The Puri temple is built on a gigantic raised platform in the heart of the city, the temple complex is enclosed by a wall about seven meters high -including the 0 height of the platform. The area of this platform is more than 4, 20,000 sq.ft. Structurally the temple consists of four chambers. The four chambers are Bhogmandir, Natmandir, Jagmohana and finally the innermost sanctorum of the temple in which the prime deity of the temple is placed.
There are four gates: the eastern Singhadwara (Lion Gate), the southern Ashwadwara (Horse Gate), the western Vyaghradwara (Tiger Gate), and the northern Hastidwara (Elephant Gate). There is a carving of each form by the entrance of each gate. The Lion Gate, which is the main gate, is located on Grand Road. Thirty different smaller temples surround the main temple. The Narasimha Temple, adjacent to the western side of the Mukti-mandapa, is said to have been constructed before this temple even.
As we arrive at the vast open area in front of the Lions Gate (eastern gate), we see a monolithic pillar about 10 meters high. This pillar is known locally as the Aruna Stambha. In Hindu mythology Aruna is the charioteer of the Sun-god, the world famous Konarka temple was designed in the form of a stupendous chariot and this monolithic pillar with the beautifully carved Aruna seated on its top was installed right in front of the porch of that temple. When the temple was abandoned and there was no presiding deity in it, this pillar was removed from Konarka to Puri and was fixed in front of Jagannatha temple where we see it now.
The temple of Jagannatha at Puri is the earliest Ganga monument of Odisha .The massive edifice standing on a high platform connected with the ground led by a flight of 22 steps is the product of accumulated experience of the past temple architecture. The whole of the main temple was covered by a thick consisting of plaster, which earned for it the name 'White Pagoda'. The plaster has since been removed by the Archaeological Survey of India to reveal the beautiful stone carvings.
There is a wheel on top of the Jagannath Temple made of an alloy of eight metals (asta-dhatu). It is called the Nila Chakra (Blue Wheel), and is 3.5m (11 ft 8 in) high with a circumference of about 11m (36 ft). Every day, a different flag is tied to a mast attached to the Nila Chakra. Every Ekadasi, a lamp is lit on top of the temple near the wheel.