Puri in the state of Odisha is one of the important pilgrimage places in India for Hindus. It is one of the places that form what is known as the Char Dham Yatra or Four Destination Pilgrimage. The other three places are Dwarka, Rameshwaram, and Badrinath. The Rath Yatra of Puri is renowned the world over and almost a million people take part in this event. The historic Jagannath temple and the various intriguing mysteries associated with it are of course the subject of great discussion and awe, however, did you know that besides the Jagannath temple there are many other sacred places in and around Puri. One of the reasons people visit Puri in hordes is bathed in what is known as the Panch Tirthas of Puri. These are five bathing spots in Puri and a dip in all of these sacred water bodies is considered to be soul purifying.
Why are these water bodies of Pancha Tirthas so revered? Which are these water bodies? What are the fascinating stories behind these water bodies? These are questions that spring to the mind. Let us take a virtual dip in the sacred waters of these Pancha Tirthas to find out.
The five Pancha Tirthas in random order are as below:
The Rohini Kunda is located right inside the precincts of the Jagannath Temple in Puri. It is believed that Narayana himself dwells in the Rohini Kunda. As per the Puranas, it is believed that a hunter named Jara Savara mistook Krishna for a deer and killed him with his arrow. Krishna appeared in the dream of the remorseful hunter. Krishna told Jara that his remains would take the shape of a log and would come floating in the sea to the Rohini Kunda. The idol of Jagannath was carved from this very log.
This sacred water body is located close to the Gundicha Temple. The Gundicha Temple is the destination of the famous Rath Yatra. This temple remains empty throughout the year, except for 7 days when the deities from the Jagannath Temple are taken here in a grand Chariot procession known as the Rath Yatra.
Indradyumana a king of the Malva Dynasty who is credited with the establishment of the famous deity of Puri Jagannath temple once performed an Aswamedha here. He donated thousands of cows to Brahmins. The Indradyumana tank was formed by the simultaneous trodding of the thousands of cows.
This water body is situated beside the Markandeshwar temple that is dedicated to Shiva. A place where the revered sage Markandeya meditated and had the vision of a small child floating on a Banyan tree in the sea. This water body spans an area of seven acres and apart from many sacred rituals, a bath in these waters is considered to be holy.
Shweta Ganga Tank
This water body is considered sacred as it is believed that the Goddess Ganga herself resides here in the form of Shweta Ganga. This water body is never dry and it is believed that even if the entire water is pumped out it automatically fills up in a very short time.
A dip in the sea or Samudra near the Swargadwar area is considered very holy. This is the place where the sea is worshipped ritualistically with Samudra Arati every day. Swargadwar or gateway to heaven is believed to be a place that guarantees salvation.
These are the Pancha Tirthas of Puri and the fascinating facts associated with them. A trip to Puri would remain incomplete without experiencing these sublime water bodies attributed with sacred powers. To know more about what you can do at Puri, check out our blog on a day trip to Puri. You can always stay in the comfort of Sterling Puri and have a different holiday experience.