Puri, located 310 miles from Calcutta, is known as Vishnu or Purushottama Kshetra. This
temple has Lord Jagannath as the main deity. Lord Jagannath is yet another form of Lord Krishna. This temple has three
ancient wooden images- Lord Krishna, his elder brother Balarama (also known as Balabhadra)
and Subhadra Devi, yet another form of Goddess Lakshmi. Lord
Krishna also has a sister
called Subhadra. However, Subhadra
Devi in this temple is not
is situated on a gentle and slopy Neela Parvata along the sea. Since the
temple is situated on Neela Parvata, the deity here is also known as Neela Madhava. It is said that this is one of the most powerful
temples of Lord Krishna and one can achieve maximum of his/her desires by
visiting this place. Puri is one of the few religious places, which provides the outdoor
pleasure of sea and beaches along with religious piety of 'darshan', and draws crowds
throughout the year. Ancient literature and puraanaas have talked about this temple and
there is a mention of this in Skaanda Puraana. It is said that sages and rishis like Ambareesha,
Pundareeka, Jaimini and Naarada used to
visit the place for worshiping the lord.
The images of deities
there are different from the other finished and well carved images in other temples. The
legend has it that King of Avanti, Indradyumna, one day, followed a message, which was
given to him in dream to go to the seashore and collect a floating log to carve
out the image of Lord Jagannath out of it. He could get the log but had to face
problems in getting a craftsman to carve the image. Finally, after searching for long, he
could get a person to do the job. But the craftsman came up with a condition for carrying
out the job. He wanted to do the job in isolation and asked the king not allow anybody to
open the doors for the next 21 days. The king accepted the condition and asked the
craftsman to go ahead with the work.
Though informed about the
condition, the queen, out of curiosity, used to keep her ears close to the closed doors to
hear the sound of carving in the room. But after some days, she could not hear any sound
coming from the room. Then she came to a conclusion that the old man was dead and opened
the door forcibly. The old man, who was very much present in the room live and active
glanced at the queen and disappeared, leaving the three images of Jagannath, his brother Balarama and Subhadra, incomplete. Even today on visiting the temple
one can find the incomplete images of the deities. It is said that the craftsman was none
other than the creator of universe, great architect and divine sculptor Vishwakarma.
In fact, some of the
studies have mentioned that there is mention about this temple in vedas.
Tadarabhaswa durhano tena gaccha parastaaram
This is from Rigveda,
where in it is mentioned about the wooden image of Lord Jagannath. Matsya, Vishnu, Agni, Padma, Naarada, Brahma, Skaanda Puraanaas
have talked about this temple. In addition to these, Kapila Samhitaa, Teertha Chintaamani,
Neelaadrimahodaya, Rudrayaamala, Tantra Yaamala, Purushottama Tatva have also described
this ancient temple.
It is said that King
Chodagangadeva built the temple in the 12th century. Even before one enters the city, the
tower 214 feet in height becomes distinctly visible. The temple complex has 4 chambers,
the duel, the Jaganmohana, Natamandir and Bhogamandir, surrounded by a wall. Mahaprasaad
is distributed to thousands of people daily. Lord Vishnu and Goddess Lakshmi are also located centered around the principle
deity Lord Jagannath, within the temple premises in smaller temples.
There are a variety of
festivals celebrated in this temple. Badaasingal Vesha is a regular festival. The deity is
decorated in different veshaas or forms like Padma Vesha, Swarna Vesha, Hasthi Vesha,
Kaaliyadalana Vesha, Krishnabalaraama Vesha and Pralambaasuravadha Vesha.
Jagannatha Yaatra is the most known festival celebrated here.
During this festival, three chariots made of wood are brought out on to the streets with
all the three deities in them. The images of the deity are changed for every 12 years. The
trees required for making the images are identified in a traditional way. The process of
designing images is considered to be a secret.
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