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Jagannath Temple

November 7, 2017

Puri a beach town in the state of Orissa in India is one of the most popular tourist destination for all Bengalis as well as the people of Orissa and surrounding states.
The beach is though a very attractive tourist destination a visit to the temple of Lord Jagannath in the town area is a must for all Hindus. It is also a very famous pilgrimage for only Hindus. I would also like to caution all non Hindu friends that non Hindus are not allowed inside this temple. Mobile phones and leather goods are also not allowed inside. There are lots of shoe keeping shops all around who would keep your cell phones and other items at a nominal cost and you should not have a reason for worry.
While visiting the temple it is advisable to get the help of Pandas or priests who would take you inside for darshan and show you around.
Presently there are some renovation and strengthening work going on inside the temple and you are only allowed to have a darshan from afar inside the temple. It is expected that the work would be over by December this year. Please reconfirm the opening as this is only an estimation.
The main temple houses three deities . On the the right is Lord Jagannath ,on the left is Lord Jagannath's elder brother Lord Balaram and in the middle is their sister Suvhodra . You would notice that all the deities do not have complete hands. To know the history you must buy the several books available or see it on the internet . During the Rath Jatra the Deities are taken on wooden chariots to their aunty's place for seven days. This period it is overcrowded and it is advisable not to visit Puri for pleasure.

What our Guest say about it is as follows 

This is one of the "char dhams" of India. The Jagannath Dham or Puri dham is considered to the dham of the Kalyug so all the more important. Very beautiful temple with very intricate architecture and carvings. It is a rock cut temple. Around 60 kms from the capital city of Bhubaneswar, it forms part of the Puri- Bhubaneswar- Konark triangle.
You get a lovely feeling and a great view when you see the temple from a little far when you are approaching towards it. It is better to call it as a "Temple complex" rather than one temple only as the complex houses temples of almost all the HIndu Gods and Deities so you need good 2-3 hours if you want to see all places properly. The main temple itself would need around half an hour to 45 minutes depending on what day and what time you are going. You can take help of "Pandas" there for some daxina (infact they will only find you), in that case they can directly also take you to the main shrine. Inside the main temple you will see the idols of Lord Jagannath (Vishnu only), Lord Balbhadra (Balram) and their sister Devi Subhadra. The idols are mesmerising and very unique. You will keep staring at them. The crowd management is ok only. For prasad you can buy some local sweets which are really good and different. You can get it from outside the temple or from the shops inside the temple but usually they charge more so better to get it from outside. Dont forget to go to the "Anand Bazaar" with in the temple complex, you can buy the "Anna Prasad" from there. Starting from simple rice and dal, you can buy all sorts of other Oriya delicacies and sweets also. A very good experience so definitely try.
Overall a must visit and you will definitely want to return in future. The Puri beach is nearby which is considered to be one of the cleanest beaches of India so after you holy darshan do head to the beach for some fun.

 

The main reason why people visit puri is to offer puja to lord Jagannath. Lord Jagannath temple consists of many more temple surrounding the main temple. The sun god idol which used to be in konark is now worshipped here. There is also a Sati Pith here. Lord Jagannath, Lord Balaram and Mata Subhadra stands in the centre of the temple. People gather here to offer their puja and also witness the changing of the flag at the top of the temple during the evening. After that people head towards Abandabazar to eat prasad. A lot of different food is offered to the deities which does not include any ingrident that is foreign to the Indian land. For example there is no salt in the prasad as it was brought by settlers from foreign land.
Only Hindus are allowed to enter.

 

Jagannath temple, which is one of the 4 Dhams, stands at over 200 feet on an elevated platform. Marvel of an architecture, the temple has many small temples around it in the same temple premises. Shri Jagannath, Balabhadra and Subhadra are the main deities who are worshipped here.Do ensure that you time your visit to the temple to see the Flag changing. A triangular flag - around 15-20 feet long is tied to the waist of a person, who climbs around 200 feet using only his bare hands and NO rope or any such thing and changes the flag after reaching the top. This tradition is hundreds of years old . It happens around 6 PM, but you have to be early enough as there are hundreds of people sitting on the floor / standing to see this tradition, which is done by members of the Chola family. 
The traditional Prashad (devotional offering) is available in a separate market on the right side, which is just before entering the temple.
You will not be allowed to carry your mobile / car remote inside the temple (like in most temples). You may be asked to give in money by priests at multiple places in the temple and in case you want to donate for the temple maintenance, ensure you put it in the donation boxes.

 

The Puri Jagannath temple is one of the most magical, divine places on Earth! We had been to Puri in April this year alongwith our kids and the visit to the temple turned out to be the defining part of our trip!One only needs to look at the dedication and devotion of the throng of devotees who come to the temple to see their Lord Jagannath and you instantly know you are in hallowed land! Their selflessness and Bhakti alongwith single-minded focus on the Lord made a deep impression on our minds.

One can truly feel the magnetic presence of Lord Jagannath alongwith Baldev and Subhadra in the sanctum sanctorum and we found it very difficult to leave after the Darshan; despite the pushing and jostling of the impatient crowd, awaiting a glimpse of their Lord.Equally touching is the way Prasad is made and distributed at the temple. It is very unique and it would be safe to say that not a single soul goes back hungry. Rather, everyone gets to enjoy the divine MahaPrasad, which is offered to the Lord (Bhog) prior to being distributed to the devotees. Partaking of this MahaPrasad left us feeling full with an indescribable, bottomless joy! It was as if the Lord himself took upon the task to feed us lovingly...! You also get to take back the dry confectionery called "Khaja", which is delicious and stays fresh for days!!!The temple Parikrama is another experience altogether, as you come across hundreds of temples, big and small, dedicated to almost all the Gods & Goddesses in the Hindu Pantheon that you can think of!There is so much more to write but Puri and Jagannath Temple in particular, are to be experienced by each and every one of us - like me, I am sure it would leave you spellbound too!

 

I have been to the temple about 10 times, starting from 1977. It never stops fascinating me. I am not a spiritual person. But every time I go there I get carried away by the ecstatic outpouring of devotion of the devotees. There is a magic to the place and it is infectious. As you enter the sanctum sanctorum, the sight of the lords, the burning diyas, the chanting of the devotees, the sound of the bells, the smell of the frankincense all conspire to get you into the mood. It drags you back to hundreds of years and make you feel how this place has been the symbol of our culture, our history and the very essence of India.
You come out and sit a little in the courtyard and reflect upon the history and architecture of this temple. I did just that early morning on 7th May. I tried to imagine how the temple must have looked when it was built with all the stone carving intact, with no other building in the vicinity. You probably could see the ocean from the high steps. It must have inspired quite an awe in the minds of the pilgrims, who must have travelled to it by foot for months from different parts of India. 
Then I thought about all the people that came to this temple, starting from Chaitanya Mahaprabhu to Swami Vivekananda. Stone steps of the temple are made sacred by their footsteps.
We went to the back of the temple, to the flower garden, sat there for a while and saw the sun rise behind the temple. Then we went to the gates of the temple kitchen and saw the preparation for hundreds of kilos of bhog.
We did the last pranam to the lords and left with a happy memory.
Don’t miss: There is a miniature of the temple at the back side. Also, a puppet museum opposite to the garden.

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