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Puri: Abode of Lord Jagannatha and His Siblings

By January 25, 2022October 31st, 2023No Comments
Lord Jagannatha Temple

The last of the Char Dham is the Jagannath Tempe of Puri, a unique and scientific miracle. The temple is the only one of its kind where Lord Krishna is worshipped in the form of Jagannath along with his sister Subhadra and brother Balabhadra. Historically, the temple is almost 1000 years old and scientifically, it has many logic-defying features to it signifying the astonishingly complex architectural design. 

The Story of Puri: The Holy Temple 

Let’s begin with the legend of this amazing temple. Puri is one of the oldest cities in the history of Eastern India. Here, deep in a jungle, Lord Jagannath (Vishnu) was worshipped as Nila Madhava, by a devoted tribal chief. When the king of far-off land Malwa, Indramunya wished to see the deity himself, he was shown a Divine dream where he was instructed to find the deity in Odisha (Utkal). He sent the royal priest, Vidyapati, to find out more information from the chief. The chief however did not wish to divulge any information about Nila Madhava. The royal priest however was insistent that he wanted to know about the deity. He even married the chief’s daughter. He then asked his wife to ask her father, the chief, to tell Vidyapati about the hidden deity.

The chief took Vidyapati to the worship place after blindfolding him. The royal priest had already guessed the course of events and he dropped seeds of mustard on his way to the secret worshipping place. Once in the cave, he was mesmerized by the beauty and Divine power of Nila Madhava. He then went back to Malwa and narrated the whole incident to the king. The king, Indramunya was overjoyed at the perspective of finally seeing the deity. Once the mustard seeds sprouted yellow flowers, the king and his procession followed suit to the hidden cave. Alas, the deity was nowhere to be found and the cave was completely empty. The king was shattered and decided to take up ‘fast’ till the Divine deity did not show itself to him.

After a few days he received another Divine dream which showed him that he will find a log floating towards him in Puri which shall have Lord Jagannath in it. The king followed the instructions and found the log but the problem was no one knew what the Lord looked like. That is when a carpenter came to the king and told that he will make the images of Lord Jagannath but only if he gets complete isolation in a room. The king and his wife agreed to his demands. Few days went by but there was no noise of wood-work from the carpenter’s room. The queen got curious and asked the king to intervene. When they went inside, there was no carpenter and the log of wood had 3 incomplete deities carved into it which were Lord Jagannatha, Devi Subhadra and Lord Balabhadra. This incomplete image was then installed in the Jagannatha temple as the main deities. 


Apart from its spiritual power, there are some amazing science-defying facts of the temple which point towards its marvelous construction: 

  1. The construction of the temple is such that is casts no shadows. It is impossible in today’s age to get a structure which has no shadow aspect but somehow the architecture of the Jagannath temple achieves this impossible feat. 
  2. The area above the temple is like a ‘no fly zone’. It isn’t because of any government mandate, but rather a natural phenomenon. While birds and other beings gravitate towards temple spires, this construction has no birds on its spires and neither can they fly above it. Not just birds but even planes or helicopters can’t fly above the main temple. 
  3. The Sudarshan Chakra atop the temple is another mystery which can’t be solved. The sheer weight of the chakra is almost a ton and it is placed in a unique way that no matter where one stands in Puri, the Chakra always seems to be facing them. 
  4. The flag on top of the spire is one that defied many logics. It always flows opposite to the direction of the wind. An appointed priest has to climb almost 45 stories to change it, that too without any protective gear. It is believed that if the flag is not changed on time, then the temple shall be closed for 18 years. 
  5. Even the sea-breeze changes its course for Lord Jagannath of Puri. The breeze blows from land to sea during the day and at night it blows from sea to land making it a wondrous cycle. 
  6. The prasad of Jagannath has a distinct characteristic about it. Firstly, it is made in earthen pots placed one atop the other. The pot placed on the top cooks first and then the rest follow suit. The prasad is never wasted and never short. 
  7. The idols are buried every 8-19 years (only in the year which has adhikmasa as per Hindu Vedic Calendar) and new idols take their place which are made of daru brahma neem tree with elaborate rituals. It is believed that the old idols automatically disintegrate and till they don’t completely disintegrate the new idols wear a mask. 
  8. The idols are treated exactly like family members (or loving children) with a dedicated schedule of their day which is followed rigidly. They are woken up with aarti, and their teeth are brushed just like any other human or child after which they are given auspicious bath. Then they wear fresh clothes and are served a light breakfast. After which they are served the first real meal of the day or a second breakfast. The deities are then again given a change of clothes and get ready for their lunch. Once lunch is done, they even go for a siesta, short nap. After which they are woken up by the evening arti and then served their evening meal. The deities take a late dinner after which they are put to sleep. This schedule is never broken and followed religiously to till date.

The most fascinating site is that of Rath Yatra. The Rath Yatra of Puri happens during second day of Shukla Paksha in Ashaadh month according to the Vedic Calendar. It is believed that the ones who participate in the Rath Yatra are bestowed with abundance by the Divine. This Yatra signifies the event when the Lord Jagannath and his siblings travel to meet their maternal aunt (mausi) at Gundicha Temple. Interestingly, even today when the Ratha Yatra happens, the chariot automatically comes at a halt in front of the Gundicha Temple. 

Also Read: Rameshwaram: Dham Created By Lord Ram

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Chetna Kaushik

About Chetna Kaushik

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