Jagannath Ji Puri
Opening Time: 5:00 am to midnight
The Temple is dedicated to Jagannath (Shri Krishna),the word Jagannath means the Lord of the World.Temple is located in the coastal city of Odisha.Temple is famous for Annual Rath Yatra which is held in the month of June or July accordingly. The three main deities of the temple, Lord Jagannath, his elder brother Balabhadra and Bhagini Subhadra, embark on three different grand and decorated chariots to visit the city. The three idols are decorated in very grand and huge chariots, and take them out on a journey during Rath Yatra.Their idols are installed in the sanctum sanctorum on a gem-lined stone platform.
The main attraction of Jagannath Puri is its Kitchen which is largest in India. In this huge kitchen, 500 kitchens and 300 of their associates work to prepare Mahaprasad, who is offering God.
Jagganath and Subhadra are a trio of deities worshipped at the temple. The inner sanctum of the temple contains statues of these three Gods carved from sacred neem logs known as daru sitting on the bejewelled platform or ratnabedi, along with statues of Sudharshan Chakra, Madanmohan, Sridevi and Vishwadhatri.
The Four Gates the Temple:
The Singahdwara, which in means The Lion Gate, is one of the four gates to the temple and forms the Main entrance. The Singhadwara is so named because two huge statues of crouching lions exist on either side of the entrance. The gate faces east opening .
Apart from the Singhadwara, which is the main entrance to the temple, there are three other entrances facing north, south and west. They are named after the sculptures of animals guarding them. The other entrances are the Hathidwara or the Elephant Gate, the Vyaghradwara or the Tiger Gate and the Ashwadwara or the Horse Gate.
Kitchen of the Temple:
The temple's kitchen is the largest in the world. Tradition holds that all Mahaprasad cooking in the temple kitchens is supervised by the Goddess Mahalakshmi, the empress of Srimandir herself, and that if the food prepared has any fault in it, a shadow dog appears near the temple kitchen, a sign of her displeasure. If the shadow dog is seen, the food is promptly buried and a new batch cooked. All 56 varieties of food produced are vegetarian and prepared without onions, garlic, or chillis, as prescribed by Hindu religious texts. Cooking is done only in earthen pots using water drawn from two special wells near the kitchen called Ganga and Yamuna.
The Jagnnath triad are usually worshiped in the sanctum of the temple at Puri, but once during the month of Asadha (Rainy Season of Orissa, usually falling in month of June or July), they are brought out onto the Bada Danda (main street of Puri) and travel (3 km) to the Shri Gundhicha Temple, in huge chariots (Ratha), allowing the public to have darsana (Holy view).This festival is known as Rath Yatra, meaning the journey (yatra) of the chariots (ratha). The Rathas are huge wheeled wooden structures, which are built a new every year and are pulled by the devotees. The chariot for Jagannath is approximately 45 feet high and 35 feet square and takes about 2 months to construct. The huge chariots of Jagannath pulled during Rath Yatra, the Gajapati Kingwears the outfit of a sweeper and sweeps all around the deities and chariots in the Chera Pahara (sweeping with water) ritual. The Gajapati King cleanses the road before the chariots with a gold-handled broom and sprinkles sandalwood water and powder with utmost devotion.
The name Konark derives from the combination of the Kona (corner or angle) and Arka (the sun). The context of the term Kona is unclear, but probably refers to the southeast location of this temple either within a larger temple complex or in relation to other sun temples on the subcontinent.The Arkarefers to the Hindu sun god Surya.
The Konark Sun Temple was built from stone in the form of a giant ornamented chariot dedicated to the Sun god, Surya. In Hindu Vedic iconography Surya is represented as rising in the east and traveling rapidly across the sky in a chariot drawn by seven horses. He is described typically as a resplendent standing person holding a lotus flower in both his hands, riding the chariot marshaled by the charioteer Aruna. The seven horses are named as follows: Gayatri, Brihati, Ushnih, Jagati, Trishtubha, Anushtubha and Pankti. Typically seen flanking Surya are two females who represent the dawn goddesses, Usha and Pratyusha. The goddesses are shown to be shooting arrows, a symbol of their initiative in challenging the darkness. The architecture is also symbolic, with the chariot's twelve pairs of wheels corresponding to the 12 months of the Hindu calendar, each month paired into two cycles (Shukla and Krishna).