Puri - Places To See| May 9, 2012
Jagannath Temple: Even before one enters Puri, this 65-metre high temple makes its presence felt. The 12th century temple built by Chodaganga, to commemorate the shifting of his capital from South to Central Orissa, stands in a compound on the Nilgiri Hill, and is surrounded by a 20 foot high wall, within which lie several smaller shrines. In front of the main gate stands a 16 sided monolithic pillar (11 metres high), called Aruna Stambha which formally stood in front of the Sun Temple and was brought to Puri during the 18th century A.D. A traditional porch, shrine, hall of offerings and a pillared hall of dance, form the rest of this temple. The remarkable thing about this temple, since its early beginnings, is that there has been no discrimination, ever, between the various Hindu castes. To one end of the road, that leads to the temple is Gundicha Mandir, Lord Jagannath's summer temple, within a walled garden at the far end of Grand Road, where the deity is enshrined for a week, on a simple throne. Like the Lingaraja in Bhubaneswar, Puri's Jagannath is not open for non - Hindus, who must contend themselves, from viewing it from a vantage point, outside its precincts.