Puri (ପୁରୀ) is a city and the district headquarters of Puri district, Orissa, eastern India. It is situated on the Bay of Bengal, 60 kilometres (37 mt) south of the state capital of Bhubaneswar. It is also known as Jagannath Puri after the 11th century Jagannath Temple located in the city. Puri is a holy city of the Hindus as a part of the Char Dham pilgrimages. According to Hindu teachings, a pilgrimage of the temples of India is not considered complete without a journey to Puri. Puri is endowed with one of the best beaches for swimming in India and is therefore also a popular beach resort, especially as it is positioned geographically so that both sunset and sunrise can be viewed from the beach.
Puri, the holy land of Lord Jagannath, has many names. It is mentioned in Puranas as Srikshetra, Shankhakshetra, Neelāchala, Neelādri, Purusottama Dhāma, Purusottama Kshetra, Purusottama Puri and Jagannath Puri. The word "Puri" in Sanskrit means 'town', or 'city' and is cognate with polis in Greek. It is possible that Puri is a shortened name for Jagannath Puri or Purusottama Puri. In some records pertaining to the British rule, the word 'Jagannath' was used for Puri. It is the only shrine in India, where Radha, along with Lakshmi, Durga, Sati, Parvati, and Shakti abodes with Krishna, also known as Jagannath.
Puri is also famous for its annual Ratha Yatra, or "Festival of Chariots", when the deities Jagannath, Balabhadra, and Subhadra, are brought out of the temple, and placed in a chariot procession. This festival occurs on various dates of the Gregorian calendar, typically in the month of July. The town is famous for its many Mathas (Monasteries of the various Hindu sects). It also houses the relics of many Hindu figures as traditionally it is seen as a holy place to die in or to be cremated. As a result, it has had a disproportionate number of widows. Like other old Hindu religious towns it has a lot of character that is difficult to be glimpsed or picked up on easily by a casual visitor.
Among Seven Holy Sites Of India:
Puri is one of seven most holy places for Hindus in India where Varanasi is considered as the holiest of the seven holy cities. A Ksetra is a sacred ground, a field of active power, a place where Moksha, final release can be obtained. The Garuda Purana enumerates seven sites as giver of Moksha, They are Ayodhya, Mathura, Māyā, Kāsi, Kāñchī, Avantikā, Purī and Dvārāvatī.