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"Exploring the Spiritual and Architectural Marvels of Jagannath Temple in Puri, Odisha"

Updated: Mar 31

Puri is a town in the state of Odisha. Lord Jagannath more known as Puri Lord Jagannath is an avatar of Lord Vishnu, meaning the Lord of the Universe.

The temple height is about 214 feet from the ground level. The present temple was built between 10th to 12th century A.D. by the eastern Ganga Dynasty.

The Jagannath temple, Puri, Odisha structure is in the Kalinga style of architecture.

A generational family lineage climbs up to the Shikhara (top) and changes the flag every day without any safety features at 214 feet.

‘Nila Chakra’, the blue chakra mounted on top of the temple is a powerful symbol of Lord Vishnu.

One can see Puri Lord Jagannath in Odisha without entering the temple at the east facing gate of the temple. There are 60 temples inside this main temple premises.

There are assertions that “Brahma Padarth” is embedded in the Idol of Lord Jagannath Temple. Also there are speculations it is the heart or navel of Lord Krishna, in another instances, it could be the Sudarshan chakra which is also at the top of the temple or could be Lord Shiva’s wife Sati’s navel.

Every 12 or 19 years following the tradition, the presiding deities made of neem wood are replaced with new ones by the priests/family lineage, blind folded wearing gloves or hands covered with holy clothes during Nabakalebara (new body or re-embodiment) where whole of city Puri lights are switched off.

No one has physically seen Krishna’s heart. All priests are blind-folded and wear gloves when they handle the ‘Brahma Padarth’.

One side of the story stated that Krishna was resting on the branch of a tree. A hunter (named Jara in previous lifetime was known as Vaali killed by Lord Rama) shot an arrow on Lord Krishna's dangling feet. The hunter realising having shot down a Master, prayed and burnt the remains of Krishna’s body. Another info says Arjuna and the Pandavas arrived to take care of the funeral.

The ‘Brahma Padarth’ remained untouched by the fire. It is believed that a cosmic voice instructed the hunter Jara to tie the Heart to a wooden log called ‘daru’ and toss it into the river. The ‘heart’ tied to the log appeared in the Bay of Bengal, by the seaside of the ancient town of ‘Kalinga’, which is now called ‘Puri’.

It is believed that the local King ‘Indradhyumna’ had a dream in which he heard a ‘cosmic voice’ suggesting he look for a blue device and preserve it in a temple idol and structure. The local tribe had managed to recover the metallic device or heart and had placed it in a forest. The King managed to retrieve and place it in the Shree Jagannath Temple that he constructed. There are assertions that “Vishwakarma”, the chief architect appeared as the artisan. He created the 3 idols from a neem tree and shaped the idols of siblings Jagannath, Balabhadra and Subhadra for the temple.

The form and structure of the idols are shaped like a tribal art with large eyes and incomplete body shape. The current temple of Jagannath was restructured and completed by the King ‘Anantavarman Chodaganga Deva’ in the 12th Century and is revered as one of the Char Dhams (pilgrim spot).

Worship of Lord Jagannath pre-dates the current temple and was worshipped by the ancient tribal due to the deities form and structure. He was known to them as Nila Madhav (blue).

I sighted a Lord Shiva statue in a Tandav post where His leg is lifted high up to the left and was painted bluish greenish on the temple wall. Photography was prohibited and there was security checks at the entrance. It is good otherwise we would have to be in the middle of people taking selfies and those that were here in the presence of Lord Jagannath.

Rath Yatra takes place on July and on May, is the Chandan Yatra which we were able to view and share the photographs taken from outside the temple.

The kitchen in the temple premise serves ‘Satvic’ food cooked in earthen pots (one pot on top of the other pot), approximate 56 varieties of dishes.

Above all this, this is a lifetime opportunity to visit such a vibrating temple. The architecture is yet another marvellous design. Unfortunately, a closeup of the beautiful temple carvings were not possible due to prohibition.

Last but not least, the Puri Sea Beach is not to be missed while in Puri, Odisha.

All Vishnu avatars came to establish Dharma (Righteousness).

The true story will only be known to those whom He calls into His kingdom for a Sudarshan like the King heard the 'cosmic voice' and did what he was asked to do and we have it now after many generations as a temple for expansion of our wisdom and to uproot Dharma in all things we do. Sudarshan means vision which is auspicious. Chakra in Sanskrit is "chruhu" meaning "movement" and "kruhu" meaning "to do" where energy is in constant movement.

The concept of the chariot was explained in the Kathopanishad where the text says that the body is the chariot and the soul is the deity. The charioteer controls both memory and thought (since I believe the mind can be zero down). Both Puri Jagannath temple and Konark Sun Temple architecture have chakra or wheel of time as source of energy.

In one of the walls of Airavatesvara, Tamil Nadu, there are carvings of Lord Shiva giving the chakra to Lord Vishnu.

Kalinga (Puri) had relationship with ancient Kambuja or modern Cambodia. More on this topic in the upcoming blog on Cambodia.

Though there is so much to say but I want to end this blog with Gita 17.23 where Shri Krishna says "OM TAT SAT", the essence of our existence, The Truth.

Jagannath Puri
The pillar on the right is the Aruna Stambha.


Jagannath Puri

Jagannath Puri
Lord Shiva Goddess Parvati Chariot during Chandan Yatra

All the 3 presiding deities are ready for Chandan Yatra

Jagannath Puri

Jagannath Puri

For visual shorts of Sudarshan Chakra, visit my YouTube channel @yashfoundation.

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