Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Puri-Shri Jagannath

            Puri-Shri Jagannath swamy temple is one of the famous temples in world. It is one among the char(four) dhams. It is located in the city Puri of Orissa state and is hence the eastern dham. It is established in the 12th century and is dedicated to the lord Jagannath( Lord Krishna). This is one among the greatest temples revered by the devotees following the vaishnava tradition. Jagannatha represents an integration of all important Hindu cultures which flourished in India, namely, the Vedic, the Puranic, the Tantric, the Smarta and the Vaisnava, along with Jainism, Buddhism and that of the aboriginal tribes. The Mahaprasada (the offerings to the deities in the Puri temple) is a wonder of the Hindu world in as much as it is free from any kind of discrimination pertaining to the castes of India. Here we can see Shri Jagannath, Balaram and Subhadra devi idols at the temple.


The temple of Jagannatha is one of the tallest monuments in the entire sub-continent of India and its height is about 214 feet from the ground (road) level. It stands on a 'raised platform of stone, measuring about ten acres and is believed that it is a small hill of nilagiri or blue hill. The temple structure is full of excellent carvings and lovely pieces of sculpture and is a fine specimen of Kalinga style of architecture. It can be found to be in pyramid shape.The temple consists of four structures called (a) the Vimana or Bada Deula sanctum sanctorum) (b) the Jagamohan or Mukhasala (the porch), (c) the Natamandir (the audience hall) and (d) the Bhogamandap (the hall for residuary offerings) built in a row in an axial alignment in east-west direction. The temple faces the east. The Vimana is constructed in Pancharatha (temple containing five Pagas or segments) Rekha order. Rekha is the name given to a type of temple with a curvilinear spire. Out of the five Pagas or segments, the middle one is known as Raha, the two feanking pagas as Anuraha, and the two corners as Kanika. Like a full-fledged Orissan temple, it has four-fold vertical divisions, i.e. the Pitha (pedestal), the Bada (wall), the Gandi (trunk) and the Mastaka (the head).

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. 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.

          At the end of the Krishna Avatar, Lord Krishna started to think about Gandhari`s curse, and realised that the time for his departure has already arrived as everyone from the yadava kingdom dies including his brother balaram when a  hunter named Jara who kills him by shooting his leg with the arrow thinking that it is a deer. Jara prays for apology  and was given with the vow  that he and his future generations can only pray him , saying so lord krishna becomes a statue. For generations that family solely protects the statue in the caves of that forest and in the generation of the Viswavasu. One day a follower of king named vidyapati listens the story of the statues in forests and conveys it to the king Indradyumna. King gets pleased after listening about the story and decides to construct a temple for them. Kings asks vidyapati to get the statues for him. vidyapati is never able to locate them but somehow he manages to marry the daughter(Lalitha) of the tribal chief Viswavasu. At repeated request of Vidyapati, Viswavasu took his son-in-law blindfolded to a cave where Neelamadhab was worshipped. Vidyapati was very intelligent. He dropped mustard seeds on the way. The seeds germinated after a few days,which enabled him to find out the cave later on. King Indradyumna proceeded immediately to Odra desha (Orissa) on a pilrgimage to see and worship the Deity and gets disappointed when the statues get disappeared on his arrival.

            King decides of not making a return journey without the darshan of god and does tapasya at Mount Neela when an celestial voice says him that a palm tree will come floating in the sea very soon. He needs to make statues of it with the divine people sent in that time. The day finally comes when the carpenters on their own visit to king for making the statues. They ask the king not to disturb them until they come out of the cave after completion, they also warns him that if they are disturbed they will never continue the making of statue. King agrees and years of time passes when he feels no work is being done he orders to open the cave. King finds the unfinished idol of Shri Jagannath swamy, the people who came to make the statue gets vanished as they said they will not continue.

            King becomes sad for the thing happened and prays lord Krishna when he comes to his dreams, asks him to place the idol as unfinished only. He also says that every time the family people of king will come to know when the palm tree will come floated and at that time change to be done for the statue. The king got Lord Jagannath, Balabhadra, Subhadra and Chakra Sudarshan made and installed them in the temple. It is happening till now in the Puri Jagannath swamy temple.

Ratha Yatra

        Ratha Yatra of shri jagannath is a festival day in Hindus. It is celebrated on Ashad Shukla Dwitiya ( second day in bright fortnight of  Ashad month). This festival commemorates Shri Jagannath’s visit to Gundicha mata’s temple via aunt’s home ( Mausi Maa) which is near Balaganda chaka in puri. As part of Ratha Jatra, the deities of Lord Puri Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra and Subhadra are taken out in a procession to Gundicha Temple and remain there for nine days. Then the deities or Ratha Jatra return to Puri Jagannath temple. The return journey of Puri Jagannath Ratha Jatra is known as Bahuda Jatra.


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