Hindu pilgrims, Bengali holiday makers and foreign travelers all make their way to Puri. For Hindus, it is one of the holiest pilgrimage places in India. It\’s religious stayings revolves around the Great Jagannath Temple.
Puri is the capital of Bhubaneswar, also known as Sri Jagannath Dham after the 12th century Jagannath Mandir located in the city. It is one of the original Char Dham pilgrimage sites for the Hindus. Also been named as “Srikhetra”, Puri was invaded 18 times by Hindu and Muslim rulers, from the 4th century AD to till the early 19th century with the objective of looting the treasures of the temple. The heirs of the Gajapati Dynasty of Khurda still perform the ritual duties of the temple. Almost 80% of the economy of Puri town is dependent on the religious importance of the Jagannath Temple. The 24 festivals, including 13 major ones, held every year in the Temple complex contribute to the economy.
The place has got rich historical as well as mythical impact on the country. Puri, the holy land of Lord Jagannath, has many ancient names in Hindu scriptures too. It is mentioned as a place called Purushamandama Grama meaning the place where the creator deity of the world deitied on an altar. Over time the name got changed to Purushottma Puri and further being shortened as Puri. Many great souls, such as Chaitanya Mahaprabhu has also visited the place. It has got huge impact on Buddhism as well.
Apart from the religious staffs it is also a hit destination for the hippies as well. In the 1970s, travelers travel through Asia were attracted here by the sea and bhang (Marijuana), which was legal in Shiva\’s Puri. Travelers also come here to stroll by the sandy beaches.