History of Shree Khetra
Puri the spiritual capital of the State is popularly known as Shree Khetra. ‘Shree’ means ‘Mahalaxmi’, the wife of Lord Jagannatha, and ‘Khetra’ means land/kingdom. So Puri is the kingdom of Mahalaxmi who happens to be the goddess of wealth, beauty, and prosperity.
Puri the spiritual capital of the state of Odisha and popularly known as Jagannath Puri, Nilachala, Nilagiri, Niladri, Purusottam Khetra, Srikhetra, Shreekhetra and Sankha Khetra, occupies a significant place in the map of tourism and field of spiritualism of the country for its magnificent culture and striking beauty. Puri, the sacred place of pilgrimage, is situated on the sea i.e. Bay of Bengal. The Khetra, according to the Sanskrit writers, extends from the temple of Lokanath on the west to that of Vilveswar on the east and from the eternal sea to the Matianadi, a small stream. But as two krosas out of the five have been, it is said, engulfed by the sea, the remainder very closely represents the present extent. This sacred tract is said to resemble in shape a conch-shell, sankha, which is one of the four ayudhas of Vishnu, others being chakra (discus), gada (mace) and Padma (lotus). Puri is known as Sankhakhetra and Bhubaneswar, Jajpur and Konark are respectively called Chakrakhetra, Gadakhetra, and Padmakhetra.
In ancient Indian religion and learning were very closely intermingled and each Dham was also a center of learning, culture, and religion. Puri, being one of the four Dhams of the country, was not an exception to this traditional view. Voluminous works in Sanskrit containing accounts of ancient Indian history, culture, mythology, philosophy, religion, etc. present a detailed picture of the origin of Lord Jagannath and Jagannath Puri. Prominent among the Puranas are the Skanda Purana, the Matsya Purana, the Brahma Purana, the Bamadeva Samhita, the Niladri Mahodaya, even the Ramayana and the Mahabharata describe the importance of Lord Jagannath and Jagannath Dham.
Puri has a salubrious climate and attracts tourists from all over the world around the year and particularly during the summer months. It has one of the finest beaches of the world and is the home of numerous artisans and craftsmen who produce rare and exquisite handicrafts of a large variety.
Apart from the two main attractions i.e. the Temple of Jagannath and Sea Beach, other places of cultural importance and scenic beauty, which arrest the attention of the tourists.
From all these above-mentioned angles, spiritual, cultural, historical and philosophical, Puri, no doubt is a worth-visiting place, which always stands committed to Welcome the tourists not only from India but abroad, irrespective of caste, creed, and color, through its ever flying Patitapabana Flag and everflowing waves of the Bay of Bengal.
Also Read: Stories behind Tahiya of Lord Jagannath , Lord Balabhadra & Subhadra