Located in the eastern India state of Orissa, Puri is famous all over the world for its brilliant unspoiled beaches and the Jagannath Temple. Recognized as one of the ancient cities of India, Puri is situated on the coastline of the Bay of Bengal. It is a great experience to view the beautiful sight of the sunrise and sunset from the beaches. Jagannath temple in Puri, built during the late 11th century is the major draw of this beach city.
The name Puri literally means town or city in Sanskrit language. It largely refers to Jagannath Puri, which is the abode of Lord Jagannath. It is one of the 108 shakti peethas in India. Counted as one of the major pilgrimage and religious sites of the Hindus, Puri is famous for its monasteries that belong to the various Hindu sects. It is considered as one of the most holy place of pilgrimage for the Hindus in India.
Jagannath Temple is the most important religious site in Puri in Orissa. This temple is one of the tallest structures in the country. This beautiful temple is placed on a raised platform and is built of stone. Two enclosures surround this temple; one from inside and the other is san outer enclosure. This world famous temple has four gates at the four sides of the temple. These gateways are popularly known by Lions gate, Horse Gate, Tiger Gate and the Elephant Gate respectively. The presiding deities that are worshipped in this temple are Lord Jagannath, Balaram and Subhadra.
The chariot festival or the famous rath yatra draws in millions of pilgrims from all over the world. The three chariots are beautifully decorated which carry the deities. The chariots are drawn with long ropes along the roads. This ceremonial journey takes Lord Jagannth, Blabhadra and Subhadra to the Gundicha temple, where these deities spend a week before coming back to the main temple.
Various other festivals are celebrated in Puri, which are of great religious significance. The most important of them are Dol yatra, Chandan yatra, Snana yatra, Navakalevara and others. Close to Puri, you can find various other destinations, which are equally very important. Sun temple of Konark, Chilka, Baleswar and Bhubaneshwar are the major destinations near Puri.