Puri – Jagannath Temple

Jagannath is manifestation of Lord Vishnu, god Krishna, god Vishnu, and part of the Char Dham pilgrimages that a Hindu is wishes to make in one’s lifetime.

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How to reach

  • Puri is well connecte by Road, Rail and air
  • The nearest airport is Bhubaneswar, 60 km.

Contact us

Board: Shree Jagannath Temple Managing Committee, Puri

Governing body: Shree Jagannath Temple Office, Puri

Shree Jagannath Temple
Administration, Puri

Phone : +91-6752-222002/252900
Fax :+91-6752-252100
E-Mail : jagannath[dot]or[at]nic.in
Web: jagannath.nic.in
www.nabakalebara.gov.in

Shree Mandira Samachar

  • Icons of Jagannath is of wooden unlike other deities are made out of Stone or metal.
  • Every twelve or nineteen years these wooden figures are ceremoniously replaced by using sacred trees, that have to be carved as an exact replica. The reason behind this ceremonial tradition is the highly secret Navakalevara (‘New Body’ or ‘New Embodiment’) ceremony, an intricate set of rituals that accompany the renewal of the wooden statues.
  • The temple was built in the 12th century
  • The temple is famous for its annual Rath Yatra, (chariot festival) in which the three main temple deities are hauled on huge and elaborately decorated temple cars.
  • The temple is sacred to the Vaishnava traditions and saint Ramananda who was closely associated with the temple.
  • Followers of the Gaudiya Vaishnavism whose founder, Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, was attracted to the deity, Jagannath, and lived in Puri for many years.

Deities

The Gods Jagannath, Balabhadra and the Goddess Subhadra constitute the main trinity of deities worshiped at the temple. The temple iconography depicts these three Gods sitting on the bejewelled platform or the Ratnabedi in the inner sanctum. The Sudarshan Chakra, deities of Madanmohan, Sridevi and Vishwadhatri are also placed on the Ratnavedi. The temple icons of Jagannath, Balabhadra, Subhadra and Sudarshan Chakra are made from sacred Neem logs known as Daru Brahma.

Source: Skanda-Purana, Brahma Purana and other Puranas

Legends

Legendary account as found in the and later Oriya works state that Lord Jagannath was originally worshipped as Lord Neela Madhaba by a Savar king (tribal chief) named Viswavasu. Having heard about the deity, King Indradyumna sent a Brahmin priest, Vidyapati to locate the deity, who was worshipped secretly in a dense forest by Viswavasu. Vidyapati tried his best but could not locate the place. But at last he managed to marry Viswavasu’s daughter Lalita. At repeated request of Vidyapti, Viswavasu took his son-in-law blind folded to a cave where Lord Neela Madhaba was worshipped.

Vidyapati was very intelligent. He dropped mustard seeds on the ground on the way. The seeds germinated after a few days, which enabled him to find out the cave later on. On hearing from him, King Indradyumna proceeded immediately to Odra desha (Odisha) on a pilgrimage to see and worship the Deity. But the deity had disappeared. The king was disappointed. The Deity was hidden in sand. The king was determined not to return without having a darshan of the deity and observed fast unto death at Mount Neela, Then a celestial voice cried ‘thou shalt see him.’ Afterwards the king performed a horse sacrifice and built a magnificent temple for Vishnu. Sri Narasimha Murti brought by Narada was installed in the temple. During sleep, the king had a vision of Lord Jagannath. Also an astral voice directed him to receive the fragrant tree on the seashore and make idols out of it. Accordingly, the king got the image of Lord Jagannath, Balabhadra, Subhadra and Chakra Sudarshan made out of the wood of the divine tree and installed them in the temple.

Indradyumna’s prayer to Lord Brahma

King Indradyumna put up for Jagannath the tallest monument of the world. It was 1,000 cubits high. He invited Lord Brahma, the cosmic creator, consecrate the temple and the images. Brahma came all the way from Heaven for this purpose. Seeing the temple he was immensely pleased with him. Brahma asked Indradyumna as to in what way can he (Brahma) fulfill the king’s desire, since was very much pleased with him for his having put the most beautiful Temple for Lord Vishnu. With folded hands, Indradyumna said, “My Lord if you are really pleased with me, kindly bless me with one thing, and it is that I should be issueless and that I should be the last member of my family.” In case anybody left alive after him, he would only take pride as the owner of the temple and would not work for the society.

Legend surrounding the Temple origin

The traditional story concerning the origins of the Lord Jagannath temple is that here the original image of Jagannath (a deity form of Vishnu) at the end of Treta yuga manifested near a banyan tree, near seashore in the form of an Indranila mani or the Blue Jewel. It was so dazzling that it could grant instant moksha, so the god Dharma or Yama wanted to hide it in the earth, and was successful. In Dvapara Yuga King Indradyumna of Malwa wanted to find that mysterious image and to do so he performed harsh penances to obtain his goal. Vishnu then instructed him to go to the Puri seashore and find a floating log to make an image from its trunk.

The King found the log of wood. He did a yajna from which god Yajna Nrisimha appeared and instructed that Narayana should be made as fourfold expansion, i.e. Paramatma as Vasudeva, his Vyuha as Samkarshana, Yogamaya as Subhadra, and his Vibhava asSudarsana. Vishwakarma appeared in the form of an artisan and prepared images of Jagannath, Balabhadra and Subhadra from the tree.

When this log, radiant with light was seen floating in the sea, Narada told the king to make three idols out of it and place them in a pavilion. Indradyumna got Visvakarma, the architect of Gods, to build a magnificent temple to house the idols and Vishnu himself appeared in the guise of a carpenter to make the idols on condition that he was to be left undisturbed until he finished the work.

But just after two weeks, the Queen became very anxious. She took the carpenter to be dead as no sound came from the temple. Therefore, she requested the king to open the door. Thus, they went to see Vishnu at work at which the latter abandoned his work leaving the idols unfinished. The idol was devoid of any hands. But a divine voice told Indradyumana to install them in the temple. It has also been widely believed that in spite of the idol being without hands, it can watch over the world and be its lord. Thus the idiom.

Entry and Darshan

The temple remains open from 5 am to 12 midnight. Unlike many other temples devotees can go behind the idols (go round the idols). All devotees are allowed to go right up to the deities during the Sahana Mela without paying any fees . The Sahana mela or the public darshan is usually following the abakasha puja between around 7 to 8 am in the morning. Special darshan or Parimanik darshan is when devotees on paying 50 Rupees are allowed right up to the deities. Parimanik darshan happens after the dhupa pujas at around 10 am, 1 pm and 8 pm . At all other times devotees can view the deities from some distance for free. The rathyatra occurs every year some time in the month of July. 2 or 6 weeks before Rathyatra (depending upon the year) there is a ritual of Lord undergoing “Bhukaar” (sick) hence the idols are not on “Darshan”. Devotees to make a note of this before they plan to visit the lord.

Cultural integrity

Starting from Lord Jagannath himself, history has it that he was a tribal deity, adorned by the Sabar people, as a symbol of Narayan. Another legend claims him to be Nilamadhava, an image of Narayana made of blue stone and worshipped by the aboriginals. He was brought to Nilagiri (blue mountain) or Nilachala and installed there as Shri Jagannath in company with Balabhadra and Subhadra. The images made of wood are also claimed to have their distant linkage with the aboriginal system of worshipping wooden poles. To cap it all the Daitapatis, who have a fair share of responsibilities to perform rituals of the Temple, are claimed to be descendants of the aboriginals or hill tribes of Odisha.

Jagannath is worshipped as Vishnu or Narayana or Krishna and Lord Balabhadra as Shesha. Simultaneously, the deities are regarded as the bhairava with Vimala (the devi or the consort of Shiva) installed in the campus of the temple.

Acharyas and Jagannatha Puri

All of the renowned acharyas including Madhvacharya have been known to visit this kshetra. Adi Shankara established his Govardhana matha here.

Char Dham

The temple is one of the holiest Hindu Char Dham (four divine sites) sites comprising Rameswaram, Badrinath, Puri and Dwarka. Though the origins are not clearly known, the Advaita school of Hinduism propagated by Sankaracharya, who created Hindu monastic institutions across India, attributes the origin of Char Dham to the seer. The four monasteries lie across the four corners of India and their attendant temples are Badrinath Temple at Badrinath in the North, Jagannath Temple at Puri in the East, Dwarakadheesh Temple at Dwarka in the West and Ramanathaswamy Temple at Rameswaram in the South. Though ideologically the temples are divided between the sects of Hinduism, namely Saivism and Vaishnavism, the Char Dham pilgrimage is an all Hindu affair. There are four abodes in Himalayas called Chota Char Dham (Chota meaning small): Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri and Yamunotri – all of these lie at the foot hills of Himalayas  The name Chota was added during the mid of 20th century to differentiate the original Char Dhams. The journey across the four cardinal points in India is considered sacred by Hindus who aspire to visit these temples once in their lifetime. Traditionally the trip starts at the eastern end from Puri, proceeding in clockwise direction in a manner typically followed for circumambulation in Hindu temples.

Different names of Lord Jagannath
Chakaakhi Chakaakhi means round eyes
Chakadola The round lid-less eyes (It symbolize the Lord in overactive and vigilant)
Chakanayana Chakanayana means round eyes
Darubrahma Darubrahma means the wooden (Daru) image containing the supreme soul (the Brahma).
Devadhideva The Lord of Lords
Jagadish The king of universe
Jagatadhisha The king of universe
Jagannath The God of the Universe
Kala Thakura The black coloured God
Mahaabaahu Big handed (It symbolize the Lord is actively helps to all)
Neeladrivihari Neelamadhab (Jagannath was worshipped as ‘Neelamadhab’ by an aboriginal tribe chief)
Nilachalia Live in Nilachala
Padmalochana ‘Padma’ means Lotus and ‘Lochana’ means Eye
Patitapabana Who bless the Universe
Purusottama The Supreme Man
Rajadhiraj The king of kings

Structure

The huge temple complex covers an area of over 400,000 square feet (37,000 m2), and is surrounded by a high fortified wall. This 20 feet (6.1 m) high wall is known as Meghanada Pacheri. Another wall known as kurma bedha surrounds the main temple. It contains at least 120 temples and shrines. With its sculptural richness and fluidity of the Oriya style of temple architecture, it is one of the most magnificent monuments of India. The temple has four distinct sectional structures, namely –

  1. Deula, Vimana or Garba griha (Sanctum sanctorum) where the triad deities are lodged on the ratnavedi (Throne of Pearls). In Rekha Deula style;
  2. Mukhashala (Frontal porch);
  3. Nata mandir/Natamandapa, which is also known as the Jagamohan (Audience Hall/Dancing Hall), and
  4. Bhoga Mandapa (Offerings Hall).

The main temple is a curvilinear temple and crowning the top is the ‘srichakra’ (an eight spoked wheel) of Vishnu. Also known as the “Nilachakra”, it is made out of Ashtadhatu and is considered sacrosanct. Among the existing temples in Orissa, the temple of Shri Jagannath is the highest. The temple tower was built on a raised platform of stone and, rising to 214 feet (65 m) above the inner sanctum where the deities reside, dominates the surrounding landscape. The pyramidal roofs of the surrounding temples and adjoining halls, or mandapas, rise in steps toward the tower like a ridge of mountain peaks.

Nila Chakra

Ritual chakra and flags at the top shikhara of Puri temple of Jagannatha also related to Sudarsana chakra. The red flag (12 hand or 14 Feet) denotes that Jagannath is within the building.

The Nila Chakra (Blue Discus) is the discus mounted on the top shikhar of the Jagannath Temple. As per custom, everyday a different flag is waved on the Nila Chakra. The flag hoisted on the Nila Cakra is called the Patita Pavana (Purifier of the Fallen) and is equivalent to the image of the deities placed in the sanctum sanctorum.

The Nila Chakra is distinct from the Sudarshana chakra which has been placed with the deities in the inner sanctorum.

Nila Chakra is the most revered iconic symbol in the Jagannath cult. The Nila Chakra is the only physical object whose markings are used as sacrament and considered sacred in Jagannath worship. It symbolizes protection by Shri Jagannath.

The Singhadwara

The Singhadwara has Lion sculptures with the Aruna Stambha Pillar in the foreground

  • There are numerous smaller temples and shrines within the Temple complex where active worship is regularly conducted. The Vimala Temple (Bimala Temple) is considered one of the most important of the Shaktipeeths marks the spot where the goddess Sati’s feet fell. It is located near Rohini Kund in the temple complex. Until food offered to Jagannath is offered to Goddess Vimala it is not considered Mahaprasad.

The temple of Mahalakshmi has an important role in rituals of the main temple. It is said that preparation of naivedya as offering for Jagannath is supervised by Mahalakshmi.

Daily food offerings

Daily offerings are made to the Lord six times a day. These include:

  1. The offering to the Lord in the morning that forms his breakfast and is called Gopala Vallabha Bhoga. Breakfast consists of seven items i.e. Khua, Lahuni, Sweetened coconut grating, Coconut water, and popcorn sweetened with sugar known as Khai, Curd and Ripe bananas.
  2. The Sakala Dhupa forms his next offering at about 10 AM. This generally consists of 13 items including the Enduri cake & Mantha puli.
  3. Bada Sankhudi Bhoga forms the next repast & the offering consists of Pakhala with curd and Kanji payas. The offerings are made in the Bhog Mandapa, about 200 feet from the Ratnabedi. This is called Chatra Bhog and was introduced by Adi Shankaracharya in the 8th century to help pilgrims share the temple food.
  4. The Madhyanha dhupa forms the next offering at the noon.
  5. The next offering to the Lord is made in the evening at around 8 PM it is Sandhya Dhupa.
  6. The last offering to the Lord is called the Bada Simhara Bhoga.

The Mahaprasad of Lord Jagannath are distributed amongst the devotees near the Ratnavedi inside the frame of Phokaria, which is being drawn by the Puja pandas using Muruj, except for the Gopal Ballav Bhog and Bhog Mandap Bhoga which are distributed in the Anabsar Pindi & Bhoga Mandap respectively.

Rosaghara

The temple’s kitchen is considered as the largest kitchen in the world. Tradition maintains that all food cooked in the temple kitchens are supervised by the Goddess Mahalakshmi, the empress of Srimandir herself. It is said that if the food prepared has any fault in it, a shadow dog appears near the temple kitchen. The temple cooks, or Mahasuaras, take this as a sign of displeasure of Mahalakshmi with the food, which is, then, promptly buried and a new batch cooked. 3-puri-jagannat-mahaprasadAll food  cooked is pure vegetarian without using onions and garlic. Cooking is done only in earthen pots with water drawn from two special wells near the kitchen called Ganga and Yamuna. There are a total of 56 varieties of naivedhyas offered to the deities, near Ratnabedi as well as in Bhoga Mandap on five particular Muhurta. The most awaited Prasad is Kotho Bhoga or Abadha, offered at mid-day at around 1 pm, depending upon temple rituals. The food after being offered to Jagannath is distributed in reasonable portions as Mahaprasad, which is considered to be divine by the devotees in the Ananda Bazar (an open market, located to the North-east of the Singhadwara inside the Temple complex).

Festivals

There are elaborate daily worship services. There are many festivals each year attended by millions of people. The most important festival is the Rath Yatra or the Chariot festival in June. This spectacular festival includes a procession of three huge chariots bearing the idols of Jagannath, Balabhadra and Subhadra through the Bada Danda meaning the Grand Avenue of Puri till their final destination the Gundicha Temple.

Juggernaut  means an immense, unstoppable, threatening entity or process operated by fanatics. Many festivals like Dol Yatra in spring and Jhulan Yatra in monsoon are celebrated by temple every year. Pavitrotsava and Damanaka utsava are celebrated as per panchanga or panjika.There are special ceremonies in the month of Kartika and Pausha.

The annual shodasha dinatmaka or 16 day puja beginning 8 days prior to Mahalaya of Ashwin month for goddess Vimala and ending on Vijayadashami, is of great importance, in which both the utsava murty of lord Madanmohan and Vimala take part.

  • Pana Sankranti: Also known or Vishuva Sankranti and Mesha Sankranti: Special rituals are performed at the temple.

Chandan Yatra

In Akshaya Tritiya every year the Chandan Yatra festival marks the commencement of the construction of the Chariots of the Rath Yatra.

Snana Yatra

On the Purnima of the month of Jyestha the Gods are ceremonially bathed and decorated every year on the occasion of Snana Yatra.

Anavasara or Anasara

Literally means vacation. Every year, the main idols of Jagannath, Balabhadra, Subhadra & Sudarshan after the holy Snana Yatra on the jyestha purnima, go to a secret altar named Anavasara Ghar where they remain for the next dark fortnight (Krishna paksha). Hence devotees are not allowed to view them. Instead of this devotees go to nearby place Brahmagiri to see their beloved lord in the form of four handed form Alarnath a form of Vishnu. Then people get the first glimpse of lord on the day before Rath Yatra, which is called ‘Navayouvana. It is said that the gods fall in fever after taking a huge bath and they are treated by the special servants named, Daitapatis for 15 days. During this period cooked food is not offered to the deities.

Rath Yatra at Puri

The Jagannath triad are usually worshiped in the sanctum of the temple at Puri, but once during the month of Asadha (Rainy Season of Orissa, usually falling in month of June or July), they are brought out onto the Bada Danda (main street of Puri) and travel (3 km) to the Shri Gundicha Temple, in huge chariots (ratha), allowing the public to have darśana (Holy view). 5-rath-yatra-puri-jagannathThis festival is known as Rath Yatra, meaning the journey (yatra) of the chariots (ratha). The Rathas are huge wheeled wooden structures, which are built anew every year and are pulled by the devotees. The chariot for Jagannath is approximately 45 feet high and 35 feet square and takes about 2 months to construct. The artists and painters of Puri decorate the cars and paint flower petals and other designs on the wheels, the wood-carved charioteer and horses, and the inverted lotuses on the wall behind the throne. The huge chariots of Jagannath pulled during Rath Yatra is the etymological origin of the English word Juggernaut. The Ratha-Yatra is also termed as the Shri Gundicha yatra.

Chera pahara is held on two days, on the first day of the Ratha Yatra, when the deities are taken to garden house at Mausi Maa Temple and again on the last day of the festival, when the deities are ceremoniously brought back to the Shri Mandir.

As per another ritual, when the deities are taken out from the Shri Mandir to the Chariots in Pahandi vijay.

In the Ratha Yatra, the three deities are taken from the Jagannath Temple in the chariots to the Gundicha Temple, where they stay for nine days. Thereafter, the deities again ride the chariots back to Shri Mandir in bahuda yatra. On the way back, the three chariots halt at the Mausi Maa Temple and the deities are offered Poda Pitha, a kind of baked cake which are generally consumed by the Odisha people only.

Gupta Gundicha

Celebrated for 16 days from Ashwina Krushna dwitiya to Vijayadashami. As per tradition, the idol of Madhaba, along with the idol of Goddess Durga (known as Durgamadhaba), is taken on a tour of the temple premises. The tour within the temple is observed for the first eight days. For the next eight days, the idols are taken outside the temple on a palanquin to the nearby Narayani temple situated in the Dolamandapa lane. After their worship, they are brought back to the temple.

Nava Kalebara

One of the most grandiloquent events associated with the Lord Jagannath, Naba Kalabera takes place when one lunar month of Ashadha is followed by another lunar month of Aashadha. This can take place in 8, 12 or even 19 years. Literally meaning the “New Body” (Nava = New, Kalevar = Body), the festival is witnessed by as millions of people and the budget for this event exceeds $500,000. The event involves installation of new images in the temple and burial of the old ones in the temple premises at Koili Vaikuntha. The idols that are currently being worshipped in the temple premises were installed in the year 1996.Next ceremony will be held on 2015. More than 3 million devotees are expected to visit the temple during the Nabakalevara of 2015 making it one of the most visited festivals in the world.

Chaitanya Mahaprabhu,

an incarnation of Lord Krishna, appeared 500 years ago, in the mood of a devotee to taste the sublime emotions of ecstasy by chanting the holy name of Krishna.

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More info on Puri Jagannath Festivals

More info on Puri Jagannath Rituals

 

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