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Vishnu Mayam Jagat
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Andhra Pradesh Tamil Nadu
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Orissa Bihar
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Manipur Madhya Pradesh
Rajasthan Maharastra
Temples Of India
Lord Siva To Be Adored The Devalayas Of Karnataka
Palani Dhandhayudhapani The Kovils Of Kerala
The Temples of North-West India Temples For The Triple Sects
Mata Kanakadurga of Vijayawada The Legend Of Mata Kanyaka Parameswari
The Temples Of North-East India Mantralya Mahakshetra
The Aalayas of Andhra Pradesh The Mandirs Of Maharastra
Mighty Atoms For Tiny Tots Lord Siva Of Sri Kalahasthi
Bhagawan Vithoba Of Pandharpur Bizarre Beliefs And Odd Traditions
Asoka Priyadarsin The Mother Of Melmaruvathur And Her Miracles
Vishnu Mayam Jagat Sarvam Sakti Mayam
The Temples Of Tamilnadu Hindu Ethos In Capsules - Vol I

Hindu Ethos In Capsules - Vol II

Hullo Tirupathi !
Uthuthshta Govinda Cum Jo Jo Mukunda The Miracles Of Gods For The Debacles Of Humans
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Puri - Sri Jagannath Mandir

Lying on the shore of Bay of Bengal and forming the apex of the golden triangle of Orissan temples of Konark, Bhuvaneswar and Puri, this worth-seeing moksha dham of eternal importance is occupying an unenviable place in Puranas and literature of every genre of many languages at it.


From time immemorial, Puri is famous for its religious shrines, historic antiquities and architectural treasures. It is a thirtha kshetra and boasts of a host of holy lakes and ponds, besides the blue waters of the Bay of Bengal. A bath in them purges one of his sins and diseases. Tradition registers that one gets salvation by his mere coming in contact with the air, soil and waters of this place, and will become immortal; if he offers soulful prayers to the deities enshrined in and around the Srimandir - Jagannath temple. Nay, even by uttering the names of scores of deities adorning the niches and mini-shrines, one's soul - Jivatma gets lifted and flies to merge with Paramatma, says the sthalagna.

The Main Temples - Sri Mandir

This imposing shrine dominating the landscape for miles around, beckons the attention of the pilgrims with its architectural grandeur and sculptural beauty at a mere glance. It is erected on an elevated place, called the Nilagiri - the Blue hill and is in the heart of the city. It is one of the best specimens of Orissan school of architecture, in its finished form, built by Chodaganga in the 12th Century with a view to commemorating the shifting of his capital from southern to central part of Orissa. It is a supreme specimen of the richness and superb plasticity of the Kalinga style of architecture. This Srimandir, as it is popularly known has four well-marked out mandapas. They are Boga mandap, Naata mandap, Mukha mandap and the Bada deul - Main mandap; and all the four stand in a line with entrances opening one into another. The tower of the main temple is 210 feet high and it is the highest of the towers in Orissa then, or now. There is a blue disc over the tower and it is called the Sudarsan chakra, the divine weapon adorning the right hand of Lord Krishna of Dwaparayuga. These four mandapas are surrounded by two compound walls; the outer one is called Meganath pacheri and the inner one Bahar Veda. 1t has four gates on four sides and they are called by different names. The Lion's gate on the eastern side is the biggest, and the others like the Elephant gate on the north, the Horse gate on the south and the Tiger gate on the west come next in size and importance.

The Temple Complex

The pilgrim entering the temple through the Lion's gate has to ascend 22 steps called the Baisi pahach. In front of the Lion's gate stands a 35 feet high pillar called Anur pillar and it is presided over by the Sun's charioteer - Anur. Offering prayers fist to it, pilgrims reach the interior part, where there are more than 100 shrines dedicated to almost all the deities found in the Hindu pantheon; and that is the speciality here. As the temple tradition insists one on seeing the principal deities first before circumambulating, let us enter the Bada Deul to feast our eyes with the beauty of the Moola Vigrahas. 

The Archiamurtis

The images of Balabhadra, Subhadra and Jagannath made of wood are installed on a broad five-feet-high pedestal called Ratna Sinhasan. The statues of Balabhadra, Subhadra and Jagannath are sufficiently big in size, are installed in standing posture. They measure six feet, four feet and five feet in height respectively, and are draped in white, yellow and black garments. The sanctum sanctorum is very spacious. Though bereft of sculptural adornments, it is unusually vast and there is a provision for making pradakshana to the Moola Vigrahas. Strangely enough, the idols are not adorned either with dazzling diamond jewels, or shimmering out-fit, as seen in the South Indian temples. Why, even the pompous paraphernalia are conspicuous by its absence. Simplicity and oddity greet us at every step. There are many explanations and divergent versions about the form of deities and the influence they have on the ardent devotees.

It is believed that the deities Balabhadra, Subhadra and Jagannath represent respectively the three major sects of Hinduism, like Saivism, Sakteism and Vaishnavism, and standing on one and the same pedestal, they are establishing the essential unity of mankind and equality among their children. Hence the attraction for all the three sects. Another version says that the three images are the symbolical figures of the Buddhist Triad - Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha; and so visited by the Buddhists in large numbers. Regarding the popularity and fame of the temple, many stories are circulated. According to one, the spirit of Brahma is embedded in the breast of Jagannath and it is the main cause for the unprecedented popularity, universality and sanctity of the place. Some believe that a piece of the bone of Lord Krishna is enshrined in the bosom of Jagannath. Yet others hazard a guess that the breast of Jagannath encases a tooth of Lord Buddha. The claims of several others may appear fantastic and baseless, but none can deny, or refute with evidence of the unearthly glory of Lord Jagannath.

Mini Shrines Around The Srimandir

There are nearly as many as one hundred mini-shrines inside the compound. Among them, Kasi Viswanath on the southern side of the outer enclosure attracts many devotees. Sada Bhuja Gouranga, Barabhai Hanuman, Narasimha, Rameswara Mahadev, Dwarakanath, Badarinath, Lokanath, Barabai, Sitala, Kanchi Ganesh, Pataleshwar, Dadhi Vamana, and Navagrahas deserve special mention. Devotees join their palms as the guide narrates many special features of each moving from corner to corner.

The Ratha Yatra

The Ratha Yatra - the annual car festival is another notable factor for the world-wide popularity of the temple. It is held in the month of Aashad in such a grandiose and splendiferous manner that history has not so far produced any parallel to it, in matters of popularity, sanctity, immensity and sublimity. Its peculiarity lies in the fact that the three Moola Vigrahas are taken in procession in three separate and well-decorated gigantic cars from the Main temple to Gundicha mandir, lying at a distance of about two kms. The belief is current that he who stays here for three days and nights is freed from the cycle of births and deaths. Its history is vast and sanctity defies description. Of the three, the Jagannath chariot is superb. It is 45 feet in height and elegant with soul filling decorations. It is supported by 16 wheels and as many as two lakh people participate in it. It commemorates Lord Krishna's journey from Gokulam to Mathura. The deities remain at Gudicha Mandir for a week. Millions from all over India avail this unique sight. There is a great craze for touching and tugging the car, for, it is considered as an act of emancipation by the orthodox Indians. The festivities of this grandiose event start with Hindu New year, when the trinity - Jagannath, Subhadra and Balabhadra take a boat-ride followed by bathing festival. After this, the deities are taken to the sanctum. Emerging from there, the yatra begins and reaches the summer temple.

It is dedicated to Mahavishnu - the Lord of the Universe and He is called here Jagannath. It is one of the four Dhams of Srimannarayan, the others being Badari, Dwaraka and Rameswaram. Sacred books describe that Sri Mahavishnu bathes in Badari, drapes in Dwaraka, dines in Puri and sleeps in Rameswaram. Hence the special significance is attached to the place, and prasad too in this temple.

It lies in the heart of Puri, the erst-while capital of Orissa, commanding all transport facilities. It is a rail head too.


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