History of Puri



History of Puri dates back to the period when the town was inhabited by the Sabaras, a Pre-Dravidian and Pre-Aryan tribe belonging to the Austro-Asiatic family. During the 7th and 8th centuries, Puri had been a provincial outpost that linked eastern India with the South.

Owing to its religious association with Sankaracharya (a Hindu reformer), Puri became one of the new centers for the practice of reformed Hinduism. In fact, Puri became an important center of pilgrimage by the 12th century. The history in Puri also proves that Sri Ramanuja visited Puri during 1107 and 1117. Sri Ramanuja was followed by Vishnu Swami, who is known to establish the Vishnuswami Matha, near Markandeshwar Tank.

With the arrival of the Gangas in the 12th century, Puri emerged as one of the centers of Vaishnavism. Anantavarman Chodaganga, one of the powerful rulers of Puri, established the Purusottama temple in 1135. Purusottama Temple later came to be known as the Jagannath Temple in the 15th century.

Under the Mughals, Orissa was divided into three revenue collection circars. The three circars of Orissa included Bhadrak, Jaleswar and Kataka with Puri being a part of the Kataka circar.

The history of Puri also reveals that in the 16th century, Puri was captured by the Afghans. The Afghans destroyed the Jagannath temple and reduced it to ruins. The temple was restored by the Marathas, who ruled Orissa for a short time. Under the British, the Jagannath temple was managed by the King of Orissa. The temple is also said to enjoy certain privileges under the British.

Until 1816, Puri remained the capital of Orissa, as well as the headquarters of the Collector. In 1806, the government rejected the proposal of shifting the headquarters to Jajpur but in 1814, the headquarters were transferred to Cuttack. The headquarters was shifted back to Puri in the month of December, 1814. In 1816, the headquarters was again shifted back to Cuttack.

Historical facts about Puri reveal that Orissa was culled from Bihar in 1936. In 1948, Puri was integrated with Orissa (1st January, 1948). Until 1995, the province continued to be divided. The territory of Puri was divided into 3 subdivisions in 1995. Presently, the district of Puri comprises of the Puri Sadar division.

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Last Updated on : 22/06/2013