This bathing place, where Vishnu is said to have resided as a neem tree, is particularly interesting in the mornings, when locals come here for their daily ablutions. For some it's a matter of personal hygiene, while others come to purify themselves after visiting the Swargadwar cremation grounds.
Markandeshwar Temple is a place where sage Markandeya meditated on lord Shiva. He saw a small child on a banyan leaf floating on the sea and wondered upon. Finally lord Vishnu assured him from the doubt. The ancient Markandeswar Shiva Temple is situated in the Markandeswar street by the side of the Markandeswar tank, to the north of the Jagannath temple, Puri. This place can be approached on the right side of Markandeswar road leading from Markandeswar chowk to Puri-Brahmagiri road. Markandeya tank is an open structure and it enclosed within a stone wall made of dressed laterite blocks. Bathing ghats are provided for the tourists in southern side of the tank. The tank is used for rituals as well as for normal bathing. Rituals like Pinda Dana, Mundan Kriya etc. are observed on the steps of the tank. Both Markandeswar temple and Markandeswar tank can be dated back to the 12th century AD. Puri became an important center of pilgrimage by the 12th century. The history in Puri also proves that Sri Ramanuja visited Puri during 1107 and 1117.
Hindus consider it essential to bathe in the Pancha Tirtha or the five sacred bathing spots of Puri, India, to complete a pilgrimage to Puri.The five sacred water bodies are:
Indradyumana Tank is located near the Gundicha Temple. The Mahabharat describes King Indradyumna's Ashvamedh Yagna and the advent of the four deities of the Jagannath cult.It describes how the holy Indradyumna tank was formed by the trodding of ground by thousands of cows donated by Indradyumna to Brahmins. To this day the Indradyumna tank is considered holy by pilgrims.
Rohini Kunda is a sacred well located inside the Jagannath Temple premises, near the Vimala Temple.The Rohini Kunda is considered the abode of Narayan. The holy banyan tree called the Akshaya Kalpavat located here is also worshipped. As per the Puranas,the hunter Jara Savara accidentally killed Krishna and cremated him. Krishna appeared in Jara's dreams and told him that his remains would transform into a log that would float from the sea to the Rohini Kunda. Indradyumna with Jara's help located the holy log from which the idol of Jagannath was carved.
Markandeya Tank is considered the starting point of pilgrimage, for pilgrims to Puri.The water body is around 4 acres in size with the Markandeshwar Temple dedicated to Shiva situated beside it.
Swetaganga Tank is located to the south of Nilachal.Temples dedicated to the Matsya Avatar of Vishnu and King Sweta are located on the banks of the tank.
The Sea also called the Mahodadhi is considered a sacred bathing spot in the Swargadwar area. The Samudra arati is a daily tradition started by the present Shankaracharya 9 years ago. The daily practise includes prayer and fire offering to the sea at Swargadwar in Puri by disciples of the matha. On Paush Purnima of every year the Shankaracharya himself comes out to offer prayers to the sea.
According to another version the 5 tirthas of Puri are the 5 important places all Pilgrims coming to Puri must visit:1.BalaramaThe 2.Akshay Vata 3.Markandeyatank 4.Indradyumnatank 5.The Sea.