I shall deal in this paper with the Jagannath temple of Puri which nowadays constitutes one of the biggest remaining North Indian temple and pilgrimage centers. This town of 60,000 inhabitants still draws approximately one million pilgrims annually from all over India. Puri is situated on the seashore of the Bay of Bengal and is the greatest temple town of Orissa, an Indian province lying adjacent in a westerly direction to the province of Bengal. The present temple was constructed in the eleventh century, and the God's name, Jagannath, which translates as ‘ruler of the world’, spells out well the intent of the founders of the temple, the Ganga, the main dynasty of medieval Orissa. The name was appropriate, because the history of the Gangas shows that they dedicated their kingdom to Jagannath and they only ruled as regents or ministers on behalf of their deity. In the context of the overall Indian high tradition, Jagannath is regarded as the ninth incarnation of Vishnu. The sculpture that is actually worshipped in the temple is singular in the Indian setting. It is the only wooden idol which receives veneration, and in addition, this sculpture is, compared to the conventional blue-stone images of Vishnu, of a particularly crude, quasitotemistic style. This strange, iconographic artifact has never deterred the Oriyas from lavishing a splendid ritual in honour of their Overlord. In the course of thirteen daily main rituals, the God receives three meals, the main lunch consisting of fifty-six different dishes (the temple kitchen houses 270 hearths and ovens); he is dressed and undressed four times a day; and some 10,000 priests organized into 108 different service-groups attend to his needs and desires.