Puri Jagannath Temple
Our country, India, is the land of mysteries. Jagannath Puri Temple is one of the most popular temples in India. It is one of the holiest Char Dham. The pilgrimage of Char Dham has great significance in Hinduism.
The culture and civilization of our country are as old as the history of temples in India. Jagannath Puri is the most visited pilgrimage site of India like Kashi, Ujjain, Mathura, and Ayodhya.
Today we will learn about the history, architecture, and mysteries of Jagannath Puri temple, one of these four Dhams. Also, we will read about the most popular Shri Jagannath Rath Yatra:
Location of the Puri Jagannath
The Jagannath Temple is located around 60 km away from Bhubaneswar, the capital of Odisha, India. The temple is situated at the seaside of the Bay of Bangal.
This state of India is known for tribal cultures and hundreds of ancient Hindu Temples. History of Jagannath Puri Temple It is believed that the history of this holiest temple is around 800 years old.
History of Jagannath Puri Temple
This temple is dedicated to Shri Krishna, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu. Every year lakhs of devotees gather here. People from all over the country and abroad come to visit this holy temple which is more than 800 years old.
Let's deep dive into the history of this magnificent and mysterious temple of India:
King Indradyumana: A devotee of Lord Vishnu
It is said that in central India there used to be a king named King Indradyumana, whose capital was named Avanti. The king was a great devotee of Lord Vishnu. And he eagerly wanted to see Lord Vishnu once.
Once upon a time, a sage came to his palace while roaming and started saying that Nilamadhav, the grand form of Lord Vishnu is worshiped in Orissa.
Searching for Nilamadhava
The monk said that but you have to find out in which part of Orissa this place is. On hearing this, King Indradyumna became very happy and immediately ordered Vidyapati, the brother of the chief priest of the palace, to go to Orissa and search for Nilamadhav.
Hearing his order, Vidyapati set out in search of the idol. After a long journey, Vidyapati gets the news that a person named Vishwavasu is worshiping Nilamadhava inside a secret cave.
Vidyapati requested Vishwavasu to see that secret cave but he refused. Vidyapati stayed in the same village for a few days. He fell in love with Vishwavasu's daughter Lalita and both got married.
Mesmerized view of Nilamadhava
Vidyapati requested his wife to convince her father i.e. Vishwavasu and take them to that secret cave. Vishwavasu agreed in front of his daughter's insistence. But he put a condition that after blindfolding Vidyapati, he would be taken to that cave.
But Vidyapati very cleverly took some mustard seeds with him and on the way, he dropped those seeds so that later he could easily find the address of that cave. When Vidyapati saw the image of Nilamadhava in that secret cave, he was mesmerized.
Lord Vishnu appeared in King's dream
After coming back, Vidyapati told everything to King Indradyuman. And the king soon left to visit that cave. But this time when the king reached that cave with Vidyapati, they did not see anything there.
When the king returned to the palace, he had a dream at night. He got a message that he should go to Puri and take out a wooden bundle floating in the water there.
The king followed this message. Near the beach in Puri, he saw a wooden batch floating.
Despite the efforts of the king's servants, no one was able to lift the big wood. Finally, the wood was pulled out with the help of the chief of the clan, Vishwavasu. But after many attempts, no one was able to carve out the image of Nilamadhav from that wood.
Vishvakarma came as the old carpenter
It is said that when this task became impossible, Shri Vishwakarma, the architect of the gods, appeared in the form of an old carpenter. He assured the king that he could build the idol but on some condition that he would make the idol of Lord Vishnu in 21 days and alone. And no one will hinder them in their work.
Interference by Queen Gundicha
After fifteen days, Gundicha, the queen felt the curiosity to open the closed room and was thereby opened on the orders of the King. Gundicha was also concerned about the carpenter as no sound from the room was heard in the days that went by.
As soon as they entered that room, they saw that the old carpenter had disappeared, and there were three half-finished idols. These semi-finished idols are known today as Lord Jagannath, his elder brother, Balabhadra, and sister Subhadra.
Puri Jagannath: Char Dham
Shree Puri Jagannath is one of the scared and significant Vaishnava Hindu Char Dham. In Hindu Scriptures, Char Dham is described as the way to eternal Moksha (free from the concept of birth and death).
The four monasteries (Char Dham) lie across the four directions of India and they are Shree Jagannath Temple, Puri in the East, Badrinath Temple, Badrinath in the North, Dwarkadhish Temple, Dwarka in the West and Ramanathapuram Temple, Rameshwaram in the South of India.
Modern History of Puri Jagannath Temple
Jagannath Temple is the most magnificent temple in Odisha state. It is believed that this temple was built by King Ananta Varman Chodaganga Deva.
But it is said that only a few parts of this temple could be constructed at that time such as the assembly hall and the Vimana or chariot of the temple.
Later on, there was another king named, Anangabhima Deva, completed the construction of the temple in 1174 AD.
The architecture of Puri Jagannath Temple
The temple is an example of the extraordinary engineering and art of ancient India. The entire temple is the symbol of a masterpiece of Oriya Architecture.
Shree Jagannath Puri Temple is spread in the area of 37000m2. The height of the main temple is 65 meters. There is an outer wall around the whole temple which is known as Meghananda Pacheri. The height of this temple is around 6.1 meters. The main temple is also surrounded by another wall and this wall is known as Kurma Bheda.
We will see other important aspects related to the architecture of the temple along with mysteries and mythological tales:
Shocking Mysteries about the Puri Jagannath Temple
There is no such temple in India, the mystery of which has not become the subject of discussion of scientists or the common man.
Every corner of this temple is associated with some mystery. This temple, standing for thousands of years, is sitting in itself suppressing many mysteries. Let's see the all mysteries one by one:
Can't able to hear the sound of ocean waves
Although this temple is situated on the edge of the sea, yet can you imagine that inside the temple, you can't hear the sound of ocean waves?
Yes! You will not be able to hear the sound of ocean waves as soon as you enter the temple.
There are four entrances of the temple buy Singhadwaram is the main door of entrance to the temple. The sound of the ocean is not heard even in the temple. As soon as you come out of the temple, the sound of the waves is heard here which in itself is quite surprising.
The structure of the temple
To date, no one has seen the shadow of this temple falling on the ground. It means by any time of the day, no one could be able to see the shadow of the main temple.
The temple is built in such a way that it does not cast any shadows at any time of day. No matter where the sun is at an angle, the shadow of this temple is not visible on the ground.
No one knows whether there is marvelous engineering behind this or some divine power.
The heart of Shree Jagannath: Brahma Padartha
It is believed that the idol of Lord Jagannath also has a heart. This mysterious part in Lord Jagannath's idol is also known as Brahma Padartha.
The meaning of Brahma is 'Infinite' which is beyond Time and Space, and Padartha means 'Matter'. According to the mythology, Brahma Padartha is the Heart of Lord Krishna.
Even the scientists and researchers are surprised by the mystery. Lord Jagannath also gets the fever and then the temperature of his idol increase. After that priest also give medicine to him to cure the fever. It is said that Lord Jagannath is the only living God in this world.
Nabakalebara: The rebirth of Lord Jagannath
Nabakalebara is an important festival in the Hindu Odia calendar that takes place in Puri's Jagannath Temple. The ritualistic rebuilding of four Hindu deities' wooden images at Jagannath Temple in Puri is known as Nabakalebara (sometimes spelled Navakalevara). After the previous Nabakalebara, the ceremony is conducted in the 8th, 12th, or 19th year.
It commemorates Jagannath's symbolic death and rebirth in Puri. New pictures will be installed in the Jagannath temple, while the old ones will be buried in the temple grounds at Koili Baikuntha.
During this full birth of the Lord, the Odisha government orders to cut off the electricity of the entire city. The entry of only a few priests is allowed in the temple to perform this ritual.
No outsider is allowed to enter the temple. Even the priests also sealed their eyes with a red cloth strip while installing new idols in the temple. While installing the new idol, the priest takes Brahma Padartha from the old idol and puts it in the new idol.
Largest and richest kitchen in the world
It is believed that the kitchen of Jagannath Temple is the largest in the world. There is a total of 800 people who work in this kitchen, out of which 500 are cooks and 300 are their assistants.
There is never any shortage of Mahaprasad (offerings for the devotees or visitors) for the devotees in this temple of Lord Jagannath, whether the number of devotees is in thousands or lakhs. This kitchen is also special because the Prasad made here is never wasted.
Unique way of cooking food
Food is also prepared in some special way in this Dham of Lord Jagannath.
For preparing Mahaprasad, it is kept in 7 utensils one above the other. The most amazing thing in this is that the food of the topmost vessel gets cooked first after that the pot below it and so on. And finally, the food in the pot at the bottom is cooked.
Generally, there is no such temple in India, whose flag is changed daily. But the pinnacle flag (Dhwaja) of the Jagannath temple is changed daily. A priest of the temple himself climbs the dome of the temple and changes its flag.
There is an interesting mystery behind this too. It is believed that if the flag of the temple is not changed for a single day, then the temple will be closed for 18 years.
No birds and airplanes fly above the temple
By the way, you must have seen many birds flying near every temple. But you'll be surprised that to date not a single bird was seen flying near the Jagannath Puri temple. This is the very rare thing about this temple.
For this reason, this site has been declared a no-fly zone. That is why there is a ban on the passage of an airplane even within a radius of a few kilometers of the temple.
No one has been able to tell the explanation behind this incident, so it is a mystery.
Mysterious Nila Chakra at the top of the temple
The Nila Chakra on the top of the main temple also makes it more amazing. This chakra is as beautiful as a crown on this temple. This Nila Chakra is symbolized the Sudarshan Chakra.
Sudarshan Chakra is considered a symbol of Lord Vishnu and Krishna. In Hindu scriptures, Sudarshan Chakra is considered to be the biggest weapon of the universe. This Chakra was made by an alloy of eight metals. That's why it is also called Ashtadhatu Chakra.
Nile Chakra is made in such a way that no matter which direction you look at it, you will always see this wheel on your side.
The sea mystery
You must have noticed that during the day, the wind from the sea blows toward the land, whereas in the evening, the wind from the land blows toward the sea.
These geographical laws are reversed in the divine land of Puri. In this case, the exact reverse occurs.
Shree Jagannath Puri Rath Yatra
Along with the Puri Jagannath Temple, Odisha is also popular around the world for Shree Jagannath Rath Yatra. This Rath Yatra is the journey of Lord Jagannath. In this journey, the Lord Jagannath, along with Lord Balaram and Goddess Subhadra, come out from the temple, visit the entire Puri and in the end, come to their Aunt's home; the Gundicha Mata Temple.
In Hinduism, this Rath Yatra is very significant and sacred. Many outsiders around the world come and are the witness of this divine journey of Lord Jagannath.
The construction of chariots
This Rath Yatra is carried out on three huge chariots. These chariots are made of coconut wood. Three different chariots are made for Lord Jagannath, Lord Balaram, and Goddess Subhadra. Because no chariot is complete without a horse, horses and wheels made of wood are also installed in these chariots.
On the auspicious occasion of Akshaya Tritiya, the carpenters start the construction of the chariots. There are total of 1400 carpenters are employed to construct the chariots. The chariots construct with ancient techniques. The carpenters take all the measurements without the tape, they use their hands for measuring the length and breadth. It needs a lot of effort.
The top of the chariots
These chariots have the same structure as temples. The chariots' tops are designed to resemble the structure of the towers of Jagannath Temple. The canopies are made from 1,200 meters of cloth by a team of 15 professional tailors.
The floor-sweeping with a golden broom
Before the beginning, of Lord Jagannath journey, the Gajapati (king) of Puri cleans the path of the chariots journey with a broom which is made by pure gold. Because now, the state rule has ended in India, so the temple committee made a king for this work.
This ancient act of cleaning indicates that there is divine power in the universe that is supreme.
Efforts while pulling the chariots
Pulling these chariots is not an easy task, it needs a lot of effort. Many devotees who have seen the Rath Yatra, believe that Lord Jagannath seems to resist to moving chariots. But after hours of hard work finally, devotees move the chariots and begin the Yatra.
In Hinduism, devotees believe that to pull the chariots is a privilege and it helps to attain the eternal Moksha.
Rainfall during the Rath Yatra
Doesn't matter how the weather is! But every year during the Rath Yatra occurs. Many scientists haven't been able to find the reason. Many people believe that maybe, this is just a coincidence. But coincidence can't occur for 800 years without any fail.
A festival that's open to all
The purest and sacred thing about this Rath Yatra is that the doors of this festival have opened for each and every one. Although there are many restrictions to enter the main temple on regular basis.
Only Hindus are allowed to enter and worship in front of Lord Jagannath. But during Rath Yatra, anyone can be a part of Rath Yatra and be a witness of this divine journey, doesn't matter they belong from which religion or caste.
Why Lord Jagannath's Rath stops in front of the Mazar?
During the Rath Yatra, the chariots of Lord Jagannath's chariot stop in front of the Mazar or a Tomb. There is a Mazar, known as Salabega's Tomb which is on the way between the Jagannath Temple and Gundicha Temple.
Every year, Lord Jagannath's chariot stops in front of Salabega's Tomb. Salabega is a true devotee of Lord Jagannath. He was born to a Hindu mother and a Muslim father. After being a Muslim, he had immense belief in Lord Jagannath. He expressed his devotion through his poetry and Oriya Bhajans for Lord Jagannath.
Being a Non-Hindu, priest of the temple, restricted him to enter the temple. However, Lord Jagannath was very glad to see his immense devotion and blessed him that once a year, Lord will come in from of him. Since then, Salabega's Tomb is the important part of Rath Yatra.
This is the rarest thing about the Yatra. We can say, this simple act shows that One Supremacy.
Next time whenever you go to Odisha, then definitely try to live the tales of this temple. And be a witness of this magnificent temple.