Jagannath Temple is a world-famous temple, holding religious prestige. Situated in the coastal town of Puri in Orissa, Jagannath Mandir is one of the four crucial pilgrimage locations of the Hindus. The temple is easily reached through usual buses or taxis that are accessible throughout Orissa. The word Jagannath is originated from two words, “Jagat” and “Nath”, where the former implies “the Universe” and the later means “Bhagwaan”. Therefore, Jagannath means “Bhagwaan of the Universe”.
Bhagwaan Jagannath is assumed as the aspect of Bhagwaan Krishna. The origin of Jagannath Mandir can be tracked in medieval times. This historical temple is important for Vaishnavites/ Hindus. The Vishnu Chakra is the longest point of the temple. The red flag on top of the Chakra implies that the Bhagwaan is inside the temple. The Jagmohana and the Vimana are believed to be constructed in the reign of Anantavarman Chodaganga Dev (1078 -1148 CE), who was the King of Kalinga.
However, the existing building was shaped in 1174 CE by Ananga Bhima Deva, a ruler of Orissa. In 1558, the temple was raided by Kalapahad (an Afghan general) and the worship of the Bhagwaan was terminated. Consequently, Ramachandra Deb designated his Kingdom at Khurda in Orissa. He took the initiative to re-establish the temple and got the deities reinstalled.
Rath Yatra / Chariot Festival
Jagannath Mandir is incredibly commemorated for its Chariot Festival (Rath Yatra), which is celebrated annually. During this festival, enormous chariots holding the images of Bhagwaan Jagannath, Balarama and Subhadra are drawn for a spectacle through the streets of Puri. Every year, this festival is dedicated in June/ July. Millions of people come from all over the world, to take part in the rituals and traditions of this festivity.
Legend about the origin of Jagannath Temple
The traditional legend tells that the original impression of Bhagwaan Jagannath (a form of Bhagwaan Krishna) was found in the proximity of a fig tree. The image was discovered in the form of an Indranila (Blue Jewel). The sensation of the portrayal was so glittering that Dharma decided to conceal it in the earth. Later, King Indradyumna of Malwa pursued to discover the image. To discover the portrayal, he did strict penance and satisfied the Bhagwaan. Thereafter, Bhagwaan Vishnu instructed him to go to the Puri seashore, where he would get a floating log. From the log, he could make a portrayal of Bhagwaan Jagannath. On discovering the log, the King met two artists, who were none other than Bhagwaan Vishnu and Vishwakarma. They then created idols of Krishna, Balarama and Subhadra from the log.
Bhagwaan Jagannath is the symbol of ample love and bliss. In the temple, the major interest is huddled by Bhagwaan Jagannath along with Balabhadra (Balrama) and Subhadra (Sister of Bhagwaan Krishna). The portrayals of deities are etched out of margosa wood. These images are positioned on the “Ratnabedi” (bejeweled platform) in the sanctum sanctorum. The offering to the Bhagwaan is inferred as Maha Prasada and it comprises 56 varieties of food.