Puri is a coastal district of the Odisha state of India, famous for its historic antiquities, religious sanctuaries, architectural grandeur, sea-scape beauty, and its moderate climate. It holds a wealth of attractions for visitors. It boasts a continuous history from the 3rd century B.C. to the present, and unique monuments such as those of Lord Jagannath at Puri, and the Sun God at Konark. It has the Chilika Lake, the largest brackish water lakes in India, that holds a picturesque sea-scape beauty. It offers an ideal resort for birds who migrate from different parts of the continent. By virtue of its geographical location, the climate of Puri is equable throughout the year.
This district comprises 1714 revenue villages. It has one subdivision (Puri Sadar), 11 tehsils and 11 blocks. Puri is the only municipality of the district.
History of Puri district,Odisha
Like many other parts of Odisha, in the Puri District, river gravels and slits may be included among the various Pleistocene formations. But no formation of this period has so far yielded any type of pre-historic stone tool though they are found in a large number from similar formations (river gravels, secondary laterite pits and murrams) in the districts of Dhenkanal, Mayurbhanj, Keonjhar and Sundargarh. So whatever information we have regarding the pre-historic cultures of this districts are mainly derived from different types of stone tools collected from the surface.
In the drama Anargharaghava Natakam attributed to circa 9th century CE, we find the name Purusottama applied to this town. In the Nagari Plate of Anangabhima III of the Saka year 1151-52 i.e. 1229-30 CE, the place is called Purusottama Kshetra. This name in the form of Purusottama Chhatar or only in the form Chhatar was used by the Mughals, the Marathas as well as the early British rulers in their official records. Even in Yoginitantra and Kalikapurana the city is referred to as Purusottam. Puri region was also known as Utkal.
The name Purusottama Kshetra was also for sometime known as Purusottama Puri. As the word Purusottama Kshetra was contracted into Kshetra or Chhatra, so also Purusottama Puri was expressed in the contracted form as Puri. In fact, in many early British records this town is known by the name Pooree. In modern times, the name of Puri has become the most popular of all the other names used for this town.
History of Puri district,Odisha
Under Mughal Rule (1592–1751), Odisha for the purpose of revenue administration was divided into three circars, namely Jaleswar, Bhadrak and kataka each of which Under Mughal was subdivided into Bishis. Puri formed a part of kataka circar. After their occupation of Odisha in 1751, the Marathas brought about some changes in the revenue divisions of the province . They divided Odisha, which then extended from the river Suvarnarekha in the north to the lake Chilika in the south, into five Chakalas viz. (I) Pipli, (II) Kataka (III)Soro, (IV) Balasore. The Chakala of Pipli comprised major portions of the modern district of Puri. The Chakalas were divided into parganas into Mahals or Taluqs. The conquest of Odisha by the British in 1803 set fourth great changes in revenue divisions and political relations . In June 1804, the province was divided into two divisions, namely the Northern and Southern Divisions, the river Mahanadi forming the boundary. Robert Ker and Charles Groeme were appointed as Judge, Magistrate and collector in Northern and Southern Divisions respectively. By 1805 both divisions were amalgamated and G.Webb succeeded Groene as collector and Robert Ker became the Judge and Magistrate of the whole province.
As the Raja of Khurdha revolted the 1804, he was arrested and was placed in confinement in the Fort of Barabati at Cuttack. His territory was confiscated and the Raja was subsequently released. In 1807 he was permitted to live at Balisahi in the town of Puri and functioned as superintendent of the temple of Jagannath. Puri was the capital of the province of Odisha and the headquarters of the collector, till 1816. In 1806 there was a proposal to remove the headquarters to Jajpur, but it didn’t get Government sanction. In August 1814, a part of the collectors establishment was removed to Cuttack, which was again brought back to Puri in December. By 1816 the headquarters was permanently shifted to Cuttack which was Headquarters during Moghal and Marathas. By 1818 the office of the commissioner was established and Robert Ker became the first commissioner. From 1813 to 1819 there was a joint Magistrate at Puri with the jurisdiction over the Thana of Pipli, Gop, Hariharpur and Kiran. By 1819 this office was abolished and the joint magistrate of Khurdha was given the charge of the above thanas. On 11 February 1822, the office of the joint magistrate of Khurdha was abolished and Odisha was again divided into two divisions with the river Baitarani as the dividing line. Willkinson, the collector of Cuttack, was placed in charge of Cuttack and Khurdha and Ricketts with powers of a collector was given the charge of Balasore and Bhadrak.
Finally on 23 October 1828, the province was divided into three districts, namely Balaore, Cuttack and Jagannath, later known as Puri. Regulation IV of 1821 had provided that the power of a magistrate and collector might be vested in one and the same person and accordingly are magistrate and collector was appointed in each of the above three districts. H. Ricketts, R. Hunter and W. Willkinson were the first magistrate and collectors of Balasore, Cuttack and puri districts respectively.
In 1912 the new province of Bihar and Orissa was formed. Subsequently Orissa become a separate province in 1936. After integration with Orissa an 1 January 1948 of the feudatry states of Nayagarh, Daspalla, Khandapara and Ranapur with a total area of 3941 1st km. a separate Sub-Division comprising these ex-states was added to Puri District with headquarters at Nayagarh. The fourth Sub-Division of Bhubaneswar was carried out on 26 January 1959. The old Puri District consisted of four Sub-Division i.e. Puri Sadar, Khurdha, Bhubaneswar and Nayagarh, Puri Sadar Sub-Division consists of four Tahasils i.e. 1) Krushna Prasad 2) Sadar 3) Pipili, 4) Nimapara.
Again by the year 1995 the Puri District was divided into 3 Districts:
Culture and Tradition
Puri is one of the fascinating littoral district of Odisha. The Cultural heritage of Puri with its long recorded history beginning from third century B.C. till present day, The monuments and religious sanctity, way of life of the people with their rich tradition possess emphatically to be the cultural heart of Odisha. In deed Puri is consider cultural capital of Odisha. The culture here is flourished with its manifold activities.
The District has the happy conglomeration of different religions, sects and faith in course of history. Majority of the people are Hindus. The other important communities like Muslims, Sikhs, jains, Christians and tribals found here in the District. The Hindu monuments of various sectors like Shaivism, Vaishnavism, Sakti cult, Ganapatya, Mahabir etc. are found. Similarly Muslim Mosques, Christian Churches are also noticed here.
The grandeur of architecture and the crafts maintop of the sculptures speak high of the cultural history of Puri District. A comprehensive list of Hindu temples in and around Puri district is available in the External links section below.
Traditional Fairs and Festivals
It is said that 13 festivals are celebrated in calendar year relating to Lord Jagannath. Some important festivals related of Lord Jagannath and others are listed below.
Other Festivals for Tourists
In all the festivals Odissi dance and folk dances from different parts of the country are staged.