Built in the 11th century in the state of Odisha on the eastern coast of India along the Bay of Bengal, Jagannath Puri or Puri is known today as one of the oldest pilgrimage sites in India. Hindus are expected to go on a pilgrimage once in their lifetime, and Jagannath Puri is one among the four destinations on the Char Dham Yatra (pilgrimages). Hindu devotees from all over flock to this town to pay homage to Lord Jagannath. The town is also known for the Hindu rituals for the dearly departed such as Asthi Visarjan. This ritual involves the immersion in the waters of a flowing river of the cremated ashes and bones of the deceased.
Jagannath Puri rests on the coastal delta of the Mahanadi River located on the shores of the Bay of Bengal. On the other hand, the Bhargavi River flows southward in Puri. These bodies of water witness droves of devotees performing the Hindu ritual for the deceased known as Asthi Visarjan. Otherwise, many followers of the Hindu religion visit the place to take a dip or bathe in the waters to wash away their sins. The waters of Jagannath Puri have come to mean sacredness for the followers of the Hindu religion.
The most famous landmark and tourist destination in town is the Jagannath Temple of Puri, sacredly dedicated to Jagannath. The temple is widely known as an important pilgrimage destination in Hindu religious tradition. Built in the 12th century, the temple is a center of Hindu religious fervor. “Bhoga” or food is offered to the gods at the temple six times a day, every day. The food offerings are later distributed among the devotees.