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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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!