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Sakshi Gopal Temple Puri Address: Sakhigopal Temple Rd | 20 km from Puri, Sakhigopal, Puri, Odisha, 752014, India
Sakshi Gopal Temple, dedicated to Lord Krishna, is located on the Puri-Bhubaneswar Highway, about 20 km away from the Jagannath Temple of Puri. Also known as Satyabadi Gopinatha Temple, this holy place is believed to have been built in the 11th century.
A unique thing about this temple is that the food offered by the devotees here is made of wheat, which is in contradiction to what is offered at all other Vishnu temples of the world, where food offerings are made of rice.
History of Sakshi Gopal Temple Puri
There are many legends associated with the Sakshi Gopal Temple. One of them being that this shrine was built by the grandson of Lord Krishna, King Vajra, who is believed to have built similar other holy shrines across the country in dedication of Lord Krishna.
Another legend is that a young village boy fell in love with a girl of the same village. While the boy was poor, the girl was the daughter of the headman of the village, who did not give consent for their marriage. Later that year, all villagers went to Kashi on a pilgrimage. During the journey, the headman fell ill and only this young boy stayed back and nursed him while the villagers went ahead.
The headman was impressed and agreed to get his daughter married to the boy but refused to fulfill his promise, as soon as they came back to the village. The headman told the boy to produce a witness who can support his claim.
The boy felt betrayed and prayed to Lord Krishna, who appeared in front of him as cow herder, Gopal and agreed to become his witness but only on one condition that the boy walk ahead towards the village and not look back. If he does so, the Lord will stop at the same place and not go ahead. The boy agreed and Lord followed him.
At one point, when they were walking over a sandy area, the boy could not hear the Lord’s footsteps and turned back to see him. Instantly, Lord turned into a stone figure. The devastated boy called all the villagers and showed them the statue of Lord Krishna and told them the truth about it. This convinced the villagers about his claim and later the couple was permitted to get married. The villagers built a small temple for the Lord and started calling him ‘Sakshi Gopal,’ meaning the God who was a witness.
One of the major festivals celebrated at the shrine is Amla Navami. A large number of devotees flock to this temple during the festival. On this special occasion, the devotees are allowed to touch the feet of Goddess Radha. Other festivals that are celebrated with great vigor at the temple are Janmashtami, Radha Ashtami and Holi.
Architecture of Sakshi Gopal Temple Puri
The shrine boasts of Kalinga architectural style and looks similar to the famous Jagannath Temple. Its main verandah has a number of bells while the hall features beautiful designs on the walls. The main sanctum has a large statue of Lord Krishna playing flute and a bronze idol of Goddess Radha, by his side.
Image Gallery of Sakshi Gopal Temple Puri
Things to do in Sakshi Gopal Temple Puri
Besides exploring the architecture of the shrine and offering prayers to the deities at the Sakshi Gopal Temple, tourists can visit the popular Jagannath Temple in Puri. In addition, they can visit the serene Puri Beach to spend some quality time, enjoying the cool breeze from the sea and relaxing on the beach.
Sakshi Gopal Temple Puri Timings and Entry fee
The temple remains open on all days of the year, from 6 am to 9 pm. There is no entry fee to visit the shrine.
How to reach Sakshi Gopal Temple Puri
The Sakshi Gopal Temple lies at an approximate distance of 1.5 km from the Puri Railway Station. On the other hand, it is about 2.7 km away from the Puri Bus Stand. Private taxis, auto rickshaws and battery-operated rickshaws can be easily availed from the bus stand and the railway station to reach the temple in no time.
Currently, there are no airports in Puri; the nearest one to the city is the Biju Patnaik International Airport in Bhubaneswar, about 57 km away. Tourists flying to Bhubaneswar can hire private taxis from the list of top car rental companies in Bhubaneswar till Puri. Alternatively, they can head to the Bhubaneswar Railway Station to catch a train to Puri; it takes only about an hour. There is a bus stand outside the railway station, from where tourists can board AC buses to travel to Puri.
Things to keep in mind while visiting Sakshi Gopal Temple Puri
- Photography is prohibited inside the temple
- Littering inside the premises should be avoided
- Beware of priests who might ask for money to perform special poojas
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