When we are discussing about the spiritual travels in India and the spiritually significant places here, then we will definitely have to mention the Jaganath Puri. This is a magnificent and divine temple that is also one of the dhams in Hindu religion. There are four dhams in Hindu religion that are of utmost importance. Each Hindu must travel these four dhams in order to attain moksha. We will now discuss about Puri that is located in the state of Orissa. It is a very popular tourist destination as well as a place of huge religious significance.
We will try to give you a basic idea about Puri and how you should go about visiting the same. The temple is of Jaganath. This means the lord of the universe. The city of Bhubaneswar is a well connected city. You can take a flight, a train or even a bus from any city to Bhubaneswar. From Bhubaneswar Puri is about seventy kilometres it will take you about two hours drive. Once you are in Puri you can find an accommodation easily. There are many hotels here. However, if you are travelling during the rush time then it is advisable that you book a room in advance. This is so as Puri is a very popular destination and a lot of people travel to this city for various reasons. Puri is a coastal town it has a beautiful coastal line. This is exactly why it is very hot in summers. You must visit it in winters like November to February. This would be the best time to visit this part of the country.
Apart from Puri to can visit the city of Bhubaneswar, the Chilka Lake, the Konarak temple, there are ancient caves that were made by Buddhist priests that you can visit, the famous battle field of kalinga is also located near the city of Puri. Kalinga is the same place where Asoka decided that he will stop fighting and conquer the world with religion. There is a Shanti Stupa that is located near this battle field. You must visit these places of historic importance other than the temple of Jaganath. There are day tours that are arranged by local travel agents in bus as well as cars you can opt for any one that you prefer. The city of Puri is also famous for its shops. You can buy a lot of handicrafts, corals, sea shell items; even jute is very cheap here. There are many shops in this region where you can shop from. The cotton and silk of Orissa is also very famous. When you visit this city then you must ensure that you visit the cottage emporium and pick up some saree and dress material. Orissa is known for its food and sweets. When in Puri you must try the local Oriya food and sweets.
The beach of puri is very beautiful and you must visit the same during your stay. We will now discuss a little on the temple of Jaganath and the legacy behind the same. It is basically the temple of Lord Krishna. It is the only temple in the country where the idol of lord Krishna is worshiped with the idols of Balram and Subhadra. Janmashtami (birthday of lord Krishna) is the biggest festival here. On this day the idols are taken for a round around the temple in huge chariots that are called rathas and this journey is called the rath yatra. A huge number of devotees come to the temple on this day to see this divine scene.
When you are visiting the temple you must know few things. You cannot carry any cell phone or camera inside the temple. You must keep your money safely as there is a possibility that it might be stolen. There are pandas in the temple that you can hire to enter the temple and do the puja. If you can find the contact of someone you know then it will easier for you to offer the puja. Jaganath is the other name for Krishna. He was the incarnation of lord Vishnu. The temple has been worshiped for ages as it is belived to have the powers to cure any disease. Jaganath has always been there for his devotees in times of distress and sorrow. This temple is one of the most significant temples in India. Every Hindu ensures that they visit this temple once in their lifetime. There is a kalpa briksha (a whish fulfilling tree) inside the compound of the temple. The tree has magical abilities to full fill all desires of a human being. There is also a temple of goddess Laksmi in the temple compound.
Interestingly the idol of Lord Krishna or Jaganath is an incomplete one. It does not have hands. In spite of being incomplete the idol is still worshiped for years. The statues are made of wood whereas in all other temples the idols are either of metal or stone. It is not clear as to why these statues are incomplete and how they came into existence. Some say that years ago there was a ruler in this area. The name of the king was Indradyumna. He wanted to build a statue of a Jaganath. In his dreams ones night he saw the idol of Jaganath and he was told by a voice that he would find a Neem branch in the sea shore that he must use to make the idol of Jaganath.
As per the prophecy he located the piece of wood. He requested Vishwakarma the engineer of the gods to make the idol exactly the way he had dreamt of. Vishwakarma started to make the idol. However, he ordered the king that he should not be disturbed and no one should come and see the idol while he is making it else it will never be complete. The king agreed. Months passed he could not control his desire to see the statue so he went to the studio where Vishwakarma was making the idols. He peeped in and saw the three idols. They looked magnificent. Vishwakarma was furious to see the kind and he immediately stopped working on the idols. That time only the hands were remaining to be made. Even after a lot of request Vishwakarma did not oblige. This is the story of the Jaganath.
I hope after reading this article you will have a good idea about Orissa and the famous temple of Jaganath. This is one of the most popular spiritual travel destinations in India. Every year a lot of devotees visit this holy city. We highly recommend it all. However, do keep in mind the points that we have mentioned in this article.