On the edge of New Delhi’s trendy Hauz Khas Village, the Jagannath Temple is worth a visit for its striking white domed architecture alone, complete with engraved spires and an elaborate gateway. It’s also a great way to gain insight into the traditions and culture of the Oriya people of East India, the temple’s primary target community.
This stunning white temple (mandir) is formally known as Sree Neelachala Seva Sangha Jagannath Temple but commonly referred to as simply Jagannath. Dedicated to the Hindu Lord Jagannath, it is an important place of worship for Hindus from the state of Odisha (formerly Orissa), in East India, where the deity is particularly revered. Its exteriors are striking, with white, intricately carved domes and screens, built in a style typical of what one might find in Odisha. The temple also provides accommodation for community members visiting on pilgrimage.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Jagannath is great for those interested in religious architecture.
- Dress conservatively, with knees and shoulders covered.
- As standard with Indian places of worship, you must leave your footwear at the front door.
- The temple is not accessible to wheelchair users.
How to Get There
Jagannath lies on the main road that leads from South Delhi’s Aurobindo Marg to trendy Hauz Khas Village, a popular neighborhood for shopping and dining. The nearest metro stations are the Yellow Line’s Green Park, about a 10-minute walk from the temple, and the Yellow and Magenta Lines’ Hauz Khas, just a bit farther away.
When to Get There
The temple is open from 4:30am to 1:30pm and 4pm to 10pm daily. The best time of year to explore is during Rath Yatra, held in June or July (depending on the Hindu calendar). This annual festival is among the most important holidays for the people of Odisha, and involves a public procession in which temple deities are carried on chariots throughout the community.
From Jagannath to Juggernaut
Widely revered in East India, the Hindu god Shri Jagannath is considered an incarnation of Lord Vishnu, the preserver in the Hindu trinity. The most famous temple to the god is located in Puri, in East India, where idols are taken out in wheeled chariot-like cars during annual Rath Yatra processions. The English word juggernaut comes from Jagannath and refers to these cars, which supposedly would crush devotees who got in their way.