The beautiful country of Bharat is home not only to rich natural beauty but also to beautiful and unique architectural marvels. In the state of Odisha is a magnificent temple, which is an abode of divinity, but also riddled with baffling mysteries.
About Shree Jagannath Temple
Shree Jagannath Temple is devoted to Lord Jagannath, a form of Lord Vishnu. It is a place of revere and importance to devotees, as it is one of the Char Dham (a set of four pilgrimage sites in India, by visiting which one is believed to attain salvation) pilgrimage sites of Bharat. Shri Jagannath Temple is also famous for its vibrant annual Ratha Yatra or chariot festival, during which the three principal deities of the temple are paraded around in ornately decorated temple cars. The Ratha Yatra is witnessed by thousands of pilgrims every year and is a time of great magnificence and awe.
According to local legends and tales, Shri Jagannath Temple is believed to have been built by King Indradyumna in the 11th Century. It is believed that King Indradyumna during one of his sacred baths in the river, he found an iron rod floating. Lord Vishnu then whispered to him that the hovering rod was nothing but his own heart. The king was blessed and he sprinted away to Lord Jagannath and placed the rod in him covertly. King Indradyumna restricted people from seeing and touching the rod. Since then the idol of the Lord has been off-limits to people and devotees can only see him at particular times.
The magnanimous temple built across three generations was built based on Oriya architecture and has around 120 shrines in its complex. There are four intricately carved gates to enter the temple, of which the main one is the Singhadwara or Lion Gate. In front of this gate, is a sixteen-sided, monolithic pillar called the Arun Stambha. This pillar was previously located at the Konark Sun Temple. Do you know what makes this place’s idol unique? Most deities are carved out of metal or stone. However, the deities in Shri Jagannath Temple are carved out of neem wood. The old idols are ceremoniously buried and replaced every twelve or nineteen years by a replica.
Jagannath Temple Mysteries
Temple Flag: Defying the common laws of science and logic, the flag atop the Jagannath Temple, floats in a direction opposite to the wind! Not only this, defying the common laws of geography, the breeze blows from the land to sea during the day, instead of the other way round.
The Sudarshan Chakra: The 20-feet high chakra on top of Shree Jagannath Temple creates a unique illusion. Not only is the chakra visible from any corner of the city, you can always feel that the chakra is facing you, irrespective of your position!
No fly-zone: Forget planes, even birds do not fly over this Temple! Did some divine power declare it a no-fly zone? This remains an unsolved enigma.
Temple Structure: In a feat of remarkable architecture, the structure of the Temple amazes people across the world. The temple has literally no shadow at any time of the day!
Missing Keys: In 2018, a 17-member team of officials from the Archaeological Survey of India, were sent to assess the wealth in the Temple Vault, which was last opened in 1985. However, in an event that led to a huge controversy, it was discovered that the keys to the inner chamber were missing! The safety of the antique gold and diamond jewelry and precious stones, amassing a huge wealth, is not yet known.
Mute Waters: When one enters through the main door of Shri Jagannath Temple, the Singhadwaram, one can hear the calming sounds of the ocean waves. The sound mysteriously disappears the minute one steps inside the temple. In fact, as long as one is inside the temple, the serene sound cannot be heard. According to the local legends, it was the will of Subhadra Mayi, the sister of the two lords. Subhadra Devi wished for immense tranquility within the walls of her abode. Looks like her wish was fulfilled!
Cooking Mystery: In accordance with tradition, exactly seven pots are mounted on top of each other and cooked using firewood. Enchantingly, the contents of the pot placed on top gets cooked first! Another interesting fact is that even though the same quantity of prasad gets cooked every day, the prasad never gets wasted or is insufficient on any day!
Best Time to Visit
The months from October to February are a cool respite from the scorching sun and drizzling rains. It is the best time to explore the beauty of Shree Jagannath Temple Puri.
You do not have to pay any entry fee to seek the blessings of Lord Jagannath and his siblings.
Shri Jagannath Temple Timings
Shri Jagannath Temple can be visited any time between 5 AM to 1 PM and 4 PM up to 11.30 PM!
It takes about two hours to finish Lord Jagannath’s darshan. If you want the temple premises to be less crowded, it is better to leave early in the morning.
Ratha Yatra is a colorful Hindu festival that draws in millions of people across the world. This festival commemorates Jagannath’s, Balabhadra, and Subhadra’s visit to Gundicha Temple via Mausi Maa Temple. This festival takes place for seven days after which all the three deities return to their abode in the main temple.
The three chariots are newly contrived every year with the woods of Phassi, Dhausa, and other sacred trees. The logs hover over the waters of the Mahanadi River. These logs are then collected in Puri where the carpenters with the hereditary rights carve the woods into chariots.
All the three chariots are a fusion of different colors. Lord Jagannath’s chariot consists of 16 wheels and is known as Nandighosha. The canopies are a fusion of yellow and red colors. The chariot is drawn by four white wooden horses namely Shankha, Balahaka, Suweta, and Haridashwa. The charioteer is Daruka while the guardian of this chariot is Garuda.
Lord Balabhadra’s chariot consists of 14 wheels and is known as Taladhwaja. The canopies are a combination of red and bluish green. The chariot is drawn by four black wooden horses namely Tribra, Ghora, Dirghasharma, and Swornanava. The charioteer is Matali and the guardian of this chariot is Vasudev.
Goddess Subhadra’s chariot consists of 12 wheels and is known as Darpadalana. The canopies are a blend of black and red. The chariot is drawn by four red wooden horses. These four horses are named as Rochika, Mochika, Jita, and Aparajita. The charioteer is Arjuna and the guardian of this chariot is Jayadurga.
How to reach Shree Jagannath Temple
Shree Jagannath Temple is located in the beautiful state of Odisha, in Puri.
By Air- The nearest airport to Shree Jagannath Temple is Bhubaneshwar Airport that is about 53 kilometers away from Puri.
By Train – The Puri station is about 28 kilometers away from the temple, from where one can hire a cab or auto. A half an hour bus ride can also be undertaken to reach the destination.
By Cab/Auto – A cab or auto can be hired from anywhere in the city, at an economical cost.
This beautiful temple is a marvel of mystery and architecture marvel. It is a place for not just devotees, but for those who love intriguing mysteries and stunning architecture. Shri Jagannath Temple Puri provides a retreat from the busy life, indulge in devotion, and seek the blessings of these gods!
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