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Places of Interest in Puri

Puri is a land of cultural heritage. Thus there are places of historical interest a galore in the district. Apart from it being a place of prime religious interest in India, Puri boasts of some magnificent natural spectacle. Puri offers tourists the rare opportunity of witnessing the sunrise and sunset on the same beach and at the same time on its golden sands.

Jagannath Temple of PuriJagannath Temple of Puri: Puri, the land of Lord Jagannath is one of the most sacred pilgrimage spots in India. One of the four divine abodes (Mathas) lying on four directions of the compass; The Jagannath temple in Puri was built approximately 12th Century AD by King Chodaganga of the Eastern Ganga dynasty. The completion was later brought about by his descendant, Anangabhima Deva, during the 12th century.

One of the most revered of all temples of Lord Vishnu in India, the Jagannath Temple was built in the classical temple building phase. Protected by two surrounding walls, the conical tower of the temple is 58 metres high on which the flag and the wheel of Lord Vishnu can be seen.

Dedicated to Krishna, Balabhadra and Subhadra, the temple has these three as principal deities. Similar to the Lingaraja temple in Bhubaneshwar, this temple is also close for Non-Hindus who contend themselves by just viewing it from outside its precincts.

The main temple structure is 65m (214 feet) high and is built on elevated ground, making it look really imposing. Comprising an area of 10.7 acres, the temple complex is enclosed by two rectangular walls. The outer enclosure is called Meghanada Prachira, 200m (665 ft) by 192m (640 ft). The inner wall is called Kurmabedha, 126m (420 ft) by 95m (315 ft). There are thirty-six traditional communities (Chatisha Niyaga) who render a specific hereditary service to the deities. The temple has as many as 6,000 priests.

There is a wheel on top of the Jagannath Temple made of an alloy of eight metals (asta-dhatu). It is called the Nila Chakra (Blue Wheel), and is 3.5m (11 ft 8 in) high with a circumference of about 11m (36 ft). Every day, a different flag is tied to a mast attached to the Nila Chakra. Every Ekadasi, a lamp is lit on top of the temple near the wheel. There are four gates: the eastern Singhadwara (Lion Gate), the southern Ashwadwara (Horse Gate), the western Vyaghradwara (Tiger Gate), and the northern Hastidwara (Elephant Gate). There is a carving of each form by the entrance of each gate. The Lion Gate, which is the main gate, is located on Grand Road. Thirty different smaller temples surround the main temple. The Narasimha Temple, adjacent to the western side of the Mukti-mandapa, is said to have been constructed before this temple even.

Puri beach is famous for its golden beachesSea Beach at Puri : The golden beach of Puri is one of the best in the country. The beach area has been a popular seaside resort for decades, and some of the old hotels capture the charm of bygone days. For this shining beach, Puri has got its dual importance of a relaxed seaside resort and of an important pilgrimage centre. The beach goes festive on occasions like "Kartik Purnima" i.e. the full moon day of the lunar month of Kartik when Hindus gather here in the early morning to take a holy deep and pray sea God. The five days long Beach Festival in the months of February is now very popular in the Festival calendar.

Konark Sun TempleSun Temple of Konark : One of the significant monuments of religious significance and a true masterpiece of architecture, Sun Temple at Konark aptly finds itself listed as a monument of World Heritage. Built in 13th century by King Narasimhadeva, the temple is designed in the shape of a colossal chariot with seven horses and twelve wheels, carrying the sun god, Surya, across heavens.The intricate stone carvings here defy imagination. The name of Konark temple is an amalgamation of two words--Kona meaning corner and Arka meaning the Sun. That is to say that the Sun god worshipped in Ark Kshetra.

Located at a manageable distance from the seat of Lord Jagannath, Puri at 35 kms,t Konark is surrounded with several smaller shrines .There are Rameswar,Chitreswara,Tribeniswara, and Utpaleswar, all Siva-lingas; and Ramachandi Rudrani, Khileswari, Charchika and Chitreswari, various forms of Goddess Durga.