The Jagannath Temple in Puri is a famous, sacred Hindu temple dedicated to Jagannath and located on the eastern coast of India, at Puri in the state of Odisha. It is one among 51 Shakthi peethas and this is one among 4 Adi Shakthi Peethas.
Sati's Navel fell here. The idols are Devi as Vimla and Lord Shiva as Jagannath. This place is called Maa Vimla (Virja) Shaktipeeth. Darshan of this Shaktipeeth gives freedom of soul and tranquillity in life.
The name Jagannath comes from the word Jagat-Nath which means 'Lord of the Universe' (Jagat = world, Nath = Master/protector).
The temple is an important pilgrimage destination for many Hindu traditions, particularly worshippers of Krishna and Vishnu, and part of the Char Dham pilgrimages that a Hindu is expected to make in one's lifetime.
Even though most Hindu deities that are worshiped are made out of stone or metal, the image of Jagannath is wooden. Every twelve years these wooden figures are ceremoniously replaced by using sacred trees, that have to be carved as an exact replica.
The reason behind this ceremonial tradition is the highly secret Navakalevara ('New Body' or 'New Embodiment') ceremony, an intricate set of rituals that accompany the renewal of the wooden statues.
The temple was built in the 12th century a top its ruins by the progenitor of the Eastern Ganga dynasty, King Anantavarman Chodaganga Deva.
The temple is famous for its annual Rath Yatra, or chariot festival, in which the three main temple deities are hauled on huge and elaborately decorated temple cars. Since medieval times, it is also associated with intense religious fervor.
According to the recently discovered copper plates from the Ganga dynasty, the construction of the current Jagannath temple was initiated by the ruler of Kalinga, Anantavarman Chodaganga Dev.
The Jaga mohan and the Vimana portions of the temple were built during his reign (1078 - 1148 CE). However, it was only in the year 1174 CE that the Oriya ruler Ananga Bhima Deva rebuilt the temple to give a shape in which it stands today.
Jagannath worship in the temple continued until 1558, when Odisha was attacked by the Afghan general Kalapahad. Subsequently, when Ramachandra Deb established an independent kingdom at Khurda in Orissa, the temple was consecrated and the deities reinstalled.
Jagannath Temple in Odisha (Orissa) consists of four entrance gates. They are named as Singhadwara, Ashwadwara, Hathidwara and Vyaghradwara and these names refer to lion, horse, elephant and tiger. Each day, the Lord at the Jagannath Temple is offered 'bhoga' six times and it is dispensed among the worshippers close to Ratnavedi.
Jagannath Temple is one of the most renowned as well as the biggest temples of Orissa. Established in the 12th century, the temple is dedicated to Lord Jagannath (Lord Krishna), Lord of the Universe. The credit for laying the foundation of the Jagannath temple of Puri goes to Raja Ananta Varman Chodaganga Dev.
The temple is located at a distance of 60 km from Bhubaneswar, on the coast of Bay of Bengal, and is greatly revered by the devotees following the Vaishnava traditions.There is an interesting legend associated with the Jagannatha temple of Puri.
It is said that King Indradyumna, the ruler of the territory, saw Lord Jagannath in his dreams and following the Lord's wishes, as told to him in his dreams, he got the Jagannath Puri Temple constructed. Situated in the heart of the holy city, the temple is visited by devotees from farthest corners of India as well as the world. It exudes splendor and its tall spires lend it a magnificent aura. The walls are embellished with exquisite carvings.