Jagannath is a Sanskrit name used to describe a deity form of Krishna. The term means master (nath) of the universe (jagat). The oldest and most famous Jagannath deity is in the city of Puri, in Odisha, India (the city is also known as Jagannath Puri) where each year the famous Rath Yatra (chariot carnival) festival takes place. The Temple of Lord Jagannath Of Puri was built by the Ganga dynasty king Anantavarman Chodaganga in the 12th century CE, as suggested by the Kendupatna copper-plate inscription of his descendant Narasimhadeva II.

Anantavarman was originally a Shaivite and became a Vaishnavite sometime after he conquered the Utkala region (in which the temple is located) in 1112 CE. An 1134–1135 CE inscription records his donation to the temple. Therefore, the temple construction must have started sometime after 1112 CE.

The Temple of Lord Jagannath of Puri is one of the major temples in India. The worship of Lord Jaganatha is so ancient that there is no accurate record of how long it has been going on. It is strictly forbidden for non-Hindus to enter the Jaganatha temple. The temple is built in Kalinga style of architecture. It consists of a tall shikhara (dome) housing the sanctum sanctorum (grabhagriha). A pillar made of fossilized wood is used for placing lamps as an offering. The lion gate (Singhadwara) is the main gate to the temple, guarded by two guardian deities Jaya and Vijaya. A memorial column known as Aruna Stambha faces the main gate. This column was brought here by the Raja of Khurda from the sun temple of Konarak.

Once a year Lord Jaganatha, along with his brother Baladeva, and sister Subhadra, are taken out of the temple and pulled on huge chariots through the streets of Puri. Millions of devotees attend this festival every year, including the King of Puri, who sweeps the path in front of Lord Jaganatha cart.