Puri Rath Yatra
Pilgrimage in Orissa - Road To Salvation
Orissa is visited more by pilgrims than by tourists. The state is home to few of the most sacred and venerated temples in India. The major religion found in Orissa is Hinduism, though there are few places that have huge Buddhist presence as well. Main Buddhist centers in Orissa are Dhauli, Lalitgiri and Ratnagiri. The most important temples in Orissa are Jagannatha Temple, Sun Temple and Lingaraj Temple. The temple are not only a pilgrim sites, but the architecture, the carvings on the wall and their grandeur makes them hugely popular tourist attraction as well. Puri and Konark are the important pilgrimage destination and Rath Yatra is the most famous religious activity in Orissa.
Famous Pilgrimage Destinations
Jagannatha Temple is one of the four most sacred sites in entire India called the 'Char Dham'. The temple has made Puri, one of the most visited cities in Orissa. The main deities of the temple are Lord Jagannatha, Lord Balabhadra and Goddess Subhadra. Jagannatha Temple was build by Raja Ananta Varman Chodaganga Dev in 12th century. It is said that the temple was not completed during his reign and was completed by his successor. Standing to a height of 214 feet, it is one of the tallest temple structures in India. Architecture of the temple shows a huge similarity to Kalinga temple architecture. The main attraction of the temple is the annually held Rath Yatra. This is the only festival in India where the idols of the deities are taken out of the temple. The images of gods are carried in three humongous and decorated chariots in a procession to Gundicha Mandir at a distance of 3 km. Millions of devotees line the street to get a glimpse of the gods in their chariots which is considered very auspicious. Only Hindus of Indian origin are allowed to enter the temple premises.
Konark Sun Temple
Konark Sun temple is easily one of the most visited temples in Orissa. There are many temples dedicated to Sun God, but there are none that are as magnificent and venerated as Konark Sun Temple. Situated on the shores of Konark, the 13th century temple once served as a landmark for many sailors. The temple is build of Black granite and thus, is also called 'The Black Pagoda'. The uniqueness of the temple lies in the fact that it is built in the form of a chariot. Th main structure that rises to a height of 230 feet, stands on a platform. There are 12 huge wheel on either sides of the platform. Each wheel is around 10 feet in height. In front of the structure, there are images of 7 galloping horses which complete the shape of a chariot. You will find wonderfully carved structures of men, warriors, dancers, animals, elephants which will keep your eyes busy for a long time.
This is the biggest and most celebrated temple of Lord Shiva in entire Orissa. Situated in Bhubaneswar, it is visited by huge number of devotees. Main structure in the temple is 180 feet tall and and is encircled by a seven feet thick wall. Lingaraj Temple is believed to be build in 2nd century and is among the oldest in Orissa. The temple complex is gigantic is size and covers a huge area. There are are around 100 shrines on the open courtyard. There are three other main structures named Jagamohana, Natamandir, and Bhogamandapa.
Ananta Vasudeva Temple
Situated on the Banks of Bindu Sarovar Lake, Ananta Vasudeva Temple is one of the many temples dedicated to Lord Vishnu in Bhubaneswar. The temple houses the images of Lord Krishna, Lord Balarama and Goddess Subhadra. The temple was build in the 13th century. There are many structures inside the walled compound. The images of the deities are places in different structures.
Mukteshwar Temple is one of the most important temples dedicated to Lord Shiva. Built in 10th century, the temple is an unparalleled example of Orissan style of architecture. Rising to a height of 35 feet, th temple dominates the landscape. From the moment you step into the premises of temple, you will be left speechless by the sheer quality of carvings on the walls. You will enter the temple by a huge carved gateway that starts it all. Every section of the temple is carved on, leaving not even an inch without it. The temple is situated in the capital city of Bhubaneswar and is a major attraction of the city.
Almost every part of Orissa has a famous and sacred temple. Many of these temples are also considered to be among the most pious in entire India. There are no better place than pilgrimage destinations of Orissa to cleanse your soul from all the impurities and sins that you have been carrying till now.
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