JAGANNATH TEMPLE- PURI-ORISSA
Puri of Orissa is also called Jagannath Puri. The chief deity of the people of Orissa is Lord Jagannath. The Jagannath Temple of coastal city of Puri makes the city cultural capital of Orissa. Jagannath Rath Yatra attracts pilgrims, devotees and tourists in large number and is prime tourist attraction of Orissa tourism, India.
This temple also is open only to the Hindus. However, non-Hindus can look into the temple from the roof top of the Raghunandan library, opposite the main entrance of the temple. The temple of Jagannath, Lord of the Universe, measures about 200 metre on each side and its walls are six metre high. The conical tower of the temples is 58 metre high and is topped by the flag and wheel of Lord Vishnu. The temple in its present form was built in 1198. There is a beautiful pillar topped by an image of Garuda in front of the main entrance, which is known as the Lion gate because of the two stone lions guarding it.
In the central Jagmohan, pilgrims can see the images of Lord Jagannath, his brother Balbhadra and sister Subhadra. All the three are garlanded and dressed up for ceremonies and various occasions. The temple employs 6000 men to perform poojas and other complicated rituals involved in the service of the deities. It has been estimated that in all, 20,000 families are dependent on Jagannath temple. In June/July every year, the fantastic festival of the cars sets forth from the Jagannath temple and is one of India's greatest annual events which commemorate the journey of Lord Krishna from Gokul to Mathura. The images of Lord Jagannath, his brother and sister, are brought from the temple and are drawn by ropes in huge cars known as raths (Chariots) to the Gundicha mandir which is a Km away.
Though the beach at Puri is not as well developed as other popular travellers' beaches, it has a fine stretch of white sand. Here the pilgrims bathe fully clothed in typical Indian style while the fishermen are there to guide them. Excellent seafood is available here as well as salads and sweets.