Lord Jagannath Temple

The name Jagannath literally means Lord of the Universe. The Built of the present temple was begun by King Chora Ganga Deva and finished by his descendant, Anangabhima in the 12th Century.

The Main temple structure is 65m (214 feet) high and is built on elevated ground, which makes it look even larger and adds to the imposing impressions you get as you first come within sight of the temple.

The temple complex comprises an area of 10.7 acres and is enclosed by two rectangular walls. The outer enclosure is called Meghanada Prachira (665×640 feet). The walls are 6 meters high. The inner wall is called Kurmabedha (420×315 feet). The walls were built during the 15th or 16th century.

This temple is said to have the largest kitchen in the world and feeds thousands of devotees every day. The kitchen can prepare food for 100000 people on a festival day and 25000 is not unusual for a normal day. There are 36 traditional communities who render a specific hereditary service to the Deities. The temple has as many as 6000 priests.

There is a wheel on top of the Jagannatha Temple made of an alloy of eight different metals known as asta-dhatu. It is known as the Nila Chakra. On every Ekadasi day a lamp is lit on top of the temple near the wheel.
The main temple is surrounded by 30 different smaller temples. The Narasimha temple adjacent to the western side of the Mukti-mandapa is said to have been constructed before the present temple.

In front of the main gate is an 11m pillar, called Aruna stambha, which used to be in front of the Sun Temple in Konark. It was brought to Puri during the 18th century. The figure on top of the pillar is Aruna, the charioteer of the sun god. In the passage room of this gate is a Deity of Lord Jagannatha called Patita Pavana (Savior of the most fallen).

There are four gates the Eastern Singhadwara (Lion Gate), the southern Ashwadwara (horse gate), the western Vyagharadwara (tigers gate) & the northern Hastidwara (elephants gate). There is a carving of each form by the entrance of each gate, is located on Grand Road.

The Temple consists of four main part viz., the Viman or the great temple, Jagmohan or the hall of audience, Natamandapa the Dancing Hall and Bhogmandap. The Images of Lord Balabhadra, Subhadra & Jagganath are installed in the inner part of the temple called as Ratnavedi or the jeweled platform.