Puri, the holy land of Lord Jagannath, is a small coastal town of Orissa, situated on the shoreline of the Bay of Bengal, about sixty kilometers from the capital city of Bhubaneswar. It is mentioned in Puranas as Srikshetra, Shankhakshetra, Neelāchala, Neelādri, Purusottama Dhāma, Purusottama Kshetra, Purusottama Puri andJagannath 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.
It is the only shrine in India, where goddess, Subhadra, sister of Lord Krishna is worshipped along with her brothers, Lord Jagannatha and Lord Balabhadra. The main temple here is about 1000 years old and constructed by Raja ChodaGanga Deva and Raja Tritiya Ananga Bhima Deva. Puri is the site of the Govardhana Matha, one of the four cardinal institutions or Mathas established by Adi Shankaracharya. In Kali Yuga, Sreemandir as Jagannath temple in Puri is built. It is believed that Jagannath is an avatar of Vishnu, Balabhadra is an avatar of Maheswara and Subhadra is an avatar of Brahma. The speciality of Jagannath Temple Puri is that the idol of Jagannath is made of wood. Most Hindu idols are made of metal or stone.
Ratha Jatra, the Festival of Chariot: Chariots of Shri Jagannath is celebrated every year at Puri on the second (dwitiya) day of shukla pakshya (waxing cycle of moon) of Ashadh Maas (3rd month in Lunar Calendar). The presiding deities of the Jagannath Temple, Puri's main temple, Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra and Goddess Subhadra, with the celestial wheel (Sudarshana Chakra) are taken out from the temple precincts in an elaborate ritual procession to their respective chariots. The huge, colourfully decorated chariots are drawn by multitude of devotees on the bada danda, the grand avenue to theGundicha Temple (Gundicha – King Indradyumna's Queen), two miles away to the North.
On their way back from the Gundicha Temple, the three deities stop for a while near the Mausi Maa Temple (Aunt's abode) and have an offering of the Poda Pitha, which is a special type of pancake supposed to be the Lord's favourite. After a stay for seven days, the deities return to their abode.