Situated on the eastern coast along the blue waters of the Bay of Bengal, Orissa offers to magnificent temples, sunny beaches, colourful wildlife, traditional tribal culture and a rich heritage. While several temples have vanished or have declined in importance, the great temple of Lord Jagannath at Puri is still a living and vibrant temple. Over the centuries it has attracted kings, conquerers, religious teachers, devotees and pilgrims.
In the minds of the millions of Indians, Orissa is the land of Jagannath. This temple of Lord Jagannath at Puri is one of the most sacred pilgrimage spots in India, one of the four abodes (dhamas) of the divine that lie on the four directions of the compass.
The temple of Jagannath Puri is a rekha dwell with curvilinear tower on a pancha ratha plan and was built by Ananta Barma Chodaganga Dev during 12th century A.D. and was completed by Ananga Bhima Dev. This temple is one of the tallest monuments in the country, height is about 214 feet from the ground level. It stands on an elevated platform of stone measuring about 10 acres, which is located in the heart of the down town and presents an imposing sight.. The temple has four gates at the eastern, southern, western northern midpoints of the Meghanad Prachir and are called Lions gate, Horse Gate, Tiger Gate and the Elephant Gate respectively.
Lord Jagannath, the symbol of universal love and is worshiped in the Temple along with Balabhadra, Subhadra, Sudarshan, Madhaba, Sridevi and Bhudevi on the Ratnabedi or the bejewelled platform. The Deities, Lord Jagannath, Balabhadra, Subhadra and Chakra Sudarshan are made of margosa wood.
Maha-prasada is pure vegetarian spiritual food offered to Lord Jagannath. Just by eating this maha-prasada one makes great spiritual advancement. Every day, fifty-six varieties of prasada are offered to Lord Jagannath. The main offering of the day becomes available anywhere from 3 to 5 pm (sometimes later). The offering times are not exact and change day by day.