The Abode of Lord Jagannath, literally Lord of the World, Puri is one of the four most sacred in India. Puri is located on the eastern coast of Odisha near the Bay of Bengal and the surrounding region comprises a rice-growing alluvial plain to its east, and a forested hilly region crossed by the Eastern Ghats range in the west, Sambalpur to its south and the state capital Bhubaneshwar on its northern side. Chilika lake one of India’s largest, is a shallow saline water body nearby that produces large numbers of fish.

Puri was initially part of the Kalinga kingdom and was inhabited by a group of tribal people known as the Sabaras who belonged to the pre-Aryan and pre-Dravidian Austric linguistic group. It is also known as Purusottama Kshetra after the construction of the Purisottama Jagannath temple by Raja Ananta Varman Chodaganga Dev in the 12th century. This pilgrimage city is also the home of artisans and craftsmen who produce a wide range of unique handicrafts.

The important feature of Puri is its beautiful beaches which have offered both pleasures to pilgrims and swimmers for centuries. Sri Jagannath temple, Guducha Mandir, Sakthi Gopal, Balighai Beach, Konark Sun temple and Chilka Lake are the major sights in Puri.

Important Festivals:

The festival of the chariot known as Rath Yatra, an annual ritual spreading over the entire summer and monsoon months makes Puri attractive and enjoyable for tourists. Jagannath’s chariot is a 35 feet square rising to a height of 45 feet and is supported on 16 wheels. The cart is covered with brightly coloured yellow and red fabric with a wheel on top of it.

The Chalanthi Prathimas or moving images of the deities take a ritual boat ride after a refreshing bath in the fragrant sandalwood scented water. Snana Yatra, the festival of a bath, in which the main images are installed on bathing platforms and given a ceremonial bath, follows this. Then comes the annual journey of the three deities on grand chariots to their garden house. During the Anavasara festival, it is said that Lord Jagannath suffers from fever and hence an infusion of medicines are offered in the form of soups and fruit juices. The beach festival reflects the culture of Odisha which is held for five days.







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