The Jagannath Temple in Puri is one of the most important pilgrimage places of Hindus that is also renowned worldwide. One of the char dhams in India, the Jagannath temple is located on the eastern coast of India and is dedicated to one of the avatars of Lord Vishnu, who according to Hindu Mythology is the God of the universe. The temple is famous for its annual Ratha Yatra, and thousands of people visit the temple every year to receive the blessings of Lord Jagannath. Out of all the places to visit in Puri, this temple is most frequented. This guide will certainly help you visit the Jagannath temple in Puri with your family well-informed.
Best time to visit Puri
The best time to visit Puri is during the occasion of Ratha yatra when it witnesses thousands of pilgrims walking on the streets towards the temple. Though it remains a lot crowded and is hard to find a place but is still considered as one of the most auspicious time to catch a glimpse of Lord Jagannath. From weather perspective, the best time to visit Puri is winter months of October to February.
More About the Lord Jagannath Temple
There are four passage entryways, which are present in and around the temple. The principle entryway leading to the temple is known as Lion Gate or the eastern door and is situated near the Grand Road. The passage towards the compound is free to stroll around. You will find a lot of guides in the passage, who will take you around the different parts of the temple and will tell you about its rich history.
To have a darshan from close proximity to Lord Jagannath in Sahan Mella, which is also called general appearance, you need to visit the temple in the morning at 7 a.m. All doors are opened during Sahana Mela till 8 a.m., after the completion of Abakash Puja, which is generally depicted towards the showering and brushing of the God's teeth. No fee is charged for this.
Get yourself a "Parimanik Darshan" ticket, which is available inside the temple. These tickets cost around 50 rupees per head, and holders are allowed to go right up to the deity. These include the Mangal Aarti at 5 a.m., Abakash Puja at 8 a.m., Sandhya Aarti at 10 a.m. and Chandan Lagi at 1 p.m. It is recommended to arrive 30 minutes early to avoid the queue to buy the tickets.
What to expect during the Rath Yatra?
This is the biggest and the most important event in Puri. Towering chariots are built resembling the structure of the temple in which God is transported through the streets. The construction of the chariots is fascinating and worth watching as hundreds of craftsmen spend months on building the chariots. One can witness thousands of people gathered on the streets to take a glimpse of the God. You need to see it to feel the enthusiasm and this is what makes Puri one of the places to visit in India before you die.
The rising debate of non-Hindus not allowed inside the temple
The familiar debate over the years has been that non-Hindus are prohibited from entering the temple premises. This is a long drawn culture that has been set by the temple administrations and many prominent people were the victim of this. Indira Gandhi, as she was married to a non-Hindu was also not allowed to enter the temple along with Kabir, who was dressed in the Muslim attire. Mahatma Gandhi was no exception also, as he wanted to take his Dalit, Muslim and Christian followers into the temple. This shows that how strict the rules of the temple are regarding the people who can visit the temple and how strong is their faith in the lord Jagannath. However, during the Rath Yatra, even non-Hindus and foreigners are allowed to catch a glimpse of the deities.
Over the years, the temple has gained more popularity and is significant for being the seat of Lord Jagannath. This makes it one of the main pilgrimage places of India where there are no exceptions. The huge rush during the Rath Yatra is an example of the belief of people in the deity. This does not stop people from visiting the place. In fact, thousands of people come out on the street every year to have a darshan of Lord Jagannath.
Things You Must Know Before Visiting Jagannath Temple
- Numerous reports have come up throughout the years about insatiable pandits or better known as pandas (locally) deceiving you into giving them money for easy darshan of the Lord. When you enter the premises of the temple, these people approach you and offer different services which include avoiding a queue and having a darshan of deity from as near as possible. It is firmly suggested that you overlook them as these are mainly a way to extract money. Furthermore, on the off chance that you wish to benefit from their services, have a proper bargain at the beginning as to what you will be paying for and the exact amount.
- Additionally, do not let them misdirect you into giving them money to bypass buying the Parimanik Darshan ticket. It is true that giving them money can get you past the blockades; however despite everything you will not be able to offer prayers unless you have a darshan ticket.
- The best time to visit the temple, without dealing with the pandits would be 5.30 am. During this time, the morning Aarti also is conducted, and you can have the darshan peacefully.
- You are not allowed to carry any belongings along with you inside the temple as the administration is very strict about certain things like shoes, socks, cameras, and umbrellas. All leather goods are prohibited also. There is an area close to the main passageway where you can store your things for supervision.
Things to do in Puri/Tourist Places to Visit in Puri
- Puri Beach: Enjoy at the Puri beach that is 5 km from the temple. It is very serene and the view will take your breath away.
- Chilika Wildlife Sanctuary: Located 40 km from the temple, this is a must visit spot with your family as you can enjoy serene nature, beautiful lake, boating and dolphin watching.
- Vimla Temple: This is located within the Jagannath temple complex. It is peaceful and dedicated to one of the Adi Shaktis.
- More temples in Puri: Other temples, you can visit in Puri are Sakshigopal Temple, Gundicha Temple, Lakshmi Temple, Kanchi Ganesha Temple, Loknath temple and other. Most are within 1-2 km from Lord Jagannath temple.
- Sudarshan Craft Museum: Located on station road, this museum has a good collection of paintings, sculptures, artistic works, wooden sculptures and more.
- Konark Beach: Located on Marine drive close to The Ramchandi temple, this is 30 km from Puri. Enjoy the enchanting sight of lovely green water and sparkling golden sand on this beach. You can also visit Ranchandi temple and sun temple near this beach.
- Puri Light House: One of the main attractions of Puri, this light house allows you to have a 360-degree view of the Puri beach from top. You can enjoy winds and click pictures.
Booking Puri Hotels
Whenever you plan visiting Puri, make sure you book your hotel in advance for cheap hotel bookings and convenience. This place is thronged by tourists all through the year; so to avoid any hassle book Puri hotel online before coming. Cleartrip lists more than 80 Puri hotels and offers great deals. Few popular ones are Hotel Gangotri, Hotel Shreehari Grand, Sri Mandir Guest House, Mayfair Heritage, Toshali Sands, Pride Ananya Resort Puri and more.
With so much to do and explore, Puri is also one of the famous holiday destinations. Have a nice trip!