Shree Jagannath Temple

Shree Jagannath Temple

A decorated part of the very holy shrines of Chaar Dhaams, Jagannath Puri is a gem located in the heart of Orrisa. Located in Puri, this shrine is dedicated to Jagannath, heavenly form of Lord Vishnu. A triad of deities is worshipped in this shrine- Lord Jagannath, his brother Balabhadra and their sister Devi Subhadra. Made from the two simple words - Jagat+ Nath, the meaning comes out to be the “Lord of the Universe”.

Let’s discover the mysteries, significance and traditions that are followed in the holy shrine of Jagannath Puri!

History of Jaggannath Puri

The legend of the shrine’s origin is clearly depicted in the Brahma Puraan, Naarad Puran and Utkal Khanda of Skanda Puran. A devout devotee of Lord Vishnu, King Indradyumna was the one who built this beautiful temple.

A very interesting story follows the establishment of this shrine. The king was eager to know about Lord Jagannath’s  shrine located in the deep forest, which was being taken care of by Savar King Viswavasu. Acting upon his curiosity, he sent Vidyapati, a priest in his court to know the whereabouts of this shrine. To get all the information, he managed to marry the Savar King’s daughter Lalitha to gain his favor and know about the shrine.

Upon repeated asks and requests, he was allowed to enter the shrine but the condition was to enter blindfolded. He took mustard seeds with him so that when they grew, he’d be able to locate it easily.

But, the deity disappeared in sand before the king could be in his holy presence. Shattered with grief, he went to penance on Mount Neela, where he received an aakashvani. He was directed to bring logs of neem from Bankamuhana for making the three idols.  After the completion of these three idols, the shrine was established near Kalpabata.

With this beautiful story, the Jagannath Puri temple came into existence and has been around from indefinite times.

The beautiful architure of the temple

With a total area enclosing about 400,000 sq. ft exuding the classic Oriya style architectural design, the temple is surrounded by two concentric walls- Meghanada Pacheri and Kurma Bedha which are located inside and outside respectively. The area has around 120 shrines and temples built here.

The temple is divided into 4 main structures namely- Garbhgruh (Sanctum), Mukhasala (Front porch), Natamandir (Dancing hall) and Bhoga Mandapa (Offering area). A chakra made of astha dhatu is situated at the top of the main temple.

There are various entrances that guard the sanctum, the main one being the Singha Dwara ( Tiger gate with 2 lions in crouched position). Other entrances are named on other animals as well, denoting their strength and service to the lord. Their names are- Hathi Dwara (Elephant Gate), Vyaghra Dwara (Tiger Gate) and Ashwa Dwara ( Horse Gate). All these gates are decorated beautifully with carvings and depictions.

Many Mandapas and Snana Bedis are also present in the premises for chanting and cleansing of the idols, the main ones being Mukti Mandapa and Dol Mandapa. It is used to ready the idols for the Rath Yatra.

Mysteries that revolve around Jagannath Puri

Every sacred place holds many mysteries, stories and legends behind it that give it more strength and significance in every aspect.

According to many such legends, King Indrayumn is once believed to have been hit by a iron road floating in the water while taking a dip. It is believed that Lord Vishnu whispered to him that it was his heart and shall remain on this land for the times to come. It is said that the king placed the rod in Lord Jagganath’s idol and never allowed anyone to see it.

Another legend talks about the Pandavas, when they started their journey to moksha. Sapt Rishis advised them to visit the Chaar Dhaams, which is why it is only a selected few people who get to see the Lord for a particular amount of time.

Let’s take a look at some facts that surround the temple and are of much interest to our visitors!

Astonishing facts surrounding the temple

  • The temple is constructed in such a way that the sun’s position does not allow any shadows to be casted throughout the day.
  • The flag anointed at the top of the temple always flows in the opposite direction of the flow of the wind, despite any kind of weather.
  • The chakra set atop the shrine is positioned in such a way that it can be seen from any part of the city clearly, and it always seems to be facing you!- Clearly a scientific marvel!
  • No birds or airplanes fly above the temple. It is not declared as a no-fly zone by the government, just a divine power that governs the space!
  • The flag hoisted at the top of the temple has to be changed every day by a priest. If the ritual is skipped even for a day, the temple will be shut down for the next 18 years!
  • It is believed by many visitors that when you enter the shrine through the Singha Dwara, you will hear the sound of crashing waves but nothing after that.
  • The prasadam cooked for each day remains the same amount yet it has managed to feed around 20,000 devotees everyday without being wasted or remaining insufficient for any pilgrim.
  • 7 pots are used for cooking the prasadam. The mystery here is that the pots are placed on top of each other and yet the pot at the top is cooked first and not the bottom one!

The Main Attraction- Rath Yatra

How can we talk about Jagganath Temple without the world famous Rath Yatra?  This age old tradition is being carried out through many generations and is celebrated with much pomp and show in the whole country. Let’s take a look at its significance and the facts that will astonish you!

There are 3 chariots made for each deity. The devotees pull these chariots from the Jaggannath Puri temple to Gundicha temple located few miles away. The chariots go through the streets of Puri and the whole city is submerged in flowers and decorations.

The yatra is organized on the 2nd day of Shukla Paksha in June or July, whichever is more auspicious. The new raths are built every year and each one has its own distinctive features!

Lord Jaggannath- The chariot is named Nandigosha and comprises of 16 wheels covered in red and yellow clothing. Daruka is named the charioteer of the wheel and is pulled by a rope named Sankhachuda.

Lord Balbhadra- Known as Taladhvaja, his chariot is clothed in red and green and has 14 wheels. The charioteer is called Matali and the rope that pulls the chariot is Vasuli.

Goddess Subhadra- Her chariot is named Deviratha or Darpadalana. Having 12 wheels and covered in red and black, her charioteer is Arjun and the rope is known as Swarnachuda.

Significance of the Yatra

It is believed that anyone who draws the rope connected to these holy chariots pr even gets a chance to touch them is rid of many penances and sins. Legend has it that the god’s accourtrements become one and serve a holy light to the devotees.

Interesting Facts about The Rath Yatra

  • Each Rath’s top is made in such a way that they resemble the temple’s original structure. Each canopy is made with around 1200 meters of cloth!
  • Before the journey starts, the king of Puri or Gajapati, is supoosed to sweep the streets with a golden broom to signify that only lord is the true master and even the king is only a servant of God.
  • There has not been even a single Rath Yatra where heavy rainfall has not happened.
  • Acoording to the rules of the temple, only hindu devotees are allowed to enter. But on the day of the Yatra, anyone can come and seek blessings despite their religion or caste.

Rituals and Code of Conduct

Timings:

The temple is open all days of the week from 5am to 10pm. The ideal time to visit the premises is believed to be before 10 in the morning

Best time to Visit:

The best season to enjoy a wonderful visit to this holy shrine is between October to February. The climate is quite cool, soothing and pleasant to the senses. You can also enjoy the famous beaches around Puri. If you can, do visit during the world famous Rath Yatra. The months for that are June and July. Although it is the rainy season, the pomp and show in the air will make the experience much more memorable!

Pooja Vidhis and Rituals

  • Rituals start with Mangal Arti in the morning at 5am, then the deities are dresses according to the occasion. This vidhi is known as Beshalagi.
  • Again at 10am, with Bhoga served to the deities, the clothes are changed again. This is known as Sakala Dhupa.
  • Between 11 to 1pm, Madhayana Dhupa is performed with Upachars.
  • In Sandhya Dhupa, bhog is prepared again and poojas are performed between 7 to 8 pm.
  • At last, Mailam and Chandan Lagi is done to clean and prepare the deities for the next day.

Apart from all these rituals, keep in mind to keep yourselves clean and consume vegetarian foods that fit in the norms.

Places to Visit near Jagannath Puri

Apart from Jaggannath Puri, there are many beautiful places nearby your destination to enjoy a breath of fresh air for yourselves.

  • Pipili- Famous for its Applique work, this craft village is decorated with its own artworks for the visitors to enjoy. Every household item like table covers, bed covers and décor items are available with this artwork for sale as well. Remanant of the mughal empire’s rich culture, this place draws many visitors from far and wide.
  • Konark Temple- This world heritage site, The Sun Temple of Konark is a visual delight in itself. Mixing scientific knowledge with architectural marvels, this temple worships the Sun God, Surya Dev.  You can purchase a ticket with minimal cost from ASI office and enjoy its beauty!
  • Satapada- Located on the southeast of Chilika lake, Satapada is a beautiful lake side resort. A cluster of 7 small islands, the name means seven villages combined together. This resort is a very exotic place to enjoy the natural beauty surrounding Puri and the water sports too.

How to Reach Jagannath Puri

As your travel agency, we will make all your travel arrangements for you to curate a seamless travel experience for you. These are some of the ways you can reach Puri-

By Airways- A direct flight to Bhubaneshwar’s Biju Patnaik International Airport. Catch this flight from any major city like Chennai, Mumbai, Vishakhapatnam, Bangalore, Delhi and more. For connection, take any flight to these major cities.

By Railway- Take a direct train to Puri from any city. The station is just 3 km from the main shrine.You can also connect from any main city.

By Roadways- For travelling through roadways, many buses are available 24 hours as the city is very busy.  Other nearby cities like Bhubaneshwar, Cuttack, Brahmapur and Jamsehdpur also have regular buses to the temple.

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