Jagannath Temple, Puri
|Shree Jagannath Temple at Puri|
The Shree Jagannath Temple at Puri
|Elevation||1 m (3 ft)|
|Sanctum||Jagannath / Vishnu|
|Number of temples||31|
|Date built||1161( It was reconstructed by Raja Chodaganga deba which was completed in the year 1161 AD )|
|Temple board||Shree Jagannath Temple Managing Committee, Puri|
|Governing body||Shree Jagannath Temple Office, Puri, Odisha|
Badrinath • Rameswaram
Dwarka • Puri
The Shree Jagannath Temple (Odia: ଶ୍ରୀ ଜଗନ୍ନାଥ ମନ୍ଦିର) of Puri is an important Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Jagannath, a form of lord Vishnu, located on the eastern coast of India, at Puri in the state of Odisha. The temple is an important pilgrimage destination and one of the four great 'Char Dham' pilgrimage sites, found at India's four cardinal points. The present temple was rebuilt from the 10th century onwards, on the site of an earlier temple, and begun by King Anantavarman Chodaganga Deva, first of the Eastern Ganga dynasty.
The temple is famous for its annual Ratha Jatra, or chariot festival, in which the three principal deities are pulled on huge and elaborately decorated temple cars. These gave their name to the English term Juggernaut. Unlike the stone and metal icons found in most Hindu temples, the image of Jagannath is made of wood and is ceremoniously replaced every twelve or nineteen years by an exact replica.
The temple is sacred to all Hindus and especially in those of the Vaishnava traditions. Many great saints, such as Ramananda & Ramanuja were closely associated with the temple. Ramanuja established the Emar Mutt near the temple and the Govardhan Mutt, which is the seat of one of the four Shankaracharya s. It is also of particular significance to the followers of the Gaudiya Vaishnavism whose founder Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, was attracted to the deity, Jagannath, and lived in Puri for many years.
- 1 Deities
- 2 Origins of the temple
- 3 Invasions and desecrations of the Temple
- 4 Entry and Darshan
- 5 Cultural integrity
- 6 Structure
- 7 Daily food offerings
- 8 Rosaighara
- 9 Festivals
- 10 The name Purushottama Kshetra and Its Significance
- 11 Culture and tradition of Puri
- 12 Management
- 13 Contact Information
- 14 Security
- 15 References
- 16 Sources
- 17 External links
The Gods Mahaprabhu (LORD VISHNU) Jagannath, Badathakura Balabhadra and the Goddess Subhadra constitute the main trinity of deities worshiped at the temple. The temple iconography depicts these three Gods sitting on the bejewelled platform or the Ratnabedi in the inner sanctum. The Sudarshan Chakra, deities of Madanmohan, Sridevi and Vishwadhatri are also placed on the Ratnavedi. The temple icons of Jagannath, Balabhadra, Subhadra and Sudarshan Chakra are made from sacred Neem logs known as Daru. Depending on the season the deities are adorned in different garbs and jewels. Worship of these deities pre-date the temple structure and may have originated in an ancient tribal shrine.
Origins of the temple
This temple was initially a Jain temple. Pandit Nilakantha Das suggested that Jagannath was a deity of Jain origin because of the appending of Nath to many Jain Tirthankars. He felt Jagannath meant the 'World personified' in the Jain context and was derived from Jinanath. Evidence of the Jain terminology such as of Kaivalya, which means moksha or salvation, is found in the Jagannath tradition. Similarly, the twenty two steps leading to the temple, called the Baisi Pahacha, have been proposed as symbolic reverence for the first 22 of the 24 Tirthankaras of Jainism.
According to Annirudh Das, the original Jagannath deity was influenced by Jainism and is none other than the Jina of Kalinga taken to Magadh by Mahapadma Nanda. The theory of Jain origins is supported by the Jain Hathigumpha inscription. It mentions the worship of a relic memorial in Khandagiri-Udayagiri, on the Kumara hill. This location is stated to be same as the Jagannath temple site. However, states Starza, a Jain text mentions the Jagannath shrine was restored by Jains, but the authenticity and date of this text is unclear.
Another circumstantial evidence supporting the Jain origins proposal is the discovery of Jaina images inside as well as near the massive Puri temple complex, including those carved into the walls. However, this could also be a later addition, or suggestive of tolerance, mutual support or close relationship between the Jains and the Hindus. According to Starza, the Jain influence on the Jagannath tradition is difficult to assess given the sketchy uncertain evidence, but nothing establishes that the Jagannath tradition has no Jain origin.
Later, Mercenaries of Mahmud Gaznavi destroyed Danta Puri Vihar, a huge Buddha vihar, which preserved a valuable relic, a tooth of Lord Buddha in it . The destroyer goons were afraid to destroy it. Hence, a temporary make shift temple was built in place of Danta Puri Vihar and two deities of local tribes, were brought from nearby forest (in present Angul district forests) and placed inside temple. One of the deity was called Neel Madhav, which was black in colour. The chest portion of this deity was cut open and the holy relic was placed inside and closed like a chaste. This was called as Jivan Vastu. This process is still followed every 12 years, at the time of 'Nabo Kolebaro'. Later on, a temple was constructed by Kalinga king Indradyummna and rechristened as Lord Jagannath Puri Temple. Lord Jagannath was declared as incarnation of Lord Vishnu. One more deity was added and rechristened as Lord Balabhadra and Goddess Subhadra, the brother and sister of Lord Jagannath. Incidentally, this temple was also destroyed by Kalapahad aka Rajiv Lochan Ray. And later on, the present magnificent temple was built thereby, by King Chodaganga of Eastern Ganga dynasty, in between late 11th century and early 12th century.
According to the recently [when?] discovered copper plates from the Ganga dynasty, the construction of the current Jagannath temple was initiated by the ruler of Kalinga, Anantavarma Chodaganga. The Jaga mohan and the Vimana portions of the temple were built during his reign (1078 - 1148 CE). However, it was only in the year 1174 CE that the Odiya ruler Ananga Bhima Deva rebuilt the temple to give a shape in which it stands today. Lord Jagannath word was not found in Vedas or in Vedantas or earlier Hindu scriptures. Hence, worshipping of Lord Jagannath was a non-vedic retual. Jagannath worship in the temple continued until 1558, when Odisha was attacked by the Afghan general Kalapahad. Subsequently, when Ramachandra Deb established an independent kingdom at Khurda in Orissa, the temple was consecrated and the deities reinstalled.
According to legend, the construction of the first Jagannath temple was commissioned by King Indradyumna, son of Bharat and Sunanda, and a Malava king, mentioned in the Mahabharata and the Puranas.
The legendary account as found in the Skanda-Purana, Brahma Purana and other Puranas and later Oriya works state that Lord Jagannath was originally worshipped as Lord Neela Madhaba by a Savar king (tribal chief) named Viswavasu. Having heard about the deity, King Indradyumna sent a Brahmin priest, Vidyapati to locate the deity, who was worshipped secretly in a dense forest by Viswavasu. Vidyapati tried his best but could not locate the place. But at last he managed to marry Viswavasu's daughter Lalita. At repeated request of Vidyapti, Viswavasu took his son-in-law blind folded to a cave where Lord Neela Madhaba was worshipped.
Vidyapati was very intelligent. He dropped mustard seeds on the ground on the way. The seeds germinated after a few days, which enabled him to find out the cave later on. On hearing from him, King Indradyumna proceeded immediately to Odra desha (Odisha) on a pilgrimage to see and worship the Deity. But the deity had disappeared. The king was disappointed. The Deity was hidden in sand. The king was determined not to return without having a darshan of the deity and observed fast unto death at Mount Neela, Then a celestial voice cried 'thou shalt see him.' Afterward, the king performed a horse sacrifice and built a magnificent temple for Vishnu. Sri Narasimha Murti brought by Narada was installed in the temple. During sleep, the king had a vision of Lord Jagannath. Also an astral voice directed him to receive the fragrant tree on the seashore and make idols out of it. Accordingly, the king got the image of Lord Jagannath, Balabhadra, Subhadra and Chakra Sudarshan made out of the wood of the divine tree and installed them in the temple.
Indradyumna's prayer to Lord Brahma
King Indradyumna put up for Jagannath the tallest monument of the world. It was 1,000 cubits high. He invited Lord Brahma, the cosmic creator, consecrate the temple and the images. Brahma came all the way from Heaven for this purpose. Seeing the temple he was immensely pleased with him. Brahma asked Indradyumna as to in what way can he (Brahma) fulfill the king's desire, since was very much pleased with him for his having put the most beautiful Temple for Lord Vishnu. With folded hands, Indradyumna said, "My Lord if you are really pleased with me, kindly bless me with one thing, and it is that I should be issueless and that I should be the last member of my family." In case anybody left alive after him, he would only take pride as the owner of the temple and would not work for the society.
Legend surrounding the Temple origin
The traditional story concerning the origins of the Lord Jagannath temple is that here the original image of Jagannath (a deity form of Vishnu) at the end of Treta yuga manifested near a banyan tree, near seashore in the form of an Indranila mani or the Blue Jewel. It was so dazzling that it could grant instant moksha, so the God Dharma or Yama wanted to hide it in the earth, and was successful. In Dvapara Yuga King Indradyumna of Malwa wanted to find that mysterious image and to do so he performed harsh penances to obtain his goal. Vishnu then instructed him to go to the Puri seashore and find a floating log to make an image from its trunk.
The King found the log of wood. He did a yajna from which God Yajna Nrisimha appeared and instructed that Narayana should be made as fourfold expansion, i.e. Paramatma as Vasudeva, his Vyuha as Samkarshana, Yogamaya as Subhadra, and his Vibhava asSudarsana. Vishwakarma appeared in the form of an artisan and prepared images of Jagannath, Balabhadra and Subhadra from the tree.
When this log, radiant with light was seen floating in the sea, Narada told the king to make three idols out of it and place them in a pavilion. Indradyumna got Visvakarma, the architect of Gods, to build a magnificent temple to house the idols and Vishnu himself appeared in the guise of a carpenter to make the idols on condition that he was to be left undisturbed until he finished the work.
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. Thus, they went to see Vishnu at work at which the latter abandoned his work leaving the idols unfinished. The idol was devoid of any hands. But a divine voice told Indradyumana to install them in the temple. It has also been widely believed that in spite of the idol being without hands, it can watch over the world and be its lord. Thus the idiom.
Invasions and desecrations of the Temple
The temple annals, the Madala Panji records that the Jagannath temple at Puri has been invaded and plundered eighteen times. The invasion by Raktabahu has been considered the first invasion on the temple by the Madalapanji. In 1692, Mughal emperor Aurangzeb ordered the demolition of the temple, but the local Mughal officials who came to carry out the job were somehow bribed out of it. The temple was merely closed. It was re-opened after Aurangzeb’s death in 1707.
Entry and Darshan
Non-Hindus are totally barred from entry. Even Hindus from other countries are not allowed to enter, if they look different from average Indians. There is a Temple Management Committee, but nearly seven thousand Servitors (Pandas), mythologically known as the closer relatives of the deities, rule the roost. Temple has 4 entrances in all directions. Temple security is selective regarding who is allowed entry. Practicing Hindus of non-Indian descent are excluded from the premises. Visitors not allowed entry may view the precincts from the roof of the nearby Raghunandan Library and pay their respects to the image of God Jagannath known as Patitapavana at the main entrance to the temple. There is some evidence that this came into force following a series of invasions by foreigners into the temple and surrounding area. Buddhist, and Jain groups are allowed into the temple compound if they are able to prove their Indian ancestry. The temple has slowly started allowing Hindus of non-Indian origin into the area, after an incident in which 3 Balinese Hindus were denied entry, even though Bali is 90% Hindu.
The temple remains open from 5 am to 12 midnight. Unlike many other temples devotees can go behind the idols (go round the idols). All devotees are allowed to go right up to the deities during the Sahana Mela without paying any fees. The Sahana mela or the public darshan is usually following the abakasha puja between around 7 to 8 am in the morning. Special darshan or Parimanik darshan is when devotees on paying 50 Rupees are allowed right up to the deities. Parimanik darshan happens after the dhupa pujas at around 10 am, 1 pm and 8 pm . At all other times devotees can view the deities from some distance for free. The rathyatra occurs every year some time in the month of July. 2 or 6 weeks before Rathyatra (depending upon the year) there is a ritual of Lord undergoing "Bhukaar" (sick) hence the idols are not on "Darshan". Devotees to make a note of this before they plan to visit the lord.
Starting from Lord Jagannath himself, history has it that he was a tribal deity, adorned by the Sabar people, as a symbol of Narayan. Another legend claims him to be Nilamadhava, an image of Narayana made of blue stone and worshipped by the aboriginals. He was brought to Nilagiri (blue mountain) or Nilachala and installed there as Shri Jagannath in company with Balabhadra and Subhadra. The images made of wood are also claimed to have their distant linkage with the aboriginal system of worshipping wooden poles. To cap it all the Daitapatis, who have a fair share of responsibilities to perform rituals of the Temple, are claimed to be descendants of the aboriginals or hill tribes of Odisha. So we may safely claim that the beginning of the cultural history of Shrikshetra is found in the fusion of Hindu and Tribal Cultures. This has been accepted as a facet of our proud heritage. The three deities came to be claimed as the symbols of Samyak Darshan, Samyak Jnana and Samyak Charita usually regarded as Triratha (of the Jain cult), an assimilation of which leads to Moksha (salvation) or the ultimate bliss...
Jagannath is worshipped as Vishnu or Narayana or Krishna and Lord Balabhadra as Shesha. Simultaneously, the deities are regarded as the bhairava with Vimala (the devi or the consort of Shiva) installed in the campus of the temple. So ultimately we find a fusion of Saivism, Shaktism and Vaishnavism of the Hindu religion with Jainism and up to an extent Buddhism in the culture of Jagannath and the cultural tradition so reverently held together in Shrikshetra.
Acharyas and Jagannatha Puri
All of the renowned acharyas including Madhvacharya have been known to visit this kshetra. Adi Shankara established his Govardhana matha here. There is also evidence that Guru Nanak, Kabir, Tulsidas, Ramanujacharya, and Nimbarkacharya had visited this place. Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu of Gaudiya Vaishnavism stayed here for 24 years, establishing that the love of God can be spread by chanting the Hare Krishna mantra. Srimad Vallabhacharya visited Jagannath Puri and performed a 7-day recitation of Srimad Bhagvat. His sitting place is still famous as "baithakji." It confirms his visit to Puri.
A famous incident took place when Vallabhachrya visited. There was a discourse being held between the Brahmins and 4 questions were asked. Who is the highest of Gods, What is the highest of mantras, What is the highest scripture and What is the highest service. The discourse went on for many days with many schools of thought. Finally Shri Vallabh said to ask Lord Jagannath to confirm Shri Vallabh's answers. A pen and paper were left in the inner sanctum. After some time, the doors were opened and 4 answers were written. 1) The Son of Devaki (Krishna) is the God of Gods 2) His name is the highest of mantras 3) His song is the highest scripture (Bhagavat Geeta) 4) Service to Him is the Highest service. The king was shocked and declared Shri Vallabh the winner of the discourse. Some of the pandits who participated became jealous of Shri Vallabh and wanted to test Him. The next day was Ekadashi, a fasting day where one must fast from grains. The pandits gave Shri Vallabh rice Prasad of Shri Jagannathji (The temple is famous for this). If Shri Vallabh ate it, He would break His vow of fasting but if He did not take it, He would disrespect Lord Jagannath. Shri Vallabh accepted the prasad in his hand and spent the rest of the day and night explaining slokas of the greatness of Prasad and ate the rice the next morning.
Badrinath • Rameswaram
Dwarka • Puri
The temple is one of the holiest Hindu Char Dham (four divine sites) sites comprising Rameswaram, Badrinath, Puri and Dwarka. Though the origins are not clearly known, the Advaita school of Hinduism propagated by Sankaracharya, who created Hindu monastic institutions across India, attributes the origin of Char Dham to the seer. The four monasteries lie across the four corners of India and their attendant temples are Badrinath Temple at Badrinath in the North, Jagannath Temple at Puri in the East, Dwarakadheesh Temple at Dwarka in the West and Ramanathaswamy Temple at Rameswaram in the South. Though ideologically the temples are divided between the sects of Hinduism, namely Saivism and Vaishnavism, the Char Dham pilgrimage is an all Hindu affair. There are four abodes in Himalayas called Chota Char Dham (Chota meaning small): Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri and Yamunotri - all of these lie at the foot hills of Himalayas  The name Chota was added during the mid of 20th century to differentiate the original Char Dhams. The journey across the four cardinal points in India is considered sacred by Hindus who aspire to visit these temples once in their lifetime. Traditionally the trip starts at the eastern end from Puri, proceeding in clockwise direction in a manner typically followed for circumambulation in Hindu temples.
The huge temple complex covers an area of over 400,000 square feet (37,000 m2), and is surrounded by a high fortified wall. This 20 feet (6.1 m) high wall is known as Meghanada Pacheri. Another wall known as kurma bedha surrounds the main temple. It contains at least 120 temples and shrines. With its sculptural richness and fluidity of the Oriya style of temple architecture, it is one of the most magnificent monuments of India. The temple has four distinct sectional structures, namely -
- Deula, Vimana or Garba griha (Sanctum sanctorum) where the triad deities are lodged on the ratnavedi (Throne of Pearls). In Rekha Deula style;
- Mukhashala (Frontal porch);
- Nata mandir/Natamandapa, which is also known as the Jagamohan (Audience Hall/Dancing Hall), and
- Bhoga Mandapa (Offerings Hall).
The main temple is a curvilinear temple and crowning the top is the 'srichakra' (an eight spoked wheel) of Vishnu. Also known as the "Nilachakra", it is made out of Ashtadhatu and is considered sacrosanct. Among the existing temples in Orissa, the temple of Shri Jagannath is the highest. The temple tower was built on a raised platform of stone and, rising to 214 feet (65 m) above the inner sanctum where the deities reside, dominates the surrounding landscape. The pyramidal roofs of the surrounding temples and adjoining halls, or mandapas, rise in steps toward the tower like a ridge of mountain peaks.
The Nila Chakra (Blue Discus) is the discus mounted on the top shikhar of the Jagannath Temple. As per custom, everyday a different flag is waved on the Nila Chakra. The flag hoisted on the Nila Cakra is called the Patita Pavana (Purifier of the Fallen) and is equivalent to the image of the deities placed in the sanctum sanctorum.
The Nila Chakra is a disc with eight Navagunjaras carved on the outer circumference, with all facing towards the flagpost above. It is made of alloy of eight metals (Asta-dhatu) and is 3.5 Metres (11 feet and 8 inches) high with a circumference of about 11 metres (36 feet). During the year 2010, the Nila Chakra was repaired and restored by the Archaeological Survey of India.
The Nila Chakra is distinct from the Sudarshana chakra which has been placed with the deities in the inner sanctorum.
Nila Chakra is the most revered iconic symbol in the Jagannath cult. The Nila Chakra is the only physical object whose markings are used as sacrament and considered sacred in Jagannath worship. It symbolizes protection by Shri Jagannath.
The Singahdwara, which in Sanskrit means The Lion Gate, is one of the four gates to the temple and forms the Main entrance. The Singhadwara is so named because two huge statues of crouching lions exist on either side of the entrance. The gate faces east opening on to the Bada Danda or the Grand Road. The Baisi Pahacha or the flight of twenty two steps leads into the temple complex. An idol of Jagannath known as Patitapavana, which in Sanskrit, means the "Saviour of the downtrodden and the fallen" is painted on the right side of the entrance. In ancient times when untouchables were not allowed inside the temple, they could pray to Patita Pavana. The statues of the two guards to the temple Jaya and Vijaya stand on either side of the doorway. Just before the commencement of the Rath Yatra the idols of Jagannath, Balabhadra and Subhadra are taken out of the temple through this gate. On their return from the Gundicha Temple they have to ceremonially placate Goddess Mahalakshmi, whose statue is carved atop the door, for neglecting to take her with them on the Yatra. Only then the Goddess allows them permission to enter the temple. A magnificent sixteen-sided monolithic pillar known as the Arun stambha stands in front of the main gate. This pillar has an idol of Arun, the charioteer of the Sun God Surya, on its top. One significant thing about Arun stambha is that prior it was located in the Konark Sun temple, later, the Maratha guru Brahmachari Gosain brought this pillar from Konark. The Puri Jagannath Temple was also saved by Maratha emperor Shivaji from being plundered at his times from the Mughals.
Apart from the Singhadwara, which is the main entrance to the temple, there are three other entrances facing north, south and west. They are named after the sculptures of animals guarding them. The other entrances are the Hathidwara or the Elephant Gate, the Vyaghradwara or the Tiger Gate and the Ashwadwara or the Horse Gate.
There are numerous smaller temples and shrines within the Temple complex where active worship is regularly conducted. The Vimala Temple (Bimala Temple) is considered one of the most important of the Shaktipeeths marks the spot where the Goddess Sati's navel fell. It is located near Rohini Kund in the temple complex. Until food offered to Jagannath is offered to Goddess Vimala it is not considered Mahaprasad.
The temple of Mahalakshmi has an important role in rituals of the main temple. It is said that preparation of naivedya as offering for Jagannath is supervised by Mahalakshmi. The Kanchi Ganesh Temple is dedicated to Uchchhishta Ganapati. Tradition says the King of Kanchipuram (Kanchi) in ancient times gifted the idol, when Gajapati Purushottama Deva married Padmavati, the kanchi princess. There are other shrines namely Muktimandap, Surya, Saraswati, Bhuvaneshwari, Narasimha, Rama, Hanuman and Eshaneshwara.
There are many Mandapas or Pillared halls on raised platforms within the temple complex meant for religious congregations. The most prominent is the Mukti Mandapa the congregation hall of the holy seat of selected learned brahmins.
Here important decisions regarding conduct of daily worship and festivals are taken. The Dola Mandapa is noteworthy for a beautifully carved stone Torana or arch which is used for constructing a swing for the annual Dol Yatra festival. During the festival the idol of Dologobinda is placed on the swing. The Snana Bedi is a rectangular stone platform where idols of Jagannath, Balabhadra and Subhadra are placed for ceremonial bathing during the annual Snana Yatra.
Daily food offerings
Daily offerings are made to the Lord six times a day. These include:
- The offering to the Lord in the morning that forms his breakfast and is called Gopala Vallabha Bhoga. Breakfast consists of seven items i.e. Khua, Lahuni, Sweetened coconut grating, Coconut water, and popcorn sweetened with sugar known as Khai, Curd and Ripe bananas.
- The Sakala Dhupa forms his next offering at about 10 AM. This generally consists of 13 items including the Enduri cake & Mantha puli.
- Bada Sankhudi Bhoga forms the next repast & the offering consists of Pakhala with curd and Kanji payas. The offerings are made in the Bhog Mandapa, about 200 feet from the Ratnabedi. This is called Chatra Bhog and was introduced by Adi Shankaracharya in the 8th century to help pilgrims share the temple food.
- The Madhyanha dhupa forms the next offering at the noon.
- The next offering to the Lord is made in the evening at around 8 PM it is Sandhya Dhupa.
- The last offering to the Lord is called the Bada Simhara Bhoga.
The Mahaprasad of Lord Jagannath are distributed amongst the devotees near the Ratnavedi inside the frame of Phokaria, which is being drawn by the Puja pandas using Muruj, except for the Gopal Ballav Bhog and Bhog Mandap Bhoga which are distributed in the Anabsar Pindi & Bhoga Mandap respectively.
The temple's kitchen is considered as the largest kitchen in the world.    Tradition maintains that all food cooked in the temple kitchens are supervised by the Goddess Mahalakshmi, the empress of Srimandir herself. It is said that if the food prepared has any fault in it, a shadow dog appears near the temple kitchen. The temple cooks, or Mahasuaras, take this as a sign of displeasure of Mahalakshmi with the food, which is, then, promptly buried and a new batch cooked. All food is cooked following rules as prescribed by Hindu religious texts, the food cooked is pure vegetarian without using onions and garlic. Cooking is done only in earthen pots with water drawn from two special wells near the kitchen called Ganga and Yamuna. There are a total of 56 varieties of naivedhyas offered to the deities, near Ratnabedi as well as in Bhoga Mandap on five particular Muhurta. The most awaited Prasad is Kotho Bhoga or Abadha, offered at mid-day at around 1 pm, depending upon temple rituals. The food after being offered to Jagannath is distributed in reasonable portions as Mahaprasad, which is considered to be divine by the devotees in the Ananda Bazar (an open market, located to the North-east of the Singhadwara inside the Temple complex).
There are elaborate daily worship services. There are many festivals each year attended by millions of people. The most important festival is the Rath Yatra or the Chariot festival in June. This spectacular festival includes a procession of three huge chariots bearing the idols of Jagannath, Balabhadra and Subhadra through the Bada Danda meaning the Grand Avenue of Puri till their final destination the Gundicha Temple.
Early European observers told tales of devotees being crushed under the wheels of these chariots, whether by accident or even as a form of meritorious suicide akin to suttee. These reports gave rise to the loan word juggernaut suggesting an immense, unstoppable, threatening entity or process operated by fanatics. Many festivals like Dol Yatra in spring and Jhulan Yatra in monsoon are celebrated by temple every year. Pavitrotsava and Damanaka utsava are celebrated as per panchanga or panjika.There are special ceremonies in the month of Kartika and Pausha.
The annual shodasha dinatmaka or 16 day puja beginning 8 days prior to Mahalaya of Ashwin month for Goddess Vimala and ending on Vijayadashami, is of great importance, in which both the utsava murty of lord Madanmohan and Vimala take part.
- Pana Sankranti: Also known or Vishuva Sankranti and Mesha Sankranti: Special rituals are performed at the temple.
Literally means vacation. Every year, the main idols of Jagannath, Balabhadra, Subhadra & Sudarshan after the holy Snana Yatra on the jyestha purnima, go to a secret altar named Anavasara Ghar where they remain for the next dark fortnight (Krishna paksha). Hence devotees are not allowed to view them. Instead of this devotees go to nearby place Brahmagiri to see their beloved lord in the form of four handed form Alarnath a form of Vishnu. Then people get the first glimpse of lord on the day before Rath Yatra, which is called Navayouvana. It is said that the Gods fall in fever after taking a huge bath and they are treated by the special servants named, Daitapatis for 15 days. During this period cooked food is not offered to the deities.
Rath Yatra at Puri
The Jagannath triad are usually worshiped in the sanctum of the temple at Puri, but once during the month of Asadha (Rainy Season of Orissa, usually falling in month of June or July), they are brought out onto the Bada Danda (main street of Puri) and travel (3 km) to the Shri Gundicha Temple, in huge chariots (ratha), allowing the public to have darśana (Holy view). This festival is known as Rath Yatra, meaning the journey (yatra) of the chariots (ratha). The Rathas are huge wheeled wooden structures, which are built anew every year and are pulled by the devotees. The chariot for Jagannath is approximately 45 feet high and 35 feet square and takes about 2 months to construct. The artists and painters of Puri decorate the cars and paint flower petals and other designs on the wheels, the wood-carved charioteer and horses, and the inverted lotuses on the wall behind the throne. The huge chariots of Jagannath pulled during Rath Yatra is the etymological origin of the English word Juggernaut. The Ratha-Yatra is also termed as the Shri Gundicha yatra.
The most significant ritual associated with the Ratha-Yatra is the chhera pahara. During the festival, the Gajapati King wears the outfit of a sweeper and sweeps all around the deities and chariots in the Chera Pahara (sweeping with water) ritual. The Gajapati King cleanses the road before the chariots with a gold-handled broom and sprinkles sandalwood water and powder with utmost devotion. As per the custom, although the Gajapati King has been considered the most exalted person in the Kalingan kingdom, he still renders the menial service to Jagannath. This ritual signified that under the lordship of Jagannath, there is no distinction between the powerful sovereign Gajapati King and the most humble devotee. Chera pahara is held on two days, on the first day of the Ratha Yatra, when the deities are taken to garden house at Mausi Maa Temple and again on the last day of the festival, when the deities are ceremoniously brought back to the Shri Mandir.
As per another ritual, when the deities are taken out from the Shri Mandir to the Chariots in Pahandi vijay.
In the Ratha Yatra, the three deities are taken from the Jagannath Temple in the chariots to the Gundicha Temple, where they stay for nine days. Thereafter, the deities again ride the chariots back to Shri Mandir in bahuda yatra. On the way back, the three chariots halt at the Mausi Maa Temple and the deities are offered Poda Pitha, a kind of baked cake which are generally consumed by the Odisha people only.
The observance of the Rath Yatra of Jagannath dates back to the period of the Puranas. Vivid descriptions of this festival are found in Brahma Purana, Padma Purana, and Skanda Purana. Kapila Samhita also refers to Rath Yatra. In Moghul period also, King Ramsingh of Jaipur, Rajasthan has been described as organizing the Rath Yatra in the 18th Century. In Orissa, Kings of Mayurbhanj and Parlakhemundi were organizing the Rath Yatra, though the most grand festival in terms of scale and popularity takes place at Puri.
Moreover, Starza notes that the ruling Ganga dynasty instituted the Rath Yatra at the completion of the great temple around 1150 AD. This festival was one of those Hindu festivals that was reported to the Western world very early. Friar Odoric of Pordenone visited India in 1316-1318, some 20 years after Marco Polo had dictated the account of his travels while in a Genoese prison. In his own account of 1321, Odoric reported how the people put the "idols" on chariots, and the King and Queen and all the people drew them from the "church" with song and music. 
Celebrated on Asadha Trayodashi. Niladri Bije is the concluding day of Ratha yatra. On this day deities return to the ratna bedi.  Lord Jagannath offers Rasgulla to Goddess Laxmi to enter into the temple.
Celebrated for 16 days from Ashwina Krushna dwitiya to Vijayadashami. As per tradition, the idol of Madhaba, along with the idol of Goddess Durga (known as Durgamadhaba), is taken on a tour of the temple premises. The tour within the temple is observed for the first eight days. For the next eight days, the idols are taken outside the temple on a palanquin to the nearby Narayani temple situated in the Dolamandapa lane. After their worship, they are brought back to the temple.
One of the most grandiloquent events associated with the Lord Jagannath, Nabakalabera takes place when one lunar month of Ashadha is followed by another lunar month of Aashadha. This can take place in 8, 12 or even 18 years. Literally meaning the "New Body" (Nava = New, Kalevar = Body), the festival is witnessed by as millions of people and the budget for this event exceeds $500,000. The event involves installation of new images in the temple and burial of the old ones in the temple premises at Koili Vaikuntha. The idols that are currently being worshipped in the temple premises were installed in the year 1996.Next ceremony will be held on 2015. More than 3 million devotees are expected to visit the temple during the Nabakalevara of 2015 making it one of the most visited festivals in the world.
The name Purushottama Kshetra and Its Significance
Lord Jagannath is the Purushottama as per the scripture, Skanda Purana. In order to teach human beings how to lead a life full of virtue, he has taken the form of Saguna Brahman or Darubrahman. He is the best brother to his siblings, Lord Balabhadra and Devi Subhadra. He is the best husband to Goddess Mahalaxmi (Sri and Bhu forms). The most noteworthy aspect is still in the month of Margashirsha, on three consecutive days during amavasya he does Shraddha to his parents (Kashyapa-Aditi, Dasharatha-Kaushalya, Vasudeva-Devaki, Nanda-Yashoda), along with the king Indradyumna and queen Gundicha. As a master he enjoys every comfort daily and in various festivals. He grants all wishes to his subjects, and those who surrender before him he takes the utmost care of.
Culture and tradition of Puri
Puri is one of the fascinating littoral districts of Odisha. The Cultural heritage of Puri with its long recorded history has its beginnings in the third century BC. The monuments, religious sanctity, and way of life of the people with their rich tradition is the cultural heart of Odisha. Indeed, Puri is considered the cultural capital of Odisha. The culture here flourished with its manifold activities.
The District has the happy conglomerate of different religions, sects and faith. In the course of history, Hindu, Buddhist, Jaina, Muslim, Christian, and Sikh are found here in the District.
Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, an incarnation of Lord Krishna, appeared 500 years ago, in the mood of a devotee to taste the sublime emotions of ecstasy by chanting the holy name of Krishna. Stalwart scholars of Puri like Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya (a priest & great Sanskrit pandit) and others followed His teachings. Even kings and ministers of His period became His disciples. Especially King Prataparudra became His great admirer and ardent follower. Thus all cultures and religion became one in Puri after his teachings were given to all with no consideration of caste and creed.
After independence, the State Government, with a view to getting better administrative system, passed " The Puri Shri Jagannath Temple (Administration) Act, 1952. It contained provisions to prepare the Record of Rights and duties of Sevayats and such other persons connected with the system of worship and management of the temple. Subsequently Shri Jagannath Temple Act, 1955 " was enacted to reorganize the management system of the affair of the temple and its properties.
Gajapati Maharaj Shri Dibyasingha Deb is the "adhyasevak" (chief servitor) of the temple. He took the role in 1970 after the death of his father, the then Maharaja of Puri, Birakishore Deb, at the age of 17.
(1)Shri Dibyasingha Deb (Gajapati Maharaja), Chairman, Shree Jagannath Temple Managing Committee, Shri Nahar, Puri, Odisha- 752001
(2)Chief Administrator, Shree Jagannath Temple Administration, Puri, Odisha
(3)Collector-cum-District Magistrate & Deputy Chief Administrator, Puri, Odisha
(4)Superintendent of Police, Puri, Odisha
The security at the 12th century Jagannath Temple has increased ahead of Ratha Yatra, the homecoming festival of the deities of Jagannath temple. In the wake of terror alert on 27 June 2012, the security forces were increased to ensure smooth functioning of the crowded Ratha Yatra and Suna Besha.
- Cesarone, Bernard (2012). "Bernard Cesarone: Pata-chitras of Odisha". asianart.com. Retrieved 2 July 2012.
This temple was built in approximately 1135-1150 by Codaganga, a king of the Eastern Ganga dynasty
- "Chodaganga Deva". indiadivine.org. 2012. Retrieved 2 July 2012.
Chodaganga Deva (1078-1150), the greatest of the Ganga kings, built a new temple on the ruins of the old one
- Nugteren, Albertina (2010). "Weaving Nature Into Myth: Continuing Narratives Of Wood, Trees, And Forests In The Ritual Fabric Around The God Jagannath In Puri". Journal For The Study Of Religion, Nature And Culture. 4.2: 159–172.
- "Deities In Lord Jagannath Temple - Jagannath Temple". jagannathtemplepuri.com. 2012. Retrieved 26 June 2012.
along with Balabhadra, Subhadra, Sudarshan, Madhaba, Sridevi and Bhudevi on the Ratnabedi or the bejewelled platform.
- "Juggernaut of Puri". Retrieved 2006-09-20.
- Mohanty, Jagannath (2009). Indian Culture and Education. Deep& Deep. p. 5. ISBN 978-81-8450-150-6.
- Barik, P M (July 2005). "Jainism and Buddhism in Jagannath culture" (PDF). Orissa Review: 36. Retrieved 29 November 2012.
- Avinash Patra (2011). Origin & Antiquity of the Cult of Lord Jagannath. Oxford University Press. pp. 8–10, 17–18.
- Das, Aniruddha. Jagannath and Nepal. pp. 9–10.
- O. M. Starza (1993). The Jagannatha Temple at Puri: Its Architecture, Art, and Cult. BRILL Academic. pp. 62–63 with footnotes. ISBN 90-04-09673-6.
- Patel & Pal, Dr. C. B. & Bharati (27 September 2004). "OHRJ, Vol. XLVII, No. 3 THE NEWLY DISCOVERED THREE SETS OF SVETAKA GANGA COPPER PLATES" (PDF). http://odisha.gov.in/e-magazine/Journal/journalvol3/pdf/40-48.pdf. Odisha State Museum Bhubaneswar. Retrieved 8 January 2017. External link in
- Chouhan, Shashank. "The abode of the Lord of the Universe". Zeenews.com. Retrieved 10 February 2013.
- "Lord Jagannath : Symbol of Unity and Integration" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 27 September 2007. Retrieved 1 May 2006.
- "Jagannath Temple". Archived from the original on 23 February 2007.
- Amalananda Ghosh. An Encyclopaedia of Indian Archaeology. BRILL Academic. p. 161. ISBN 90-04-09264-1.
- "Sri Jagannath Puri Dham Information - Jagannath". jagannathpuri-info.net. 2012. Retrieved 26 June 2012.
The King wanted Lord Brahma to consecrate the temple
- "Jagannath Temple at Puri". Retrieved 2006-09-12.
- Dash, Abhimanyu (July 2011). "Invasions on the Temple of Lord Jagannath, Puri" (PDF). Orissa Review: 82–89. Archived from the original (PDF) on 14 July 2014. Retrieved 4 July 2014.
- "Jagannatha Puri". Archived from the original on 2006-07-15. Retrieved 2006-09-12.
- "Puri - Jagannath Temple". Archived from the original on 6 March 2012.
- "Jagannath Temple". Retrieved 2006-09-12.
- Puri temple in Hindu gaffe Archived 4 March 2016 at the Wayback Machine., The Telegraph, Calcutta - 8 November 2007
- "Jagannath Darshan". http://jagannath.nic.in. Jagannath Temple Administration. Archived from the original on 5 March 2013. Retrieved 27 June 2014.
- "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 10 April 2009. Retrieved 2010-03-08.
- Chakravarti 1994, p. 140
- Mittal, Sushil (2004). The Hindu World. New York: Routledge. p. 482. ISBN 0-203-64470-0.
- Brockman 2011, pp. 94-96
- Gupta 2008, p. 484-486
- last=Gwynne 2008, Section on Char Dham
- "About Sakhigopal". samsepuja.in. 2012. Archived from the original on 24 February 2015. Retrieved 26 June 2012.
The outermost is called 'Meghanad Pacheri' which has a length of 650ft from east to west and breadth of 644ft from north to south direction. The height of Meghanad Pacheri is 20ft and thickness of 6ft
- "Lord Jagannath:Inside the temple of the lord, Jagannath Puri, Jagannath Temple,Orissa | orissa.oriyaonline.com". orissa.oriyaonline.com. 2012. Retrieved 26 June 2012.
and kurma Bedha (the inner wall) or the inner enclosure of the Jagannath temple i
- "Sri Jagannath". Retrieved 2006-09-12.
- "Jagannath Temple, India - 7 wonders". 7wonders.org. 2012. Retrieved 2 July 2012.
The temple is divided into four chambers: Bhogmandir, Natamandir, Jagamohana and Deul
- "Architecture of Jagannath Temple, Jagannath Puri Architecture, Puri Jagannath Temple India". orissatourism.org. 2012. Retrieved 2 July 2012.
wheel on top of the Jagannath Temple made of an alloy of eight metals (astadhatu). It is called the Nila Chakra (Blue Wheel)
- "Jagannath Temple, Orrisa". Retrieved 2006-09-20.
- "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 3 March 2016. Retrieved 2014-08-15.
- Nilachakra is now repairing by Archaeological Survey of India — PURIWAVES | PURIWAVES | photonews || puri odisha || purinews || | Nilachakra is now repairing by Archaeological... Archived 12 March 2016 at the Wayback Machine.
- "About Temple - Devotee Care Center". devoteecare.fullorissa.com. 2012. Retrieved 28 September 2012.
Two colossal lions flank the Purba Dwara (Eastern Gate) also known as Simha Dwara. This is a mini tower and the main entrance to the temple[dead link]
- "Sri Jagannath Temple". Retrieved 2006-09-20.
- "Main Temple Complex - Sun Temple, Konarak - Archaeological Survey of India". asi.nic.in. 2011. Retrieved 5 October 2012.
To the front of the eastern staircase of the porch, once stood the free-standing chlorite pillar, the dhvaja-stambha, with Aruna, the charioteer of Surya as the crowning element
- "Aruna Stambha | PURIWAVES". puriwaves.nirmalya.in. 2012. Retrieved 5 October 2012.
this Pillar was a part of Sun Temple Of Konark and was located in front of Sun Temple
- Behera, Prajna Paramita (2004). "The Pillars of Homage to Lord Jagannatha" (PDF). Orissa Review. Archived from the original (PDF) on 22 February 2014. Retrieved 5 October 2012.
- "Puri Sri Jagannath temple tour & accommodation". go2india.in. 2012. Retrieved 2 July 2012.
Main Gate the Singh Dwar or Lion Gate ( Eastern gate ) Dharma Dwar Dakhina Dwar ( South gate or Horse gate ), Kudia Hanuman temple is there ( Kamana Gate ) Paschima Dwar ( West gate or Tiger gate ), Artha Dwar ( Money gate) Uttar Dwar ( North gate or Elephant gate ), Mokya Dyar
- "JAGANNATH TEMPLE, SANCTUARIES, MANDAPS OF LORD JAGANNATH TEMPLE PURI". jagannath.orissaculture.com. 2009. Archived from the original on 11 July 2012. Retrieved 26 June 2012.
It is allowed only for Sankaracharya, Brahmins of 16 sasans and for Jhulan yatra.
- "Rituals of LORDS". jagannath.nic.in. Archived from the original on 9 December 2012. Retrieved 25 December 2012.
This is the last bhoga of the day.
- Karan, Jajati (2009). "God's own kitchen vies for no record - India News - IBNLive". ibnlive.in.com. Archived from the original on 28 February 2011. Retrieved 2 July 2012.
the Jagannath temple in Puri has the world's largest kitchen that can feed more than one lakh people at a time
- "The Sampradaya Sun - Independent Vaisnava News - Feature Stories - June 2011". harekrsna.com. 2011. Retrieved 26 June 2012.
Not only is it the largest temple kitchen in the world
- "Amazing Orissa". nilachakra.org. 2011. Retrieved 2 July 2012.
The Jagannath temple kitchen at Puri is reputed to be the largest kitchen in the world
- "Kitchen of Lord Jagannath - Devotee Care Center". devoteecare.fullorissa.com. 2012. Retrieved 28 September 2012.
If the dog is seen, all the food must be buried and prepared again
- "Jagannath Temple, Jagannath Puri, Jagannath Temple Puri, Jagannath Temple of Puri, Jagannath Temple Odisha, Jagannath Temple Orissa". visitodisha.net. 2012. Retrieved 28 September 2012.
The Prasad is prepared in a very traditional way, without using onion, garlic, chillies
- "Jagannath Temple at Puri". Retrieved 2006-09-20.
- "Festivals of lord jagannath, puri festivals". fullorissa.com. 2010. Retrieved 16 May 2012.
Pana Sankranti or Mahabishuba sankranti:
- "Alarnatha – Articles - Jagannath Dham". jagannathdham.com. 2012. Retrieved 16 May 2012.
peoples believe that Lord Jagannath during this time manifests as Alarnath Dev,
- "Festivals of Lord Sri Jagannath". nilachakra.org. 2010. Retrieved 16 May 2012.
suffer from fever on the account of elaborate bath and for that they are kept in dietary provisions (No cooked food is served) and are nursed by the Daitas
- Starza 1993, p. 16.
- Das 1982, p. 40.
- "Juggernaut-Definition and Meaning". Merriam Webster Dictionary. Retrieved 28 November 2012.
- Karan, Jajati (4 July 2008). "Lord Jagannath yatra to begin soon". IBN Live. Retrieved 28 November 2012.
- Starza 1993, p. 133.
- Mitter 1977, p. 10.
- Starza 1993, p. 129.
- Das 1982, p. 48.
- "Festivals of Lord Sri Jagannath". nilachakra.org. 2010. Retrieved 3 July 2012.
NILADRI BIJE - Celebrated on 13th day of bright fortnight of Asadha.
- "Ocean of devotees on Grand road to witness Sunavesh". news.oneindia.in. 2012. Retrieved 3 July 2012.
entering in to the sanctum sanctorum popularly called Niladri Bije
- "Niladri Bije – Lord Jagannath Returning to Shree Mandir | PURIWAVES". puriwaves.nirmalya.in. 2012. Retrieved 3 July 2012.
‘Niladri Bije’, the return journey to Shree Mandir. It is the welcome festival of Lord Jagannath to Shree Mandir
- "Lord placates wife with sweet delight". divinechariots.com. Odisha, India. 2018. Retrieved 4 March 2018.
Lord Jagannath tries to mollify His wife by offering her rasagullas, so that she lets Him enter the temple with His siblings
- "Lord Jagannath placates angry Mahalakshmi, reenters temple". dailypioneer.com. 2012. Retrieved 3 July 2012.
Jagannath then offers Mahalakshmi rasgullas to placate her and to forgive him
- Panda, Namita (11 October 2010). "The Telegraph - Calcutta (Kolkata) | Orissa | Gupta Gundicha attracts devotees". telegraphindia.com. Calcutta, India. Retrieved 20 December 2012.
Beginning from Ashwina Krishna dwitiya to the last day of Dusherra,
- "Gupta Gundicha In Srikhetra – Start of Durga Madhab worshiping | PURIWAVES". puriwaves.nirmalya.in. Retrieved 20 December 2012.
The Vimanbadu servants ( who carry the chariot) carry Sri Durga – Madhab ( Sri Jagannath & Jaya Durga ) in a chariot to the temple of Narayani at Dolamandap Sahi.
- "Puri gearing up for 2015 Nabakalebar". dailypioneer.com. 2011. Retrieved 4 January 2013.
Nabakalebar ritual of Lord Jagannath to be held in 2015,
- "Plans afoot to manage Nabakalebar crowd". Times of India. 12 July 2014. Retrieved 13 July 2014.
- Manti, J.C. The Saga of Jagannatha and Badadeula at Puri. p. 100. Retrieved 1 July 2015.
- "Jagannath temple servitors oppose untimely ISKON Rathyatra". news.oneindia.in. 2012. Retrieved 28 September 2012.
Gajapati King, who is considered as the chief servitor of the temple
- "Lord Jagannath:Sevayats,complete list of servitors of Lord Jagannath,Jagannath Puri, Jagannath Temple, Orissa | orissa.oriyaonline.com". orissa.oriyaonline.com. Retrieved 28 September 2012.
The Gajapati (The King of Puri) is treated as the first and foremost Servitor of the Temple
- "I can walk and not take the palanquin'". The Times Of India. 2011. Retrieved 13 January 2013.
I ascended the throne in July 1970 when my father Gajapati Birakishore Deb died in the midst of the car festival. I was then only 17
- "Terror alert in Puri, security tightened". The Times Of India. 27 June 2012.
- Brockman, Norbert C. (2011). Encyclopedia of Sacred Places. California: ABC-CLIO, LLC. ISBN 978-1-59884-655-3.
- Chakravarti, Mahadev (1994). The Concept of Rudra-Śiva Through The Ages (Second Revised ed.). Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass. ISBN 81-208-0053-2.
- Gwynne, Paul (2009). World Religions in Practice: A Comparative Introduction. Oxford: Blackwell Publication. ISBN 978-1-4051-6702-4.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Jagannath Temple, Puri.|
- Jagannath Dham Puri (Official Website of the temple)
- Know More: Jagannath Dham
- Lord Sri Jagannath Temple - Jagannath Dharma (Official website of the Puri district administration)
- Odisha Tourism
- OTDC Website
- Comprehensive information about Jagannath Puri Dham
- Lord Jagannath Dham, Puri
- Jagannath Temple travel guide from Wikivoyage
- Street View around Jagannath Temple