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TEMPLES IN PURI

Kanchipuram, popularly known as the 'City of Temples', is one of the sacred cities of India and is famous the world over for its exquisite temples. It is believed that Kanchipuram once had almost a thousand temples. The temples in Kanchipuram were not built by any one ruler but by different dynasties each providing its own style and ideas to further enrich the architecture and beautify the temples. One can see the three different sects in healthy blend with each other at Kanchipuram. Vishnu Kanchi is around the Varadaraja Temple, Shiva Kanchi around the Ekambareshwar Temple and the Shakti worship around Kamakshi Amman Temple.

Temples in Puri:

Jaganath Temple
Jaganath Temple id dedicated to Lord Jaganath or the Lord of the Universe who is believed to be the incarnation of Lord Vishnu. The original temple, built in Orissan style of temple architecture with a Deul or Sanctum and Jagmohan or the Audience Hall, was completed in 12th century AD. The Nata Mandir or Dance Hall and Bhog Mandir or Hall of Offering were added in the 14th or 15th century AD. The Sanctum is enshrined with the wooden idols of Jaganath, Balabhadra and Subhdra beautifully ornamented with fineries, ornaments and garlands by the priests. Only the eyes of the deities are visible because they are believed to be unfinished work of the Vishwakarma, the architect of the gods. According to mythology, it is believed that the king had commissioned Vishwakarma to build the idols of the Gods. Vishwakarma started the work on the condition that the king would not interfere or disturb him till the time the work is completed. He worked according to his will with long breaks in between which irritated the king. When he could no longer restrain himself, the king questioned Vishwakarma about his work. This angered Vishwakarma and he left the work unfinished. The temple complex is a self-sufficient unit with 6000 priests and more than 10,000 others whose livelihood comes from the temple activities. There are four sacred tanks within the temple complex of which the Narendra Tank is the most famous. Only the Hindus are allowed inside the temple.


Gunchinda Temple
Gunchinda Mandir or the Garden House is right across the bus station. It is the lace where the idols of Lord Jaganath, Balabhadra and Subhdra reside for a period of seven days during the Rath Yatra. The temple is in the middle of the garden enclosed by the walls. Here you can see the wrought-iron frameworks supporting the laterite lintels of the temple.


Rath Yatra
Puri is as much famous for the Rath Yatra or the Chariot Festival as the Jaganath Temple. The Rath Yatra is celebrated to commemorate the event of Krishna's journey from Gokul to Mathura. The 13 m tall chariot f Lord Jaganath is built just like the sanctum of the temple. The boarding of the chariot by the deities is announced by the gongs. The king arrives in a beautifully attired elephant and fulfills his duties as the 'Sweeper of the Gods' with golden broom and sprinkling holy water. The procession is lead by Balabhadra's chariot followed by Subhadra's chariot and Jaganath's chariot. Almost 4000 people are required to draw each chariot. During the entire week of the Rath Yatra, the deities are daily dressed in new attires and served with podapitha or the rice cakes.

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