8 Mysteries of Jagannath Temple Puri that are Intriguing

Jagannath Temple Puri
8 Unexplained Mysteries of Jagannath Temple Puri in Odisha, India

Jagannath Temple Puri

Unexplained Mysteries of Jagannath Temple Puri in Odisha, India

It was sometime in the 14th Century that a member of the Order of Friars Minor that was founded  by St. Francis of Assisi, carried to Europe the story of the image of a Hindu God named Jagannath or Lord Vishnu being pulled across the streets of India in a mammoth carriage as part of a religious procession. The story exaggerated the actual events and even mentioned that many devotees threw themselves in the path of the carriage to be crushed under its wheels in an act of self-sacrifice. This story, though an exaggeration, seemed to catch the imagination of Europe and spread like wildfire and by the turn of the 19th century the word Juggernaut was born into the English Lexicon and referred to any massive vehicle or powerful entity with the power of crushing everything in its path.

Given this intriguing association of the word Juggernaut, Jagannath Temple, Puri, and the Rath Yatra, it is no wonder that the temple and the Rath Yatra is famed throughout the world. Apart from the Rath Yatra, the Jagannath Temple Puri is one of the Char Dham or four destinations which hold a prime place as pilgrimage centers for the Hindus. Puri, Dwarka, Rameshwaram, and Badrinath are the Char Dham destinations located at the cardinal points of India. The mystery and history of Puri Jagannath Temple have always been a source of fascination and this only increases with the passage of time.

The history of Puri Jagannath Temple is quite ancient. The Jagannath Temple Puri has its origins somewhere between 1078 to 1148 CE. However, the temple as we see it today was built in the year 1174 CE by an Oriya king known as Ananga Bhima Deva. There are multiple legends associated with how the temple came into existence and how the images of Lord Jagannath – another form of Lord Krishna, and his siblings Balabhadra and Subhadra were built. These add to the mystical allure of the temple and contribute to its enigmatic appeal. However, there are some really incredible facts about Puri Jagannath temple that remain unexplained. These continue to be conundrums waiting to be deciphered and explained. They continue to pose a question mark to the intellect of mankind. Here we look at these fascinating facts that my dear readers are sure to inspire incredulity and awe. Let me tell you that in addition to these there are many more interesting mysterious stories about Lord Jagannath Temple.

Jagannath Temple Puri

1. A Natural No-Fly Zone

When we were at the Jagannath Temple Puri, a couple of months ago, I looked up at the Gopuram and as is my want waited for a bird or two to fly around it. I like to capture photos of tall structures like towers and temple Gopurams with the backdrop of flying objects, I had captured images of a plane flying past the Qutub Minar and now wanted to capture the Gopuram of the famed Jagannath Temple Puri with maybe an eagle swooping across it. But I was disappointed, no birds flew around the Gopuram. It was surprising as usually, birds flock around tall structures. It was explained to me later that the Gopuram at the Jagannath Temple Puri was an exception and no birds ever flew around it. I was spellbound by this discovery! It seemed that the area was a No-Fly zone, not declared so by the powers of State, but it seemed like it was through a divine decree. There seemed to be no other explanation for this phenomenal fact. Probably yet another of the Puri Jagannath Temple miracles.

2. Defying the Power of the Wind

Jagannath Temple Puri

As I looked up at the triangular flag fluttering in the wind atop the Gopuram, its saffron and yellow colors creating a kaleidoscopic effect against the bright colors of the sun’s rays, I noticed another strange phenomenon. The flag was flying not in the direction of the wind, but opposite to it. Yes, the flag that flies atop the Jagannath temple Puri defies the direction of the wind and flies against it!

3. A Shadowy Fact about the Jagannath Temple Puri

As we explored the Jagannath Temple Puri, afternoon slipped into the evening and the shadows started lengthening. But there was one structure that cast no shadow. The main dome of the Jagannath Temple, Puri cast no shadow as if by a supernatural force that had exempted it from this terrestrial phenomenon. Is this an architectural marvel, an engineering feat or a phenomenon that can only be attributed to a greater force. There are no answers, only conjectures, and more questions. The shadow of Jagannath Temple or rather the absence of it continues to be one of the unsolved mysteries of the Lord Jagannath Temple.

4. Food For Thought

Jagannath Temple Puri

The Kitchen of the Jagannath Temple Puri is considered to be the biggest and largest kitchen in the world. The kitchen consists of 32 rooms having 250 earthen ovens and over 600 cooks with 400 assistants prepare the food that is offered to the Lord and partaken off by the devotees as Prasadam. One of the interesting facts about Sri Jagannath Temple that defy explanation is the fact that though the same quantity of food is cooked every day in the kitchen, it is able to feed the devotees irrespective of the variation in the number of visitors that may range from 2,000 to 20,000. What is remarkable is that never is there a shortage or surplus of food. Indeed food for thought!

5. The Mystery of the Cooking Pots

The food in the kitchen of the Jagannath Temple Puri is cooked in earthen pots. The pots are placed one, on top of the other on firewood in the hearth. The food in the pots are cooked uniformly and what is amazing is the fact that the food in the topmost pot is cooked first while the ones below get cooked in the order of their position with the bottom-most pot getting cooked last! This is yet another of the amazing and unbelievable facts about Jagannath Temple

6. Defying the Laws of Geography

Jagannath Temple Puri

It is a known geographical fact that the breeze from the sea blows towards the land during the daytime and the breeze from the land blows towards the sea during night times. However, it is a remarkable fact that these laws of Geography are reversed near the shores of the Jagannath Temple Puri, where the breeze from the sea blows during the night and the breeze from the land blows towards the sea during the daytime. The action of the winds that blow near the coast where the temple is situated remains as one of the scientific mysteries of Lord Jagannath Temple in Puri.

7. An Ancient Sound Proof Chamber

The Jagannath Temple Puri has four doors, one in each direction. As we stepped into the temple through the Singhadwara, the main entrance to the temple located in an easterly direction, the sound of the ocean suddenly ceased and was completely shut off. However, when we exited the temple, the sound of the waves crashing on the sands was unmistakably audible. Another engineering marvel? Another unexplained mystery? Another divine manifestation? No answers, only an enduring enigma on the sands of time. Another one of the unexplained facts about Puri, Jagannath.

As we walked out of the Singhadwara my eyes fell on a tall pillar known as Arun Stambha, the statue of Arun, the mythical charioteer of the Sun God graces the top of the pillar. My thoughts moved to another enigmatic temple not far away from here, the Konark Sun Temple. This Pillar originally stood in the precincts of the Konark Sun Temple.

8. The Mystery of The Nila Chakra

Jagannath Temple Puri

The Nila Chakra is a wheel made of 8 alloys that is mounted on the top of the longest Shikhar or Gopuram of the Jagannath Temple Puri. The circumference of the wheel is about 36 feet. What is intriguing is the fact that the wheel seems to face you irrespective of the position that you are standing in.

How to get to Puri

  • You can travel by road from Bhubaneswar to Puri. Puri is at a distance of about 68 Kilometers from Bhubneshwar
  • Nearest airport is Bhubaneswar
  • You can also reach Puri by rail from Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Tirupati etc.
  • You can reach Bhubaneswar by Road, Rail, and Air and then travel to Puri by road
  • Bhubaneswar is 442 kilometers from Kolkata

Puri, Odisha

Find local businesses, view maps and get driving directions in Google Maps.

The Jagannath Temple, Puri continues to be a source of wonder and intrigue. The Puri Jagannath temple story continues to hold spellbound millions. The Unexplained Mysteries of Jagannath Temple Puri in Odisha, India, continue to baffle visitors with their enduring enigma and intrigue. It is a place that holds many an untold secret in its bosom, a temple that is revered and looked up to as the divine abode of the Lord. These were the mysteries of Puri’s Jagannath Temple which are still unexplained. As I left the precincts of the grand temple I still wondered about the secrets of the Jagannath Temple, Puri.

Have you visited this amazing temple in Odisha, an eastern state of India and did you observe these intriguing facts? Did you know these amazing facts about Jagannath Puri Temple, Odisha? The Jagannath Temple myths and facts have over time become interwoven and it is hard to differentiate one from the other, however, there is no denying the mysterious allure of the temple.

Do let us know your thoughts through the comments sections.

8 Unexplained Mysteries of Jagannath Temple Puri in Odisha, India


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71 thoughts on “8 Mysteries of Jagannath Temple Puri that are Intriguing”

  1. Hi, Thanks for writing this article. I am from Puri (SriKshetra). You have beautifully explained the mysteries. There are thousands of mysteries in the history of this temple. You can read about one devotee called Salabega.

    (Oriya – Odia) he was King of Odisha (the then Kalinga or Utkala).


  2. Cool to see that there are so many mysteries around the temple. I’ve watched a documentary on this place and also find the ability to make food for that many people on a regular basis is awe inspiring.

  3. It’s always amazing to know something about a place or monument you didn’t know so far! The fact that there are so many mysteries around the temple make it more interesting… I’d like to visit it soon!!

  4. A great history indeed. And also interesting the connection between Jagannath and Juggernaut. Something I never noticed and I’m curious to find out about the breeze from the sea how it blows to compare to the shores of the Jagannath Temple Puri anytime I visit. Thanks for the briefing!

  5. The Jagannath Temple is one of the most unique styles of architecture I’ve seen. It is incredible the level of detail required to build these temples. It is truly an architectural marvel!

  6. I have always wanted to visit this place. There is so much of mystery attached to it. The mystery of the cooking pots left me amazed. I have heard about the Nila Chakra. It’s time and go and see it for myself.

  7. I haven’t been to India but based on posts and articles I’ve been reading, there seem to be a lot of numbers of temples around this incredible country. There are so many mysteries and secrets behind.

  8. The ancient mythology and historical sites of India, including the temples like Jagannath temple always interest me so much. Have been to Badrinath but the rest 3 dhams are pending. I will definitely not miss the ancient sound proof chamber when I visit Jagannath Puri

  9. Superb article which has further whet my appetite to see this place. Thankfully that visit is around the corner , in Dec this year. Looking forward to exploring these mysteries myself and pen my experiences 🙂 . Are we allowed to visit the kitchen ? Did you hire a guide ?

  10. Looks like a super interesting place! I especially like the part about the winds being reversed-such an interesting and inexplicable geographic phenomenon

  11. Oh wow, the history of Puri Jagannath Temple really is quite ancient! Amazing how legends and myths spread like Chinese whispers and become more fantastic over time. But it’s very strange that birds avoid flying over the temple, and that the flags fly in the opposite direction to the wind … what type of magic is that, right?!! Hmmm you’ve actually made me want to visit now just to see these phenomenons with my own eyes – surely there’s some type of ancient auroa or something which is making everything so. SO strange!!

  12. I had visited this temple with my parents when I was 3 year old. I remember nothing of that trip. But to say the truth, I never felt interested in this temple and never thought I would want to visit again. But, after reading your article I feel compelled to visit the temple and see for myself the things you mentioned here. Birds not flying around, reversing of land breeze and sea breeze timings, flags flying in opposite direction of the wind sounds crazy! The food in the topmost pot getting cooked first may have an explanation in my mind (think less oil more oil 😛 ). I have to go there now to see for myself!

  13. The Ancient Sound Proof Chamber is so fascinating. I love visiting sites like this that are such a mystery. I wonder how it is possible to hear the ocean and then not hear it at all. This temple has so mysterious that I want to visit it now 🙂

  14. What! This place seems incredible. I can’t believe I’ve never heard of it as I love stuff like this. I would love to witness these phenomena and research a bit more on my own as I’m now super intrigued. So interesting!

  15. It is a very interesting temple, no doubt. I guess there would be some physical reason about the shadows. Also, Jagannath Temple and the one at Dwarka are on the same latitude?

  16. That was indeed very very mysterious. I’m still awestruck at how it defies laws of nature and physics and all so remarkable. The juggernaut reference was also quite intriguing. Great post and a stunning revelation to me. Would love to visit this temple sometime.

  17. That place is SO rich in history. Don’t ever lose your love for this place. I have seen over and over again people trying to erase history and it does no good. The more we learn about our pass the better we are in the future. I have never been over to India but these pictures make it look just amazing.

  18. The Jagannath Temple sounds like a rather interesting place to visit. The mystery and history are really intriguing. I’ve several friends from India but have yet to visit the country myself.

  19. This looks like it would be an incredible place to explore. I love to learn all about the mysteries surrounding places like this.

  20. Interesting how each temple has something unique about it. One is the largest kitchen another one cast no shadow. Beautiful each and every one of them.

  21. I can’t say I am very familiar with this landmark or area. It would definitely be an interesting place to visit. Thanks for sharing, I learned quite a bit!

  22. I love places that have a bit of mystery about them! So interesting! It’s crazy that the one structure doesn’t cast a shadow. I would love to see the world’s largest kitchen too!

  23. Thanks for this article. It is just amazing to know about these wonderful places in India to visit and explore. I do hope I get a chance to do so someday. I frequently visit your blog to learn more and just marvel at your beautiful photos.

  24. I found this post fascinating. Really enjoyed reading it. Now I know about this place would really like to visit it someday!

  25. I didn’t know so many facts about this temple till I read your article. Especially the Juggernaut association! This is such an enlightening read, really. All I knew about it was of course the colourful and vibrant Rath Yatra and the chariots and the colourful streets of Puri! A no fly zone is divine in it’s truest sense. Thanks for sharing this completely different take on this famous temple:)

  26. Amazing story, I wonder why it seems to defy logic and science, I mean a structure that has no shadow? A place where no birds can be seen flying, how is that even possible?! It goes to show that not everything can be explained in this world. What a curious temple. And it’s interesting to know that this is where the word juggernaut came from.

  27. The Puri temple sounds pretty spooky to me. I love how so many of India’s ancient temples have all this mystery surrounding them. I love that the area becomes a no fly zone that birds even abide by! Plus that sound proof chamber sounds cool too.

  28. The Jagannath Temple is a beautiful structure, but the mysteries make it such an interesting place to visit. The one with the mysterious cooking pots had me trying to figure out how it is done. It definitely remains a mystery to me though.

  29. I never knew the origins of the word for Juggernaut. That’s really interesting. How exaggerated are the stories, exactly? Did no one ‘self-sacrifice’ under the wheels or did one or two people do it and they just expanded on the tale? The flags defying the wind is one of the most interesting things that I’ve heard of.

  30. What a collection of mysteries surrounding Jagannath Temple Puri. No birds, defining logic with wind direction. That is pretty crazy. I also love reading about the origins of words, and it is fascinating that juggernaut came from Jagannath because of the story. Had no idea!

  31. So many interesting facts about the temple! My favorite were the ones about the food and the no-fly zone. I would like to hear what the scientific community says about all these anomalies.

  32. How crazy- I never would have thought the word “juggernaut” was Indian in its storied origins. How interesting! Also all of these facts and mysteries about it are so intriguing- I’m surprised they haven’t had a TV episode trying to get scientists out there to explain or debunk these phenomenons! It kind of reminds me of a “Bermuda Triangle of the East” of sorts. I’ve never heard of this place, thanks for the great (and mysterious) info!

  33. wow! It is interesting to know Juggernaut came out of a temple. Do you know how the story was exaggerated exactly? I always think birds flying over shrine or temple because people feed them and they get used to it! isn’t this the reason? maybe people haven’t done it for this temple and became no-fly zone 🙂

  34. I have never been to The Jagannath Temple Puri but I have to say that after reading all these unexplained mysteries I feel very drawn to visiting to appreciate them in person. The natural no fly zone and the lack of shadow for the main dome were particularly mind blowing to me. Such intriguing phenomenons! I wonder if there are any books or research done on this temple. I’ll have to get digging. Thanks for sharing.

  35. It really doe sound like an intriguing place. Especially the Sound Proof Chamber! A temple with some real mysteries to explore. I had not heard of Puri before so will have to consider it for my next trip to India.

  36. India and its temples are full of fascinating stories. But for me it is difficult to connect them to get the full picture. I found amazing the fact that the kitchen always has food for everybody independently of the number of pilgrims to feed. In the end, I would like to visit the temple in Puri for its architecture, I liked the picture with the roofs of different shapes and colors 🙂

  37. I love learning the history behind words and phrases. Now I know where “Juggernaut” comes from! The temple facts are interesting, too. Changes in wind directions and sound-proof chambers are the things of mystery novels!

  38. Wow! I was really amazed by your article. Can’t believe that there is such place like this in India. Another one that amazed me is the Natural No-fly zone at Jagannath Temple Puri. It seems like birds cast a spell to avoid to fly around that area. I was also surprised by the fact that the temple cast no shadow. The place indeed so mysterious yet interesting. I love to read articles like this 🙂 I learned something new today.

  39. What a fascinating read. I’m sure I’m not alone in now wanting to research these unexplained oddities. Your posts on India never cease to amaze me. Out of the way locations I have never heard of with stories like this make the country so intriguing. 🙂

  40. I haven’t got a chance to visit Jagannath temple till now, but it was always in my bucket list. This article has explained the facts in such a way that now my desire to visit the place has strengthened. I would like to have that spiritually magical prasadam in the premises of the temple for sure.

  41. I have visited this place a number of times. These are some of the mysteries surrounding the temple. Idols are made of wood and there is never any news of worm or insect infection.
    Core of the Story Jaggernaut is based on Jagannath Yatra.

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