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Puri District

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About the Puri district

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Brief About Puri District
Puri being a coastal district of Orissa , is famous for its Historic antiquities ,Religious sanctuaries , Architectural Grandeur , Sea-scape beauty,moderate climate.It holds a wealth of attraction for the visitors. It boasts of a continuous history from the 3rd Century B.C. to the present day and its unique monuments like those of Lord Jagannath at Puri , the Sun God at Konark are the famous in the world. It has the Chilika lake , one of 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 Geographical location , the climate of Puri is equable through out the year.

Puri the abode of Vishnu as Jagannath which contributed the word " Juggernaut"   to the English language, represents its integrated individuality as its cultural heritage , a unique blend of claims of time and eternity with a power answerable only to wisdom . Puri's compendious heritage has been representing that spark of immortality that the Oriyas and the Indians have own against the powers of negation , through a spirit of university , adaptability , and an astute mixture of the present which no other culture can aspire to explain as its self justification. The name of the Lord as Purusottama (perfection personified) or as Jagannath (Lord of Universe) represents a universality in true with the familiar faternity of mankind (Vasudheiva Kutumbakam).  Adi Shankaracharya visited Puri , set up the Gobardhan matha (monastery) as the exception from his other three mathas as a vaishnavite, defined Jagannath as the Supreme one. It is thus not only one of the four Dhams (Holy Places) for Hindus but  the most pious   and sacred place.  

Various sectarian head visited Puri on piligrimage , setup his own monastery for continued serve to Lord Jagannath and returned .
Spiritually mollified - The list includes Kabir and the "Torani' of Kabirchaura nayak the founder of Shikhism , visited Puri and gained entrance into the temple by performing a miraculous feat of showing the trinity reflected on his palms . He setup the bauli and Mangi mathas which still attract the Shikhs from the worldover . Sankar Deva of Assam had followed the same path . Other religious heads and dignifiers like Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Rai Ramananda , Jayadeva, Gorakhanath, the father of Nath, cult of religious  icoloclasm   supposed by visited Puri. Saint Totapuri  a vedant teacher of Ramakrishna has also visited puri.
Bhakti Krishnatirtha and Muquaddam Jahanies visited Puri . The latters synthesized "Pir" concept at konark bears testimony . Sridhar Swami , SadhuSundar Das and the devote ma   visited Puri for fulfilment of their spiritual Craze.
The Quintessential characteristic of its culture and philosophy has made it from Pan-Indian to Pan-Continental. The Car-Festicval of Shri Lord Jagannath now not limited to Puri or Orissa rather it is celebrated in global scale , the reverberation echos of which are heard from Los Angeles to Piccadily  from Heidelberg to Tokyo.
The Jagannath culture is not only pre-dominated in Puri but it is global. Its Universal affirmation is secular defusion of such an  attitude is futuristic. It calls for unity in diversity is an age of diverse perversity. The consecration of all the empire by Gajapati of Puri .Kapilendra Deva to Lord Jagannath , the lord emerging as "istadeva " and "Rastradevata" and rolled down the centuries as the crest of nationalism which found Madhusudan Das (the eminent barister of British era )in 1928 to cryout 'serve us, Lord Jagannath'. The dazzle of Kohi-noor, originally gifted to Lord Jagannath , the Hum of devotional "Janana"(non-bhajan), the cries of  Chandan Hajuri (the chief warier of Maharani Laxmibai) and 'the Mahaprasad brotherhood'  have been unifying forces and symbols of national unity .
The evolution of Odissi Dance and music out of the Devadasi-institution still enchants all with its  mystic rhythm. The Orissan school of architecture emerging from here is a poetry frozen in stone.
The Patta-paintings and applique work are a craze in the west ,particularly in U.S.A. of today . The Shell-craft of Puri have a major appeal.
It is thus here at puri that the pattern of a Pan-Indian ,(nay, global) culture of tomorrow is on the anvil . People are individual atoms ever contributing their  properties to the "matter" of Jagannath Dharma without conciousness of mutual distinctions . Puri belongs to humanity , the seat  of an eternal education , the bridge that gulfs the past and the future and the blending of diverse impulses for a single embodiment in the march of all fulfilling time .

Temples and sanctuaries , beaches and glorious lakes, colorful ,vibrant and the numerous festivals for every reason and for every season that can take on a"Jagannath-like  momentum" .
Puri has then all and much more for all.
Excellently connected by air, rail,and road , Puri invites you   to its hospitable environs and promises you an experience you will never forget .When others talk of taking you down memory lane .
Puri will take you back to your ancient linkages . When others talk of romancing  with the stones, her ancient architects and sculptors will show you what it really means ,


Like many other parts of Orissa , in the Puri District , river gravels and slits may be included among the various Pleistone formations. But no formationof 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.

The District has been named after its head quartes town, Puri.According to Cunningham the ancient name of   this town was Charitra mentioned by the Chinese piligrim Hiuen Tsang as Che-li-ta-lo. But the restoration of the word Che-li-ta-lo as  Charitra and its identification with the town of Puri are open to doubt. The importance of the town as a seat of Vaisnavism increased when
 Chodaganga Deva constructed the temple of Purusottama Jagannath and installed the images of the deities. Thereafter , it became famous as the abode of Purusottama and was popularly called purusottama Kshetra.

In the drama Anargharaghava Natakam attributed to cir.9th century A.D. 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 A.D. , the place is called Purusottama  Kshetra . This name in the form of Purusottama  Chhatar or only in the form Chhatar was used by the Mughal , the Maratha as well as the early British  rulers in their official records . even in Yoginitantra and Kalikapurana the city is reffered to as Purusottam . Puri region was also known as  Utkal.

The name Purusottama Kshetra was also for sometimes known as purusottama Puri and as the word Purusottama  Kshetra was contracted into Kshetra or Chhatra so also Purusottama  Puri was expressed in the contracted form Puri . Infact , in many   early British records this town is known by the name Pooree. In modern times Puri has become the most popular of all the other names of this town.                                                      


Under Mughal Rule (1592-1751) ,Orissa 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 Orissa in 1751 , the Marathas brought about some changes in the revenue divisions of the province . they divided   Orissa , 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 Orissa 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 teritory 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 Orissa and the headquarters of the collector ,till  1816. In 1806 there was a proposal to             remove the head quarters 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 1916 the Head quarter was permanently shifted to Cuttack which was Head quarter 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 11th February 1822, the office of the joint  magistrate of Khurdha was abolished and Orissa 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 23rd 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 and subsequently Orissa a become a separate province in 1936 . After  intergration with Orissa an 1st 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 adede to Puri District with headquarters at Nayagarh. The fourth   Sub-Division of Bhubaneswar was carred at an 26th 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 devided into 3 District i.e

i) Nayagarh District comprises of Nayagarh Sub-Division.
ii) Khurdha District Comprises of Khuradha and Bhubaneswar Sub-Division and
iii) Puri District Comprises of Puri Sadar Sub-Division only.


The whole of the district may be divided into two dissimilar natural divisions
i) The littoral tract
ii) The level alluvial tract

i) The littoral Tract-: The strip of the country lies between the alluvial and the Bay of Bengal. It assumes the form of a bear but sandy ridger which stretches along the sea- shore for the full length of the District , Varying from 6.5 Km. to a few hundred metres in with . Accumulations of wind blown sand give rise to ridges parellel to the coast. It forms the dividing line between the Chilika lake and the ocean

ii)The Level Alluvial tract

This level of alluvial region is full of villages and rice fields, , watered by a network of channels, through which the water of distributaries of the most southerly branch of Mahanadi , find their way to the sea. There is no hill in Puri District except a small cultivate land are under plough. Generally biali or autumn rice , sarada or  winter rice and dalua or spring rice these three types of rice are cultivated.

Sea-coast Bays

The length of the sea-coast of the district of Puri is nearly 150.4 km. Sandy ridges are found along the sea-coast which stretch into the diostrict Jagatsingpur and Ganjam . One such sandy spit divides the lake Chilika from Bay of Bengal . These sandy ridges and  dunes  are formed by the strong monsoon currents which blow over the country for nearly 8 months of the year . The ridges vary from about 7 km to a few metres in width and have prevented most of the rivers of the district from finding their way into the ocean.

No Island is found in the coastal waters of Puri , but the Chilika lake is separated from the Bay of Bengal by a group of Islands.

Puri is endowed with no natural harbour nor its coast is suitable for any artifitial one.

River system
All the rivers of Puri distict have a common characteristics . In the hot weather they are beds of sand with tiny streams or none at all , while in the rains they recieve more water than they can carry  .Generally all rivers are distrributaries of Mahanadi rivers.
1) Kushabhadra
2) Daya
3) Bhargabi
4) Kadua

1) Kushabhadra- A branch of Kuakhai river starts from Balianta meets Bay of Bengal at the shrine Ramachandi , 15 miles east of Puri dhanua ande its tributary mugei joins with Kushabhadra.

2) Daya-A branch of Kuakhai river falls in Chilika lake . Two small rivers enter the Daya, the Gangua and the Managuni                 below Kanas. An important problem in connection with dayais that the Chilika lake at its outfall is  silting up.

3) bhargabi - A branch of Kuakhai meets the Bay of Bengal after breaking up into numerous branches in the last two and half miles of its course.
There are four main branches  all taking off from the left bank.viz. Kanchi , the east Kania   , the Naya nadi and the South kanchi falls in Sarlake; and by various channel the first three are interconnected and finally join the Suna munhi   river which falls into Bali Harchandi and ultimately to the Bay of Bengal via the mouth of Chilika. The South kania gets lost in the marshes on the western shore of Chilika.
There are two small rivers Ratnachira and Nuna falls in Bhargabi and Daya respectively.

Kadua -It is a Monsoon stream which falls into Prachi.

Prachi- It is the branch commencing from Puri and Jagatsinghpur district . It has the origin near Kantapara on Cuttack-Gop road and passing through the village of Kakatpur fall in Bay of Bengal.

Devi-It is branch of  Kathajori .It runs into Puri district near the extreme east forming numerous branches.

Lakes and Tanks

The Chilika lake
The Sar Lake