SHRI JAGANNATH TEMPLE The main temple, a majestic structure of 65 metres high, stands on an elevated platform i the heart of the city-its swirling pinnacle commanding the landscape for miles around. It is a monument of the 12th century A.D. with all the richness and plasticity of the Kalinga style of architecture. Apart from the main temple one can see within its precincts a host of other smallerr temples including Goddess Vimala, Laxmi and Vishnu and Ananda Bazar, the biggest food market of the world. Entry is restricted to Hindus only.
The other notable shrines like Gutidicha, Lokanath, Sunar Gaurang, Siddha Bakul, Girnarabant, Chakratirtha and tanks like Narendra, Swetaganga, Markandeya, Indradyunna, etc. are worth visiting.
Festivals : The festival of chariots known as the Ratha Yatra, an annual ritual spreading over the entire summer and monsoon months, makes puri attractive and enjoyable for tourists. The Hindu new year beginning in mid-April heralds the summer and is the season for the famous Chandan Yatra at Puri. The Chalanti Pratimas or moming images of the deities take a ritual boat ride after a refreshing bath in fragrant sandal wood scented water. This is followed by Snana Yatra, literally the festival of bath, in which the main images are installed on bathing platforms and given a ceremonial bath. The Lords then convalesce inside the sanctum sanctorum, closed to public view. During this period the devotees have to be satisfied with a darshan of images of the Lords on cloth paintings or pattachitra especially made for the purpose. Then comes the annual journey of the three deities on grand chariots to their garden house. On the way their aunt feeds them with podapitha (specially baked rice cakes). The deities on reaching Shri Gundicha give darshan to the countless devotees everyday and after a lapse of 8 days, return to the main temple riding their chariots.
Puri offers tourists the rare opportunity of witnessing the colourful sunrise and sunset on the same beach where they can bathe and laze for hours on the golden sands. One can also see and enjoy traditional fishermen in hundreds, plying their catamarans or sail boats and drawing into their nets rich catches of prawn, pomfret and other fish on this long and wide beach extending for miles.
The grand road, as it is called, is ideal for a leisurely stroll and shopping for souvenirs and mementoes. Typical Puri handicrafts include miniature atone sculptures, wood carmings, seashell items, patta-paintings on cloth canvas and colourful applique work. One can also pick up these pieces from Art and Craft Comples at Mochisahi, Sudashan Crafts Museum at Station Road, Sun Crafts at Police Line, Utkalika at Grand Road and Sea beach, Crafts Development Centre at Batagaon or from shops at the southern end of the beach at swargadwar, literally, Hateway to heaven.