States > Temples India

Jagannath temple, Puri

Built in the 12th century, Jagannath temple is situated in Puri (Orissa) and is popularly called Jagannath Puri. Dedicated to Lord Vishnu, the temple is one of the four holiest places of India.
Inside the main temple, with the idol of Lord Vishnu (Jagannath) in between the idols of Lord Balabhadra (brother) and Goddess Subhadra (sister) are placed.

The annual and world famous Rath Yatra conducted at Puri gives a chance to get a good glimpse of the Lord Jagannath along with Balabhadra and Subhadra riding on the chariots. Thousands of people pulling the sacred chariot makes for a mesmerizing spectacle.

The image of Jagannath is wooden. Every twelve or nineteen years these wooden figures are 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).

The temple was built in the 12th century atop its ruins by the progenitor of the Eastern Ganga dynasty, King Anantavarman Chodaganga Deva.

The temple is sacred to the Vaishnava traditions. It is also of particular significance to the followers of the Gaudiya Vaishnavism whose founder, Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, was attracted to the deity, Jagannath, and lived in Puri for many years.
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