of the fathomless waters.
The most noteworthy attraction of Puri Beach is the annual Beach Festival organized here in the month of November. Road Shows, Fashion Shows, Shopping and other fun activities bid numberless tourists to the Golden Beach at that time. Souvenirs made of shells & jute and many wall hangings and lamp shades made from patch work can make your shopping a delight here.
Balighai Beach, located about 8 kilometers from Puri is particularly renowned for the cleanliness of its surroundings and the tranquility of its ambiance. This casuarina fringed beach is also acclaimed for the sighting of Baliharina Deer that dwells in this region. Another remarkable tourist destination here is The Sea Turtle Research Center. The Balighai Beach is also known far and wide for the exquisite sand sculptures witnessed here.
Museum and Sudarshan Workshop
Set up by Shree Sudarshan Sahoo in the year 1977, the Sudarshan Workshop and the Museum is positioned on the station Road of Puri. Aesthetic and artistic works of Shree Sudarshan Sahoo as well as other contemporary artisans are show cased in this museum. Various handicraft items, stone, fiberglass and wood sculptures and paintings comprise the chief exhibits of this museum. The museum premises featured with a Japanese style Buddhist temple, a library and a workshop is worth visiting. The Sudarshan workshop will provide you the first hand experience of the creation of various crafts and sculptures. This turns out to be a fantastic opportunity for the art enthusiasts to understand the evolution of sculptures and its present implement and development. Those who are really interested in art and also have the potential for it are encouraged to join this line and pursue the artistic profession in Sudarshan Workshop.
Chilika Lake, extending across the three districts of Orissa namely Puri, Khordha and Ganjam is the biggest inland salt water lake of Asia. This lagoon is separated from the Bay of Bengal by a narrow streak of land. Situated near Puri, this saline lake is popularly known by the title 'honeymooner’s paradise'. Many small islands embellished by emerald green vegetation adorn the lake. This vicinity also happens to be the winter resident of a number of pretty and radiant migratory birds.