The last time I told a friend that I was going to Puri, he was rather shocked. After all, he knew that I don’t believe in “Gods”, and to visit one of the “Char Dhams” of Hinduism as an atheist was quite a surprise to him.
It’s true that I don’t associate myself with any religion, that I am atheist, but to say that a mighty temple of great historical significance can’t attract the attention of a non-believer would be an act of sheer stupidity. There’s a great feeling of excitement as one walks through the narrow alleys around the temple, catching the glimpse of the majestic monument through different angles. One must confess that the historicity of this majestic temple can be an awe inspiring moment for anyone who visits here. One doesn’t have to be a religious person to cherish the might of this historic monument.
There are strict rules of entry to the temple (only hindus allowed in the sanctum sanctorum or the chief darshan area), and the justification made for such selectivity is the series of foreign invasions made on the temple by the islamic rulers. Today the temple stands as a memorial of great ancient architecture that survived brutal raids at the hands of foreign invaders.