Neela Madhava

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Nila Madhava (Odia:ନୀଳ ମାଧବ) is a murti that was in the possession of a tribal king, Biswabasu.[1][2] Scriptures says that, after Lord Krishna wound up his manifested pastimes, he took a shape of Lord Vishnu. Biswabasu found this stone and felt its divinity. So he started worshiping it and name it Lord Nila Madhava. This brahma was later fetched by King Indradyumna by Brahmin Bidyapati for the creation of Lord Jagannath's idol. It has been kept inside a small chamber inside the Lords idol. It is believed that it is still present inside the Lord's idol and is transferred to the new idol after every 12 years.

The Puranic text Purusottama Mahatmya[3] of the Skanda Purana contains the Indradyumna legend and the origin of Jagannatha’s wooden idol at Puri.

According to the legends, in the Satya Yuga, Indradyumna was a Lunar Dynasty king of Somavamsa lineage. A traveling pilgrim came before Indradyumna and described the great God Nila Madhava (Blue Vishnu) being worshipped at Nilachal (Blue Mountain) in Odra (Odisha). The pilgrim disappeared after telling the story. At the king’s request, his priest and his younger brother Bidyapati went in search of the legendary divinity. Bidyapati reached the forest in Sabaradwipa on the banks of the river Mahanadi. The Sabara king, Biswabasu, received Bidyapati and promised to show him Nila Madhava the next morning. Bidyapati did not touch food or water before seeing the Lord. Seeing the eagerness of Bidyapati, the Sabara king had him bathed in Rohini-kunda and seated him under the kalpaw tree. There Bidyapati saw Nila Madhava being worshipped by the Devas. Then Bidyapati returned to Avanti, the capital of King Indradyumna.

After listening to Bidyapati’s account, Indradyumna set out for Nila Madhava, along with the priest, Bidyapati, and his followers. But as it turned out, Nila Madhava had disappeared on the very day that Bidyapati had returned to Malaba. Upon reaching the spot, they found the god missing and the entire area covered with the golden sand of the coast. The shocked king Indradyumna was apprised of the message of Brahma by Narada: that the King must worship the deity with one thousand Aswamedha yajnas.

The divination of Nila Madhava went on:

"In this world I will not give you Darśana in the form of Nila Madhava, but I will manifest in four forms: Jagannath, Balabhadra, Subhadra, and Sudarshan Chakra. Wait near Chakra tirtha, and a daaru would come afloat. I will manifest in the form of a very large, fragrant, reddish log, and the signs of sankhaw, cakraw, gada, and padma will be seen everywhere on that form. Go there. Take Me out and make four deities from that log. Then you will be able to worship Me."

Upon receiving the devotion of the King, the Purusottama himself took the form of Visvakarma and secretly made the idols of daru (wood). Thereafter, Brahma himself established the holy idols on Baishakhaw Sukla, on Pushya star.

The traditional version lacks historical support, as the identity of Nila Madhava remains unclear. For this reason, this traditional account of the emergence and origin of Jagannath worship remains a myth only. However, a Nilamadhav Temple is in the Kantilo town of Nayagarh, Odisha,[4] dedicated to a deity named Nila Madhava, of uncertain genealogy.


  1. ^[bare URL PDF]
  2. ^ "Place of Maharaja Indradyumna in the Cult of Lord Jagannath".
  3. ^ "Private Site".
  4. ^ Nilamadhav Temple