Jagannath Mandir

Top choice in Puri

This mighty temple is home to Jagannath (Lord of the Universe), an incarnation of Vishnu. Built in its present form in 1198, the temple – closed to non-Hindus – is surrounded by two walls, its 58m-high flag-draped sikhara (spire) topped by Vishnu's wheel. Non-Hindus can get a rooftop view and take photos from the Raghunandan Library terrace across the street for a ‘donation' (₹100 is fine). Cameras and mobile phones are not allowed within the temple.

Jannagath, the jet-black deity with large white eyes, is hugely popular across Odisha; his images are tended and regularly dressed in new clothes at shrines across the state.

Guarded by two stone lions and a pillar crowned by the Garuda that once stood at the Sun Temple at Konark, the eastern entrance (Lion Gate) to the temple is the passageway for the chariot procession of Rath Yatra. Jagannath, brother Balbhadra and sister Subhadra reside supreme in the central jagamohan (assembly hall). Priests continually garland and dress the three idols throughout the day for different ceremonies. Incredibly, the temple employs about 6000 men to perform the complicated rituals involved in caring for the gods. An estimated 20,000 people – divided into 36 orders and 97 classes – are dependent on Jagannath for their livelihood.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Puri attractions

1. Raghunandan Library

0.09 MILES

The world's saddest library — featuring a few rows of dusty, locked bookcases — does a lucrative trade by offering great views of Jagannath Mandir for non…

2. Markandeya Tank

0.45 MILES

This bathing place, where Vishnu is said to have resided as a neem tree, is particularly interesting in the mornings, when locals come here for their…

3. Narendra Tank

0.74 MILES

The largest of Puri's holy tanks, this is where locals bathe on a daily basis. It's also where a replica deity of Jagannath is brought on an annual basis…

4. Swargdwar


These hallowed cremation grounds are the final earthly stop for some 40 deceased Hindus who are cremated here daily. You can watch or walk among the open…

5. Model Beach

1.17 MILES

Puri is no palm-fringed paradise – the beach is wide, shelves quickly with a nasty shore break and is shadeless. But Model Beach, part of a sustainable,…

6. Sun Temple

18.9 MILES

Conceived as the cosmic chariot of the sun god Surya, this massive, breathtakingly splendid temple was constructed in the mid-13th century, probably by…

7. Archaeological Museum

18.99 MILES

This museum contains many impressive sculptures and carvings found during excavations of the Sun Temple.

8. Pipli

21.84 MILES

This colourful village, 16km southeast of Bhubaneswar, is notable for its locally made brilliant appliqué craft, which incorporates small mirrors and is…