Puri District is a coastal District on the eastern part of Odisha, India. This District needs no introduction, being the abode of Mahaprabhu Shri Vishnu, most popularly known as Mahaprabhu Shri Jagannath. This District derives its name from the heritage city of Puri, one of the four pilgrimage centres ( Char Dham) of India. Covering an area of 3479 sq/kms, the District may be divided into two dissimilar natural divisions-the Littoral tract and the Level alluvial tract. It is also located at 19’ 28 N Latitude 26’ 35 N, 84’ 29 E. Longitude 86’ 25 E. Its altitude is at sea level. The population of the District is 16, 98, 730 (as per 2011 Census) and the density of population is 488 people per sq. km. The rural population is 14,33,800 and the urban, 2,64,930. SC population is 3, 25, 133 and ST is 4, 482. The District is quite literate in the sense that its literates number 1, 291,939 as against the illiterates numbering 4, 06, 791. Paddy, Wheat, Mung, Biri, Kulthi and groundnut are some of the major crops grown in the District.
Average literacy rate of Puri in 2011 were 84.67 compared to 77.96 of 2001. If things are looked out at gender wise, male and female literacy were 90.85 and 78.28 respectively. For 2001 census, same figures stood at 88.08 and 67.57 in Puri District. Total literate in Puri District were 1,291,939 of which Male and Female were 704,857 and 587,082 respectively. In 2001, Puri District had 1,024,523 in its district.
The number of rivers flowing through the District helps in sustaining the agriculture. Being in close proximity to the Bay of Bengal, this District has tropical climate. The summers are from March to June, monsoons from June to September and winters are from October to February. The minimum temperature of the District is approximately 16. 45 degrees Celsius and the maximum 33. 9 degrees Celsius.
Handicraft and cottage industries of this District is famous the world over, its original source being the temple craft of Mahaprabhu Shri Jagannath and the World famous Sun Temple at Konark. The rich traditional culture and heritage of the District gives a boost to this industry. The important products of this industry are in applique, stone carving, patta chitra, wood carving, modern patch work, terracotta, bell metal, and sea shell items etc. The District Industries Centre, on its part has imparted training and upgraded the skill of the traditional artisan families and other economically weaker sections of the people, thus improving their per capita income. It has introduced many promotional schemes and also promotes handicraft training schools and coir training centers etc. There are also a number of small scale industries running in this District.
Another attraction of the district is the world-famous Chilika Lake, rich in biodiversity. This natural lake attracts millions of tourists every year for its habitat of Irawadi dolphins and Migratory (Siberian) birds.
Sri Jagannath Sanskrit University, Odia University, Samanta Chandra Sekhar Autonomous College, Rastriya Sanskrit Santhan Deemed University-Sadasiv Parishar, Gangadhar Mohapatra Law College , Govt Womens College, Shri Jagannath Medical College & Hospital, Gopabandhu Ayurveda Mahavidyalaya and ITI Puri are some of the leading educational institutions of this District.
Puri District has given birth to a number of eminent personalities-both past and present. The past personalities included Jayadeva, Gobardhan Acharya, Sridhara Swamy,Chakhi Khuntia (Chandan Hajuri), Buxi Jagabandhu Bidyadhar Mahapatra, Sahid Jayi Rajguru, Raya Ramananda Pattanayak, Kanhai Khuntia, Jayadeva-II, Kavi Chintamani Mishra, Balaram Das, Attibadi Jagannath Das, Bhakta Kavi Salbeg, Dinakrushna Das and Utkalmani Pandit Gopabandhu Das, Padma Bhusan Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra( Odishi Dance), Guru Pankaj Charan Das (Odissi Dance), Guru Singhari Shyam Sundar Kar (Odissi Song), Guru Kashi Nath Pujapanda( Odissi Song).
Noted present personality who has brought laurels for the District both in India and abroad is Padma Bhusan Sudarsan Sahoo (Stone Sculptor), Padma Shri Sudarsan Pattnaik ( Sand Artist) .