The celebrated Temple of Lord Jagannath now existent at Puri was constructed by Raja Ananta Varman Chodaganga Dev in 12th century A.D. The wooden images of Jagannath Balabhadra and Subhadra were installed in that temple. The management of the temple continued under the Hindu rulers till 1558, when the State of Orissa was conquered by the Afghan Nawab of Bengal and the temple was attacked by the Afgan General Kalapahad. Then, an independent Khurda kingdom was established by Ramachandra Deb, who assumed the management of the temple. He consecrated the temple and reinstalled the deities. Raja Mansingh, a General of the Mughal King Akbar, defeated the Afghans and annexed Orissa in to the Mughal dominion. It remained under the Mughals till 1751 A.D. Till 1760, the temple continued under the Khurda Raja, who was paying tribute to Mughals and Marhattas. Marhattas took up direct management of the temple till 1803. The Britishers annexed Orissa into British empire in 1803 and allowed Puri Raja to manage the temple. The position continued till 1947.
Nestling on the eastern coast along the blue waters of the Bay of Bengal the unique State of Orissa offers to her guests a 'tourism capsule' containing magnificent temples, sunny beaches, colourful wildlife, traditional tribal culture and a rich heritage.To her credit, it has housed the important pilgrimage center for the Hindus - Puri, the 13th century magic carved on sand stone - Konark, the largest brackish water lake of the continent - Chilika, the wonder greenland of the white tigers - Nandankanan, and many more caves, Chaityas, Stupas. temples, forts and palaces. Statistics suggests,most of the visitors frequent this place for Lord Jagannath and the blue bay.
While several temples have vanished or have declined in importance, the great temple of Lord Jagannath at Puri is still a living and vibrant temple. Over the centuries it has attracted kings, conquerers, religious teachers, devotees and pilgrims. In the minds of the millions of Indians, Orissa is the land of Jagannath. This temple of Lord Jagannath ('Lord of the Universe') at Puri is one of the most sacred pilgrimage spots in India, one of the four abodes (dhamas) of the divine that lie on the four directions of the compass.