The Jagannath Temple in Puri is a famous Hindu temple dedicated to Jagannath and located on the eastern coast of India, at Puri in thestate of Orissa. The name Jagannath comes from the word Jagat-Nath which means ‘Lord of the World’ .
The temple was built in the 11th century atop its ruins by the progenitor of the Eastern Ganga dynasty, King Anantavarman Chodaganga Deva. The temple is famous for its annual Rath Yatra, or chariot festival, in which the three main temple deities are hauled on huge and elaborately decorated temple cars. Since medieval times, it is also associated with intense religious fervour.
The temple is sacred to the Vaishnava traditions and saint Ramananda who was closely associated with the temple. It is also of particular significance to the followers of the Gaudiya Vaishnavism whose founder, Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, was attracted to the deity, Jagannath, and lived in Puri for many years.
The other important feature of the town is its beautiful beach which, for centuries, has offered pleasure to both pilgrims and swimmers. This picturesque beach is one of the most delightful white beaches in the country and is becoming a pleasure haunt for tourists from all over the globe. Though the surf here is pretty exciting, the under-current can be a bit tricky, so tread carefully… The areas both within and outside Puri offer excellent shopping and the nearby artist villages of Pipli (for the famous appliqué work), Raghurajpur (for pata and palm-leaf paintings) and Balakati (for bell-metal work) bring shoppers directly in contact with the craftsmen at work. It can be quite an experience.