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Jagannath Temple: Lord of the Universe

One of the biggest and most popular temples of Odisha, The Jagannath Temple is set in the beautiful city Puri. This sacred Hindu Temple is dedicated to Lord Jagannath. The Jagannath temple is one among the most important pilgrimage destinations for most of the Hindus. The temple is one of the holiest Hindu Char Dham (four divine sites) sites.

The temple features alluring architecture which takes every visitor back to the classical era. One can find detailed carvings on the walls of the temple. The pillars depict Lord Krishna’s life in detail which is why the temple attracts worshippers of Lord Krishna from different corners of the world.

The temple witnesses millions of devotees throng throughout the year to seek the blessings of Lord Jagannath. During the time of the Rath Yatra, chariots carrying the idols of Lord Jagannath, Subhadra and Balabhadra are taken to the Gundicha Temple and brought back to the Jagannath Temple. People from all across the globe visit the temple to be a part of this grand festival.

Jagannath Temple: Lord of the Universe

Jagannath Temple: Location

The Jagannath Temple is located on the eastern coast of India in Puri in the state of Odisha. The temple is set at a distance of 60 km from Bhubaneswar which is located on the coast of Bay of Bengal.

Who built it Jagannath Temple?

The creator of Eastern Ganga dynasty, King Anantavarman Chodaganga Deva erected this temple during the 12th century.

Best time to visit Jagannath Temple

The best time to visit the Jagannath Temple is from the month of June to March when the weather remains cool and pleasant. Also, during the month of July, the world famous Rath Yatra is celebrated on a grand scale. People from all over the world visit the temple during this time to be a part of the Rath Yatra. Many more festivals of the region are celebrated during this time of the year.

How to reach in Jagannath Temple

By Air

Biju Patnaik airport at Bhubaneswar is the nearest airport to Jagannath Temple which is located at a distance of 59 km. The airport is well-connected to major cities of the country like Delhi and Mumbai. International travelers can also easily connect to the temple via Delhi or Kolkata. From the temple, tourists can take buses or taxis to reach the temple.

By Train

The nearest railway head to the Jagannath Temple is Puri. Puri is a major railway junction which is connected to different parts of the country. With regular direct train services from different cities of India like Bhubaneswar, New Delhi, Chennai and Kolkata, tourists can easily reach Puri. On reaching the railway station, tourists can hire taxis for reaching the temple.

By Road

Via road, Puri is well-connected to major cities of the country. State and private buses operate between Puri and other regions of the country on regular basis.

Interesting Facts

Here are some interesting facts about Puri Jagannath Temple:

  • There is a Sudarshan Charka at the top of the temple.  If you look at the chakra from any place in Puri, you will always find the chakra facing you.
  • The shadow of the main dome of the temple can never be seen, be it at any time of the day.
  • The present day structure of Sri Jagannath Temple is not the original structure. Originally, the structure was constructed by Indradyumna. Later, changes were made by the Kings and rulers in subsequent times. They added different assets to the temple complex.
[ Read More about South India Temple Tour ]

More about the temple

  • There are a number of temples inside the temple complex. Major shrines include The Vimala Temple, Mahalaxmi Temple, Kanchi Ganesh Temple and Saraswati Temple.
  • On the top of the temple, one can find the Nila Chakra. Everyday a different flag is waved on the Nila Chakra. The flag is considered equal to the deities who are present in the temple complex.
  • The temple remains open from 5 am in the morning till 12 in the midnight. Abakasha puja is performed from 7 am to 8 am in the morning.
  • The temple complex covers an area of around 400,000 square feet (37,000 m2). It is surrounded by a high wall.
  • There are many entry gates in the temple complex. Singhadwara is the main entrance gate to the temple. There are three more gates facing north, west and south. They are named according to the animals guarding them.

[ Read More About Jagannath Temple in Puri ]

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Fairs & Festivals in India in January 2016

India, a land inhabited by more than a billion human population, is never short of reasons to celebrate. These reasons can either be religious or change of seasons, the country stays packed with fairs and festivals round the clock. Be it the divinely tripped sacred fair of Kumbh at the confluence of Ganga and Yamuna or the cultural festival depicting the ancient traditions of South India, the festivals are celebrated with in depth enthusiasm and spirit. Some of the prime festivals and fairs in the colorful country of India are as follows:

Bikaner Camel fair

Bikaner Camel Fair
Adding colors to the lively city of Bikaner is the annual camel fair, which is organized by the Department of Tourism, Art and Culture of Rajasthan. As per the name, the prime attractions of the fair are camels which get dressed up like brides with jeweled necks and Jingling anklets. These traditionally dressed camels are made to dance gracefully in an amazing rhythm by their trainers. Thereby, creating a mystical scene of colors that seems to dazzle thousands visiting the fair.  

When: 22 to 24 January, 2016
Where: Bikaner, Rajasthan

[ Read More about Bikaner Camel Festivals

Kumbhalgarh Festival

Kumbhalgarh Festival
Woodstock of India, the Kumbhalgarh festival is a reason for the finest artists of India to bring on their talent to the city of Udaipur. An incredible effort of the tourism board of the state, Kumbhalgarh festival is primarily divided into two parts-Folk performances at the daytime and an impressive show of light and sound at the daytime.

When:  28-30 January every year
Where: Kumbhalgarh fort, near Udaipur in Rajasthan

Hampi Festival

Hampi Utsav
Also known as Hampi Utsav and Vijaya Utsav, Hampi festival is an old tradition of the ruined city of Hampi. The festival boasts of bright colored handicrafts and traditionally crafted leather puppet which are attempted to be reproduced in the ancient style. Beside  the celebrated craftwork, Hampi festival is also known for classical  dance and singing performances in certain avenues of the region.

When:  9-11 January, 2016
Where: Hampi, Karnataka

Mamallapuram Dance Festival

Mamallapuram DanceCenter of the ancient Pallava culture and art, Mamallapuram dance festival is held every year in the state of Tamil Nadu. The popular beach resort of Mamllapuram gets a whole new different face in this reputed festival. Classical dance forms like Bharat Natyam, Kuchipudi, Kathak and Kathakali are the major exponents of the Mamallapuram dance festival.

When: Late December until early January
Where: Mamallapuram, Tamil Nadu

Chennai Music Festival

Chennai Music
Bringing down the connoisseurs of Carnatic music and dance from all across the globe, the Chennai Music Festival, also known as the Madras Music Session is a promising platform for young talents to display their skills. This famed music season was first started in the 1920s by a group of individuals. During its early days, it used to be scheduled between March and April. In order to attract more tourists to this music festival, the organizers decided to shift it around the December month.

When: Mid December to mid January each year
Where: Chennai, Tamil Nadu

Pongal

Pongal in Tamilnadu
One of the most popular harvest festivals of South India, Pongal marks the beginning of Uttarayan-Sun’s journey towards North. As per the tradition, there is a ritual of boiling fresh milk in new clay pots during the Pongal festival. The festival is celebrated for four days. First day of the festival is termed as Bhogi and on this day old clothes and materials are thrown away. Whereas the second day is dedicated to the milk ritual.

When: January 14-17, 2016
Where: Tamil Nadu

VadFest 2016

Covering around 50 events in 4 days, Vadfest is an international art and culture festival which lures down the country’s legendary artists into its kaleidoscopic diversity.

This mega event of Gujarat, showcases dance concerts, vintage car shows, theatrics and many more.

When: January 23-26, 2016
Where: Vadodara, Gujarat

Rann Mahotsav

Rann Mahotsav
Changing the white serene of Kuch into a colorful rendezvous of culture, the Rann Mahotasav is a fascinating festival held annually in the state of Gujarat. This cultural extravaganza attracts thousands to its endless cycle of dance, music, art and craft.
 
In a perfect blend of enthusiasm and the spirit of celebration, the Rann Mahotsav kick starts on the full moon night of December.

When: 9th November 2015 to 23rd February 2016
Where: Vadodara, Gujarat.

[ Read More about Rann Utsav in Gujarat ]

International Kite Festival

International Kite Festival
Among the numerous festivals celebrated in Gujarat, the International Kite Festival signifies the cultural strength  of the state. Coincided with the festival of Uttarayan or Makar Sankrati, the kite festival marks the onset of  the spring season.

Colorful kites fill up the skies of the state which look so splendid. The excitement of the kite festival continues even at the night time.

When: January 7-15, 2016
Where: Ahmedabad, Gujarat.

India Yoga Festival

An invitation to all the Yogis and peace seekers, India Yoga festival offers a harmonic blend of traditional Yoga and vivid spiritual tendencies of the world. All the days of the festival  include classes, workshops and Kirtans conducted by renowned Yoga teachers and artists from across the country.

When: January 4-8, 2016
Where: Ashwem Beach, Goa

Goa Lokotsav Festival

Folk Festival
A renowned platform for presenting various folk dances and music of the respective states of India, the Goa Lokotsav Folk festival is gaining huge popularity with every passing year.

The idea behind this festival of Goa is promotion of the folk culture and handicrafts of the different states of the country. It is organized by the directorate of Art and Culture in Goa.
  
When: January 9-18, 2016.
Where: Panjim, Goa 

The Story of Light Festival

Story of Light Festival
Scheduled to take place in the capital city of Panjim, the Story of Light Festival seeks to fuse science and philosophy through art and design.

Blessed with different themes like ‘Light and Life’, ‘Light in Technology’, ‘Our Universe’ and ‘Seeing & Perceiving’, the festival exhibits some of the brilliant creations of light.

When: January 14-18, 2016.
Where: Panjim, Goa.

Adoor Gajamela

Adoor Gajamela
Also known as elephant festival of the South, Adoor Gajamela takes place during the ten day-long festival at Sree Parthasarthy temple.  

Prime attraction of the festival, the elephants are usually decorated with glittering ornaments which give a traditional look to these most loved animals in Kerala.

When: January 30, 2016
Where: Adoor, Kerala

Ernakulathappan Uthsavam

Kerala Highly famous in the city of Kochi, Ernakulathappan Uthsavom is celebrated on the premises of Ernakulathappan temple. Grand ceremonies and splendid procession of elephants draws a lot of attention of the tourists. Special rituals and poojas are carried on all through the festival days.

When: January 25-February 1, 2016.
Where: Ernakulam, Kochi.

Republic Day Parade

Republic Day Parade
To mark the importance of the Republic day, an iconic parade is held in the capital city of New Delhi. Every year, the parade commences from the Raisina hill near the Rashtrapati Bhavan, then make its way to Rajpath. Just before the march of the republic day parade, the Prime Minister of India lays a floral wreath at the Amar Jawan Jyoti, which is a memorial of Indian soldiers at the India gate.

When: January 26 each year
Where: New Delhi.

India Art Fair

India Art Fair
South Asia’s leading art fair for modern and contemporary art, the India Art Fair takes place in New Delhi every year. Previously known as India Art Summit, the fair includes a plethora of paintings, sculptures, Prints, drawings and various other arts. It is the biggest fair of its kind in the world and attracts thousands of tourists from all over the world.

When: January 29-February 1, 2016.
Where: NSIC Exhibition Grounds (Okhla), New Delhi

Rajarani Music Festival

Rajarani Music
A well known festival of Orissa, Rajarani Music Festival is held against the backdrop of  the ancient Rajarani temple.

The heavenly music along with the excellent surroundings of  the festival creates a lasting impact in the minds of the visitors.

When: January 18-20, 2016.
Where: Bhubaneswar, Odisha

Mukteshwar Dance Festival

Mukteshwar Dance
Named after the prominent Mukteshwar temple of Orissa, the Mukteshwar Dance festival encourages  traditional dancers from all parts of India to showcase their talent. It is a must visit for lovers of this art form. It is held every year at the sprawling green lawns of the Mukteshwar temple.

When :  January 14-16, 2016.
Where : Bhubaneswar, Odisha

Chilika Festival

Near the capital city of Puri, a festival dedicated towards promoting Chilika lake, is now gaining huge popularity in Orissa.

Named after the tranquil lake of Chilika, the Chilika festival showcases maritime tradition, art and craft. It also offers various water sport opportunities to the tourists exploring the festival.

When : January 11-13, 2016. 
Where : Satapada, Odisha 

The Kabir Festival

The Kabir FestivalOrganized by the evolving Kabir community in Mumbai, the Kabir festival is a country wide affair to celebrate the words of Kabir and various other legendary Sufi poets of all time.

Various artists from across the length and breadth of India are invited for the auspicious event. The highlights of the festival are  story telling and film screenings of the Bhakti poets.

When : January 8-11, 2016.
Where : Mumbai

Kenduli Mela

Kenduli Mela
Held on the occasion of Makar Sankranti in the Birbhum district of West Bengal, the Kenduli Mela is dedicated to the birth of the famous poet Jaydev Kenduli.

It is primarily a three day musical event which enthralls its visitors with its soulful music. Moreover, the festival serves a unique opportunity to meet the wandering minstrels, know as Bauls.

When: January 14-17, 2016.
Where: Kenduli village, Shantiniketan in West Bengal

Kila Raipur Sports Festival

Kila Raipur Sports Festival
Held annually near the Ludhiana city of Punjab, the Kila Raipur sports festival attracts hundreds of sports enthusiasts and foreigners. Owing to various competitions of major Punjabi rural sports like cart race and rope pulling, the Kila Raipur Sports festival is also known as the Rural Olympics of India.

When: January 29-February 1, 2016.
Where: Ludhiana, Punjab

Lohri

The long awaited bonfire festival of North India originally started from the Punjab region of the country. It is one of the most joyful occasion for every Punjabi as it reflects the community’s love for festivals and celebrations.

Dancing on the beats of dhol in front of the ritualistic bonfire is the major highlight of this festival.

When : 13 Jan 2016
Where:  Punjab

Makar Sankranti

Makar Sankranti
Celebrated in the second week of January, Makar Sankranti is a harvest festival which denotes neutralization of illusion by the lightning inner glow.Makar Sankranti is a solar event and the festival is believed to actually mark the arrival of spring in the India.
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