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Jagannath Temple, Puri

pur--- jagannath

Jagannath Temple, Puri


Proper name:

Shri Mandira(ଶ୍ରୀମନ୍ଦିର),Bada Deula(ବଡଦେଉଳ)



Puri, Orissa, India.

Architecture and culture

Primary deity:

Lord Jaganath


Date built:

11th century CE

Char Dham Created by Adi Shankara Charya


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The Jagannath Temple in Puri(Oriya:ବଡଦେଉଳ,ଶ୍ରୀମନ୍ଦିର)is a famous Hindu temple dedicated to Jagannath (Krishna) and located in the coastal town of Puri in the state of Orissa, India. The name Jagannath (Lord of the Universe) is a combination of the Sanskrit words Jagat (Universe) and Nath (Lord of).[1][2] The temple is an important pilgrimage destination for many Hindu traditions, particularly worshippers of Krishna and Vishnu, and part of the Char Dham pilgrimages that a Hindu has to be visited in one's lifetime .[3]

The temple is famous for its annual Rath Yatra, or chariot festival, in which the three main temple deities are hauled on huge and elaborately decorated chariots. Since medieval times, it is also associated with intense religious fervour.[4] The temple is sacred to the Vaishnava traditions and saint Ramananda who was closely associated with the temple. 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.[5]

Origins of the temple

Ritual chakra and flags at the top shikhara of Puri temple of Jagannatha also related to Sudarsana chakra. The red flag denotes that Jagannath is within the building.

According to recently discovered copper plates from the Ganga dynasty(reference required), the construction of the current Jagannath temple was initiated by the ruler of Kalinga, Anantavarman Chodaganga Dev.[6] The Jagamohana 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 Orissan ruler Ananga Bhima Deva rebuilt the temple to give a shape in which it stands today.[7]

Jagannath worship in the temple continued until 1558, when Orissa 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.[8]

Legend surrounding the temple origin

The traditional story concerning the origins of the temple is that here the original image of Jagannath (a deity form of Vishnu) at the end of Krita yuga manifested near a banyan tree,near seashore in the form of an [[Blue Sapphire|Indranila] nilamani] 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 magnum yajna from which god YajnaNrisimha appeared and instructed that Narayana should be made as four fold expansion,i.e.Paramatma as Vasudeva,his Vyuha as Samkarshana,Yogamaya as Subhadra,and his Vibhava asSudarsana. Vishwakarma appeared in the form of artist and prepared images of Jagannath, Balabhadra and Subhadra from the tree.[9]

Buddhist Origins

Some archaeologists theorize that there existed a Buddhist stupa at the site of the present one, which may have housed the tooth relic of the Buddha before it was transported to its present location in Kandy, Sri Lanka.[10] Around that period Buddhism was imbibed within the Vaishnava fold, whence Jagganath worship gained popularity. This was before the tenth century, during the reign of the Somavamsi kings of Orissa.[11]

Maharaja Ranjit Singh, the great Sikh emperor, had donated massive amounts of gold to this temple, (even more than he gave away to the Golden Temple at Amritsar). In his last will, he also ordered that Kohinoor, the most precious and greatest diamond in the world, to be donated to this temple, but the diamond could never actually make its way to the temple because the British, by that time, had annexed the Punjab and all its royal possessions.

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