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Puri’s famous Jagannath Temple holds a prominent place of importance for devotees. It is one of the Char Dham pilgrimage sites in India, and is also well-known for the annual chariot festival or Rath Yatra. If various legends are to be believed, King Indradyumn built this holy shrine after Lord Vishnu blessed and guided him in his dreams to find Nila Madhava.
It was during one of the holy dips in the river, King Indradyumn found an iron rod floating. It is believed that Lord Vishnu then whispered to him that the floating rod is his heart, which will remain on the land forever. The king then ran with the rod to Lord Jagannath and placed it in him discreetly. He never allowed anyone to ever see or touch the rod.
It is also believed that when the Pandavas started their journey to Yamraj, Sapt Rishis advised them to visit the ‘Char Dham’ to get closer to ‘moksha.’ And, Jagannath Temple in Puri is one of holy places of ‘Char Dham.’ Since then, Jagannath idol has always remained off-limits for people, and devotees can see him only for a particular period of time.