Even before the Aryans came to India, the forested lands of Puri were inhabited by the Sabars, a Pre-Dravidian and Pre-Aryan tribe of the Austro-Asiatic family. In those days even the name for Puri was z i.e the place for tooth (Danta). It is said that the canine tooth of the Lord Buddha was kept in the temple. The Dantosav of the Lord Buddha used to be celebrated with a convoy of 3 chariots. Heresay that in those days a Buddhist Stupa used to stand there where the Jagannath Temple stands now. And after the construction of Math by Sankarcharya the revered Hindu reformer, the Hindu religion at last registered the name of Puri.
In the year 1135 Anantabaram built the Chodaganga temple with Purushottam as its deity. During the rule of the Gajapati Kings, the deity Purushottam undergoing a change of name become Jagannath (the Lord of the Universe). Both happen to be nomenclatures of Lord Vishnu. Likewise with the British quitting India, there was a sea-change in the ownership of landed properties as most of the bungalow houses previously under British ownership were taken lease of by Bengali people. Though the past predominance of Bengal is now at a low ebb, a Bengali smells hover over Puri even now. In fact, Puri became an important center of pilgrimage by the 12th century. The history of Puri also proves that Sri Ramanuja visited Puri during 1107 and 1117. Sri Ramanuja was followed by Vishnu Swami, who is known to establish the Vishnuswami Matha, near Markandeshwar Tank.
ABOUT JAGANNATH PURI
Shri Shri Jagannath Mahaprabhu is the supreme solace of this Universe and saviour of innumerable devotees around the world. Since time immemorial, His monumental and glorious Shrine at Shri Purusottam-Kshetra (Puri, Odisa) one of the four major Dhamas of India has been a most sacred place of pilgrimage and worship symbolising and uploading one of the greatest spiritual and cultural heritages of this world.
The temple of Lord Jagannath Mahaprabhu was built in the 12th century by Raja Ananta Varman Choda Ganga Dev. The enormous temple complex is spread over an area of 400,000 sq. feet and is enclosed within walls. With 120 temples and shrines, the temple complex is one of the wonders of the world though not included in the list of the Seven Wonders of the World.
The temple complex is situated on the Nilgiri Hills and on an elevated platform. Porches, Shrines, Hall of Offerings, and Pillared Hall of Dance constitute the sprawling Jagannath Temple Complex. The temple complex has four main gates-eastern, southern, western and northern gates, called the Lion, the Horse, the Tiger, and the Elephant Gate respectively.
The finest example of the Orissan style of architecture, the Jagannnath Temple has the wooden statues of its leading deity Lord Jagannath (Lord Krishna) along with the statues of the lord’s brother Balabhadra and consort Subhadra in its inner sanctorum.
The home of Lord Jagannatha Puri is the most visited pilgrimage in India. It is located in the state of Odisha, along the Bay of Bengal coast. This sacred place magnetizes tourists from around the globe every year not only for the exquisite Jagannatha Puri Temple but also for the picturesque natural beauty of the sea beach and the hugely popular Puri Beach Festival, besides the holy Festival of Nava Kalebara.
The awesome beach and the serene atmosphere helps to get rid of all mental agonies and tiredness. A leisure walk along the beach when the sun begins to show His glamour seems to take you closer to the Almighty. The other two cities of Bhubaneswar and Konark along with Puri are known as the Golden Triangle of east India. All these three places are rich in cultural heritage and renowned historical events with exotic temples especially in Jagannatha Puri that draws tourists to this place.
Feel the striking shades of green and blue all around, enjoy the intensity of the vast expanse of sapphire water, pamper the taste buds with popular East Indian cuisine, spend on local artifacts, breath in the air of divinity and rejoice in tranquility. Undertake this meditative journey for Puri is a rejuvenating destination.