Jagannath Temple Puri

Jagannath Temple, Puri is one of the most renowned temples in Orissa. It is situated in Puri which is about 60 kms from the capital city of Bhubaneswar. Jagannath temple is one of the 4 religious centres or Char Dham Yatra places in India. It is also known as Sreekhetra, Nilanchal and Sankha Khetra. This majestic temple located in the heart of the town is dedicated to Jagannath (Vishnu). The name Jagannath (Lord of the Universe) is a combination of the Sanskrit words Jagat (Universe) and Nath (Lord of). Millions of devotees throng the Puri Jagannath Temple premises throughout the year for blessings of the Lord Jagannath.

In the temple along with Krishna, Balabhadra and Subhadra are also worshipped as principal deities. The idol of deities is carved out of wood. This is an exception since all major Hindu deity idols are made of stone. The idols are replenished periodically at a gap of 12 years.

Legend Behind Jagannath Temple

As per Skanda-Purana, Brahma Purana and later Oriya works Lord Jagannath was originally worshipped as Neela madhab by a Savar king named Viswavasu.

Indrayumna, the king of Malava in Sata Yuga, was a great devotee of Vishnu. Once the king dreamt of Nilamadhava Vishnu and was curious to know where that particular form of the Lord was worshipped.

Brahmin Vidyapati was sent to find out the location where the Deity was worshipped secretly in a dense forest by Viswavasu. Even after trying his level best Vidyapati failed to find the location. Vidyapati then got married to Lalita, daughter of Savara King Visvavasu to extract information about Nilamadhava. Vidyapati coaxed his wife to request her father to allow him to see Nilamadhava. Visvavasu agreed on the condition that Vidyapati will be taken to the shrine and brought back from there with a blindfold.

On his way he scattered some sesame seeds throughout the road so that he might know the path when sesame plants grew up. Thereafter, Vidyapati returned to Malwa and described his experiences to Indradyumna who immediately set out to get the deity. But when he reached this holy land, he found that Nila Madhava had miraculously disappeared.

The King Indradyumna was then instructed by the Lord in a dream to return back to his kingdom and wait for a piece of Neem wood (daru) that would be found at the seashore. He was instructed to carve an idol from that particular piece of log and worship it as Lord Jagannath - an Incarnation of Lord Vishnu. But no one could crave the idol from the trunk.

Then Vishvakarma who is the architect of the demigods arrived under disguise to carve the deities. But he stipulated that while carving the murtis nobody should disturb him and if anybody did, he would stop work and leave. 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. Because king Indradyumna opened the door of Vishwakarma's room before the stipulated time he disappeared leavings the idols incomplete. The deities of Jagannath, Balram and Subhadra were without hands or feet. Even today the incomplete idols are worshipped in the temple.

Jagannath Temple History

This renowned temple in Orissa was built by Ananta Varman Chodaganga during 12th century (A.D.). later the construction was completed by Ananga Bhima Dev. In 1558, the temple was invaded by Kalapahad (an Afghan general) and the worship of the deity was stopped. Later Ramachandra Deb established his own Kingdom at Khurda in Orissa. He took over the management of the temple affairs, consecrated the temples and re installed the deities.

Architecture of the Jagannath Temple

The Jagannath temple is constructed in Kalinga style of architecture. The temple is renowned not for its massive size but also for its intricate carvings.

This temple is one of the tallest monuments in the country, the height of which is about 214 feet from the ground level.

It stands on an elevated platform of stone covering a total area of 10 acres and is enclosed by two rectangular walls. The conical tower of the temple is 58 mts high on which the flag and the wheel of Lord Vishnu can be seen. It is surrounded by about 30 other temples dedicated to various gods and goddesses of the Hindu pantheon.

Jagannath Temple in Odisha consists of four entrance gates. They are named as Singhadwara, Ashwadwara, Hathidwara and Vyaghradwara and these names refer to lion, horse, elephant and tiger respectively.

The temple has a four chambered complex with deula, Jagamohana, natmandira and bhogamandapa. The temple built as a Pancharatha plan and is embellished with fine and intricate sculptural motifs

Each day, the Lord at the Jagannath Temple is offered 'bhoga' six times. Every day 56 different offerings known as Mahaprasad are prepared in different phases and on special occasions and during festivals the number of items increases. This globally renowned Orissa temple has the world’s largest kitchen where thousands of devotees are fed every day.

Puri Jagannath Rath Yatra

One of the most popular attractions of the Jagannath Temple of Puri is the Rath Yatra that is organized every year. It is celebrated every year on the 2nd day of Shukla Paksha (waxing cycle of moon) in the month of Asadh which is the 3rd month according to the lunar calendar.

On this day the deities of the Jagannath temple Lord Krishna, Balaram and Subhadra are taken out in a colourful procession in beautifully decorated huge chariots called raths which are pulled by thousands of devotees.

On this day lord Jagannath and his siblings visit the Gundicha Mata’s temple via aunt's home. The idols remain in the Gundicha Mata‘s temple for nine days and then the idols or Rath Yatra returns to Puri Jagannath temple.

The return journey of Puri Jagannath Rath Yatra is known as Bahuda Yatra.

Millions of people come from all over the world, to take part in the ceremonies and rituals of this festival.

How to Reach Jagannath Temple Puri?

The nearest airport is Biju Patnaik airport at Bhubaneswar which is at a distance of 60 km from Puri. The airport is linked with all the major cities of India, such as Kolkata, Delhi and Hyderabad, by direct flights. Puri is a major railway junction. Regular trains operate from the city and connect it to all the major cities within the state as well in the country like Bhubaneswar, New Delhi, Chennai, Bangalore, and Kolkata. Puri has a good network of roads, connecting it with the major parts of India. Orissa road transport corporation buses connect Puri to many cities in Orissa as well neighbouring states like Bhubaneswar, Konark, Kolkata etc.

There are several means by which you can reach Puri.

Transports available: Air, Bus, Train or Railways, Private vehicles

Reach Puri Odisha By Air

There are various national carriers like Jet Airways that fly till Bhubaneswar. And direct flights are available till there. But after Bhubaneswar, you have to take other means of transportation like taxi etc to reach Puri. There are several Air fare packages being available in this season.

Reach Puri Odisha By Bus

From various major cities like Kolkata, Chennai etc, various luxury buses play towards this place. All kinds of busses like Volvo etc are available till here. Having problem in searching for buses, you can read how to book bus tickets online.

Reach Puri Odisha By Train

From major cities, you will be able to get trains. Some very well known trains are ‘Shatabadi and Rajthani’. Do prior booking for tickets, to avoid problems at the time of journey.

Reach Puri Odisha Private vehicles

Some people tends to prefer to go for private vehicles as this gives freedom to go anywhere at any time. Since there are many other places to visit nearby, roaming enthusiasts will find this option great.

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