MAHAPRASAD is the main offering of rice in Jagannath Temple.
In most temples of India, devotees may take “PRASAD”, holy food that has been offered to the deities. But only here in Jagannath Puri is this blessed food called “MAHAPRASAD”. “MAHA” has two meanings here. First, it means great. Lord Jagannath is described as MAHA BAHU, the Lord with the great arms. MAHA PRABHU, the great Lord, and the family name of one of the main groups of worshippers isMAHAPATRA. So this word MAHAPRASAD itself gives us the impression of something great.
The second meaning of MAHAPRASAD is MA-PRASAD”. for the main thali must be taken to Mother Bimalas temple and returned and mixed in all the other pots offered before it is considered fit to be “eaten” by Lord Jagannath. Only then can it be distributed to all, without distinction of caste or creed.
Only MAHAPRASAD can be eaten by all together, whatever the religion or race, even on the same banana leaf. Daily 5,000 may be fed. but on big festival days, one to ten million. The temple kitchen of Lord Jagannath is considered to be the biggest hotel in the world, serving all without reservation or previous notice.
MAHAPRASAD originated in the remote past in connection with Jagannath in His original form of Neela Madhava. The tribal chief Biswabasu in the Nilagiri mountains of Orissa daily gave fruits to the deity at the time of worship. But in this forest area, there were no rice paddies or fields of vegetables growing. When Biswabasu opened the temple doors in the moming with his meagre offering of fruits, he would find daily huge quantities of rice dishes and especially delicious curries. Biswabasu was taken aback. People said gods and goddesses would come at night from the whole universe and Heaven itself to have DARSHAN. They would offer the best dishes of rice, dal, and sweets. The spiritual fragrance of this holy food was overpowering, so all knew it had to be of divine origin.
Even today, the taste of MAHAPRASAD cannot be duplicated outside the temple. It is also the direct experience of devotees inside that when cooks carry the BHOG from the kitchen to the temple, it has no VASANA, no fragrance, no sweet aroma. But after offering, when they carry it from the temple to ANANDA BAZAAR for sale, it smells divinely sweet. In the process of puja, it is blessed by all the gods and goddesses, and by Lord Jagannath Himself. At the time of food offering, only the three priests doing the puja are allowed to be inside. It is felt Lord Jagannath is actually “taking His food” at this time.
In the 1800″s one British Collector of Puri by the name of Armstrong questioned a worshipper about this. He gave 108 Magajaj Ladus to oiler in the temple. The sevaka returned later, but all’ 108 were still there. So the British collector doubted Lord Jagan-nath even more. The worshipper suggested that the weight of] the offering be taken next time. When it was returned, the weight was 4 or 5 kg. less, and Armstrong became a great believer after-wards.
Actually MAHAPRASAD is cooked by no one but Mother Lakshmi Herself; all are felt to be Her servants.
As she is not attentive to the cooking on the days when Lord Jagannath is said to be sick before RATH YATRA, the food is less tasty. During RATH YATRA, when Lord Jagannath is in another temple, called GUNDICHA TEMPLE, she is said to have no mind to cook and the food is totally tasteless.
The kitchen fire is called VAISHNAVA AGNI, because it is the fire in the kitchen of Lord Jagannath, and used to serve Vishnu Himself. If is never put out. Charcoals are kept burning day and night by one worshipper, called AKHANDA MEKAPA. It is considered to be a great blessing to be a worshipper of Lord Jagannath in the temple. When one dies, the relatives take fire from the! temple kitchen itself to bum the body in the cremation ground. He is considered a member of the Lord’s immediate family.
MAHAPRASAD is a intimate part of the day to day life of the worshipper community. It is taken and distributed at the time a child is born. at every holy ceremony throughout his life, and at the time of death. One of the most famous Oriya poets, Banamali Das, tells of the last wish of a worshipper in this song :
“Marana Kalare taba chhada mala,
Mukhare thiba tulashi. Mane mane muhin,
ghosi heuthibi Tume hey, Niladribasi !”
“Please grant me this,
Oh Lord Jagannath,
At. the time of death.
May your used flower
Garlands be beside me.
And Your tulsi MAHAPRASAD be in my mouth,
Uttering the name of NILADRI VASI,
The One who resides on the Blue Mountain,
Let me die.”
That is the poet’s vision of the most peaceful death. In a broad sense, everything touched or used by the deities of Jagannath Temple is felt to be MAHAPRASAD, used tulsi leaves, used bath water of the deities, called PADUKA, cloth, or food.
If someone is sick, MAHAPRASAD is healing. If one takes MAHAPRASAD daily, people say, he will never suffer from disease in his life. When cured of Incurable Illness, a man will feed 7,21 or 108 poor Brahmins MAHAPRASAD. So MAHAPRASAD is also called “NIRMALYA”, that which makes one completely pure like a lotus.
Another name of MAHAPRASAD is “KAIBALYA”, that which gives Moksha, salvation or liberation. It is said if one takes this food of Lord Jagannath, he will have not only physical well- being, but spiritual enlightenment as well. Salabega, a great Muslim devotee of Lord Jagannath, sings of his longing to take MAHAPRASAD. Whenever devotees think of Lord Jagannath, they think of His MAHAPRASAD also. In these lines from his famous Oriya bhajan. THAKA MANA CHALA JIBA, Salabega sings,
“Let us go to Puri,
And on the 22 steps of the temple,
To our heart’s content !”
“Baisi pabachhe aka,
KAIBALYA heuchhi bika.
Handike pade siuka,
Manaranka chhadaiba !”
To seal any promise or vow, two friends hold a pot of MAHAPRASAD together and eat together from this same pot. This pot is called ABADHA, meaning that which cannot be taken away or put into another pot. Friends then say to each other, “You are my MAHAPRASAD, You are my ABADHA.” When they see each other in the future, they address each other as “ABADHA” only, that which cannot be taken away.
In the month of January, MAHAPRASAD is sometimes referred to as PAHILI BHOGA. If friends wish to take MAHAPRASAD at this time, they say, “Let us take PAHILI BHOGA,” This is taken in memory of the special morning bhoga offered to Lord Jagannath during this month. Traditionally, wives at this time visit their mother’s house for a few days. So it is said that Lakshmi has . gone to her mother’s house also. Mother must feed Jagannath. as Mother Yashoda fed baby Krishna. This special food is called PAHILI BHOGA. It is the first food given to a baby and is of two types. One is very tiny little balls made of Bin Dal. The second is a very soft Khechedi rice. It cannot be eaten afterwards by devotees, and it must be offered just at dawn. This makes seva at this time very difficult for sevakas. All morning rituals must be completed before dawn. Then Lord Jagannath as baby Krishna “eats” this special Ballaba bhoga.
Because the food in the temple kitchen must be prepared in such a pure way and with deep devotion, great spiritual impact is felt, both by those who cook and those who eat. Actually no man can prepare so many items, more than 56 items daily, for so many. Clay pots are placed in a special earthen oven, five in number, one on top of another. Yet the one on top is cooked first, not last.
Another strange phenomena is that many times pots are broken on the way to the temple, or the food is spoiled in preparation and must be discarded. It is said that the cook was impure in some way. To cook for God. body and mind must both be pure. On the morning of a service clay in the kitchen, when food is carried to the main temple, a cloth must be tied over the mouth, so that no human saliva contaminates the prasad. If one is feeling proud that he has made a good preparation, it is said, his pot is sure to be broken.
It is also said that if Mother Lakshmi is displeased with the preparation by the cooks, a dog will appear mysteriously on the temple grounds, usually as food is being carried to the deities. As no dog is allowed to enter the temple, this dog is said to be KUTAMA CHANDI, a Tantric goddess in charge of purification of food. If the dog is seen, all the food must be buried and prepared again.
In home offering of BHOG, worshippers wives take bath before cooking, do puja in a wet sari, read spiritual books like Gita, and then put on a special sari meant only for cooking the rice meal to be offered to the deities. If she goes into the bathroom during this time, she must change her cloth to the one meant only for bathroom use. In both temple and homes, no garlic or onion is offered to the deities, and no “foreign” vegetables like potatoes and tomatoes. In the temple, masala and spices such as cardamon and cloves are added only after offering, after the MAHAPRASAD is brought to Ananda Bazaar. The meaning of ANANDA BAZAAR is that which gives great happiness. This MAHAPRASAD of Lord Jagannath is said to have that power when it is eaten. All food offerings in both temple and home are offered in clay pots or copper plates, called KANSA THALIS.
The main 56 items of CHHAPANA BHOGA.or MAHAPRASAD, are as follows:
1. Sadha Anna – simple rice water, 2. Ghee Anna- rice mixed with ghee, 3. Kanika- rice, ghee, and sugar, 4. Khechedi rice mixed with lentils, 5, Dahi Pakhal- curd rice and water, 6. Mitha Pakhal- rice and sugar water, 7. Ada Pakhal- rice, ginger, and water, mixed, 8. Oriya Pakhal- rice, ghee, lemon, and salt, 9. Thali Khechedi- lentil rice with sugar and ghee.
(usually shaped in small balls and deep-fried)
10. Khaja- made of wheat, 11. Gaja- made of wheat and sugar, 12. Ladu- made of wheat, sugar and ghee, 13. Magaja Ladu, 14, Ladu, 15. Jagannath Ballava- made of wheat, sugar, and more ghee, giving it a black color, 16. Khuruma- made of wheat, ghee, and salt, 17. Mathapuli- made of ghee, ginger, and a kind of bean ground into a thick paste, 18. Kakara- made of ghee and wheat, 19. Marichi Ladu- made of wheat and sugar, 20. Luni Khuruma- made of wheat, ghee and salt.
CAKES, PANCAKES AND PATTIES
21. Suar Pitha made of wheat and ghee, 22. Chadi Lada-made of wheat, ghee and sugar, 23. Jilli- rice flour and ghee and sugar, 24, Kanti- rice flour and ghee, 25. Manda- made of wheat and ghee, 26. Amalu- made of wheat, ghee, and sugar, 27. Puri-made of wheat and ghee and deep-friend like a small thin pancake, 28. Luchi rice flour and ghee, 29. Bara- made of curd, ghee and a kind of bean, 30. Dahi Bara- cake made of a kind of a bean and curd, 31.. Arisa- a flat cake made of rice flour and ghee, 32, Tripuri- another flat cake made of rice flour and ghee, 33, Rosapaik-cake made of wheat and ghee.
34. Khiri- milk and sugar with rice, 35. Papudi- prepared only from cream of milk, 36. Khua- prepared out of pure milk slowly boiled over many hours to a soft custard -like consistency, 37. Rasabali- made of milk, sugar, and wheat, 38. Tadia- made of fresh cheese, sugar and ghee, 39. Chhena Khai- made of fresh cheese, milk and sugar, 40. Papudi Kahaja- cream of milk, sugar, and ghee, 41. Khua Manda- made of milk, wheat., and ghee, 42. Sarapulli- this is the most famous and most difficult milk dish to prepare. It is made of pure milk, boiled slowly for hours, and spread into a large pizza – shaped pan in thin sheets. Only very few cooks of the temple today know the art of making this MAHAPRASAD.
43. Dal, 44. Biridal, 45, Urid dal, 46. Muga dal (the above three preparations are types of lentil dal), 47, Dalama – this is one of the most typical dishes in an Orissan home. It is a combination of dal and vegetables, usually eggplant, bean, sweet potato, and tomatoes, although tomatoes are not used in temple preparations. Coconut and a dried root vegetable known as Bodhi which looks like a mushroom and is high in protein are added. 48. Mahur- mixed vegetable curry, 49. Besar- mixed vegetable curry with black mustard seeds, 50. Saga – a spinach dish 51. Potala Rasa – an Oriyan vegetable, potato, with coconut milk, 52. Goti Baigana- small eggplants with a shredded coconut sauce, 53. Khata – a sour side dish made of cooked mango, or apple, mango, and grape mixed and cooked together. 54. Raita a yogurt-like dish with cucumber, and radish, 55. Pitta- fried flowers of the Neem tree, 56. baigana – fried eggplant
In the home it is not possible to make 56 items, but some are prepared for special festivals. Here are recipes for some of the most common Jagannath “PRASADAS.”
KHECHEDI – rice mixed with lentils 2 cups Arua or Basmati Rice 4 cups water 1/2 teaspoon salt. 1/2 cup Channa Dal Boil all the above until the water is absorbed, about 20 minutes. Add ghee, hingu after. In the temple kitchens cashews are not used, as they were considered Ravana’s food in Sri Lanka, but they may be added in the home.
KANIKA – rice mixed with ghee and sugar. This rice preparations is cooked in the same way as the first but adding 1/2 cup sugar to 2 cups rice. Cloves may be added after removing the rice from the fire.
DALAMA- a dal and vegetable dish common in Oriya homes. 1 cup Harada Dal (a type of lentil) 4 cups water 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon tumeric
When the lentils are boiling ahout 10 minutes and slightly soft, add chopped vegetables such as potato, tomato, (in the home only), bean, eggplant, sweet, potato, one tablespoon of ghee can be added at this time and half of a grated coconut on top. When the vegetables are soft, spices are added. In a separate frying pan, 1 tablespoon putano, or curry spices, 1 teaspoon cumin, and 1 or 2 dried red chilis are fried in ghee. The DALAMA is then mixed with the spices over low heat until the soup becomes thick.
KHIRI- a sweet milk preparation There are many types of KHIRI in Purl, but rice khiri, suji khiri, and chuda khiri are most common. If rice is used, it is boiled till it is very soft and mushy, then milk is added. Suji is cracked wheat; it must be browned first until a sweet smell comes and then cooked in milk. If Chuda Khiri is being prepared, this flat dry rice must be ground to a fine powder and then added to the boiling milk. Half a cup of raisins, and at home half a cup of cashews may be added at last. Also cardamon powder may be used on top.
KHAJA- a sweet pastry made of fine corn flour, much like the Greek Baklava. As KHAJA is a dry sweet, it can last one month and is the most usual MAHAPRASAD taken on long journeys to distant places. First the fine com flour is kneaded and rolled like chappatis on a chappati board. It is made into fine layers, like Baklava’s Mo dough. This is done by first cutting the KHAJA pieces into flat strips. With the three middle fingers, the cook dips his hand into a bowl of 1/4 cup ghee and 1/4 cup water. He runs his fingers in straight lines across the rolled dough. Then the KHAJA is rolIed like a chappati or tortilla and cut into 1 “sections. These are rolled out. flat, in pieces 4 by 6”. In hot ghee they are fried until golden brown. Hot sugar water is boiled until it becomes a thick syrup (1 glass sugar, 3 glasses water). The fried KHAJAS are lightly dipped in this syrup and set aside. KHEERA SAGARA KHAJA is Khaja soaked in leftover sugar milk for one or two minutes, then the milk is drained off.
MOHAN BHOG – This is an addition to BHOG. 1 cup sooji 1 cup ghee 1 cup sugar Sooji is fried in ghee until the color is golden brown and a sweet smell comes. Sugar water is boiled and the sooji is very slowly added. When it is thickened, 15 minutes or more, raisins and cashews in the home are mixed.
PANA – a sweet curd drink
For the 15 days between SNANA PURNIMA and RATH YATRA, the deities are said to be sick. They take no food, but only this cool refreshing drink. As it is hot summer still, guests in the home are also given PANA drink.
4 glasses water 1 glass curd 1/2 glass sugar
Bananas and raisins can be added for other festival days.
Devotees may buy MAHAPRASAD at any time of the day; some items will always be available. They can choose an item for one rupee or one costing fifty rupees. Rice, dal, and vegetables dishes together cost about 5 rupees for a main meal. No one leaves Puri without taking MAHAPRASAD.
Lord Jagannath is said to be DARU BRAHMA, life force Itself in wood. He is also called SABDA BRAHMA, life force in all sound and vibrations. He is known as NADA BRAHMA, the primal sound of OM also. He is AHAM BRAHMA, life force in man. in the same way, he is called ANNA BRAHMA, the life force in rice, in all food we eat. When we eat His MAHAPRASAD , we take of Him also. In Kali Yuga, it is said, man cannot live without taking rice. This was not so necessary in previous yugas. But now ANNA, or rice, has become life force itself, and so all must be fed. In Jagannath Temple people can give donations of money. but donations of rice are just as gladly accepted. It is called ANNA DANA. Jagannath Puri is, therefore, known as ANNA KSHETRA, because so many rice offerings are made daily, and in no other temple of India is rice offered as the main prasad to deities, and then distributed to all.
Prayers that may be told at the time of taking MAHAPRASAD are as follows:
From Brahmanda Purana –
“Jagannath tastwa Nividya,
Dusanam Sakruta Vakshana
Matruna Papcvwo Muchyatc Puman”.
“May I commit no more sin in past, present, or future, By eating this MAHAPRASAD offered to Lord Jagannath”.
From Padma Purana –
“Tatranna Pachaka Laksmi, Swayam Votka Janaijana, Tasmatta dana bipasa Daivataurapi durllabam”.
“Let me be freed from sin. Eating this holy MAHAPRASAD Cooked by Maha Lakshmi herself, Rare even for the Gods to eat”.
From Bhagavat Gita –
“Brahmarpanam Brahma habir, Brahmangno Brahmana hutam, Brahma tena gantabyam, Brahma karma samadhina. Aham baiswanar vutwa, Praninam dcha mastritam, Pran apan samajukta, Pachamyanna chatur bidham”.
“Brahma is the puja,
Brahma is the food offering,
Brahma is he who offers to the fire that is Brahman.
If a man sees Brahma in every action, He will find Brahma.
“I am there as Fire in the body of all, I change all the items of food
(Prana, Apana, Sumana, Udana, Byana) Giving Life Force to all”.
Ratha Yatra : Rathe Twaam Bamanam Drustwa, Punarjanmam Na Bidyate
A famous festival related to the Jagannath temple is the ratha yatra, or chariot festival, which occurs yearly in June or July. During the Rath Yatra Festival, the images of Jagannatha, Balabhadra and Subhadra are placed in mammoth chariots or ‘raths’, the largest of which is 14 meters (46 feet) high and has 16 wheels, each more than two meters (seven feet) in diameter, which are then drawn along Grand Road to the Gundecha temple, a few kilometers away. After they have stayed in that temple for seven days, the deities again ride the chariots back to their home temple.. This journey commemorates that of Lord Krishna from Gokul to Mathura.
Jagannatha Puri, a town of 75,000, is one of the most important pilgrimage centers and one of the four holiest cities in India. These four cities are Badrinatha in the north, Dvaraka in the west, Ramesvaram in the south, and Puri in the east. Badrinarayan in Badrinatha was especially worshiped in Satya-yuga, Rama in Ramesvaram in Treta-yuga, Dvarakanatha in Dvaraka was especially worshiped in Dvapara-yuga, but Lord Jagannatha in Puri can be worshiped by everyone in Kali-yuga. In fact, the importance of Jagannatha Puri, sometimes called Purushottama-Ksetra, is explained in chapters 52 through 57 of the Uttarabhaga section of the Narada Purana. There we find it stated that simply by visiting Puri, which is rarely achieved except for those who have performed many pious acts, and by seeing the Deity of Jagannatha (Krishna), one can easily attain freedom from future births and reach the spiritual abode.
In the middle of this city is the large temple dedicated to Lord Krishna as Jagannatha, meaning “Lord of the Universe.” From the Skanda Purana we get information that the original construction of the first Jagannatha temple was in Satya-yuga, millions of years ago. It is related that Lord Jagannatha told Maharaja Indradyumna that He first appeared in the Svayambhuva manvantara of the first part of Satya-yuga, on the full moon day, after being pleased by devotion. This is about 153 million years ago. Then Brahma installed the Deities in the temple. This appearance is celebrated by the Snana Purnima, or Snana-Yatra, which is the public bathing of Lord Jagannatha, His brother Balarama, and His sister Subhadra. The celebrated Ratha-Yatra festival is said to have started in the time of Svarochisha Manu, or the second manvantara period, and is predicted to continue until the end of the second half of Lord Brahma’s lifetime. Even in the Ramayana by Valmiki Muni (Uttara Khanda 108.30) it is related that when Lord Rama was getting ready to leave this world he told Vibhishan, Ravana’s younger brother, that in His absence he should worship Lord Jagannatha, the Lord of the Iksvaku dynasty.
The Skanda Purana also fixes the date of the Ratha-Yatra festival, which should be celebrated on the second day of the bright fortnight if the month of Ashadha, a day called Pushyami Nakshatra by astrological calculations. The Padma Purana describes (as related in Sanatana Goswami’s Dig Darshini Tika to his Brihad-Bhagavatamrita, 2.1.159) that in Purushottama-kshetra, or Jagannatha Puri, the supremely blissful Personality of Godhead pretends to be made of wood. In this way, although the Lord takes on what appears to be a material form, it is completely spiritual by the causeless mercy of the Lord for the conditioned souls who cannot perceive the transcendental domain.
The main temple building, called Sri Mandir, was built in the 12th century by King Chodaganga Deva, though the site goes back much farther as described above. This is a huge complex where buildings house as many as 5,000 priests and assistants. The whole compound is surrounded by a thick stone wall 20 feet tall that encloses an area 665 feet by 640 feet. The wall has four large gates, one on each side. The additional smaller buildings were added after the 16th century. The main temple, which reaches 215 feet in height, is where we find the six foot tall Deities of Jagannatha, Balarama, and the shorter Subhadra. They stand on a five foot high throne facing the pilgrims as they enter the temple room. Outside the main temple hall are over 100 smaller shrines dedicated to the various demigods. There is an arati ceremony six times a day from 4 AM to 9 PM when devotees come in for darshan of the Deities, in which they sing, chant, or worship the Deities in ecstasy. As many as 50,000 people come to the Jagannatha temple in a day. Unfortunately, foreigners are not allowed into the temple grounds, but you can get a look at the temple from the roof of the Raghunandan Library across the street for a donation.
The temple compound also has a huge kitchen, employing over 650 cooks and helpers who make hundreds of vegetarian preparations for the 54 separate offerings that are given to the Deities every day. After the food is given to the Deities it becomes prasada, or the Lord’s mercy. By taking such spiritually powerful food it is said that one becomes more and more spiritually surcharged and free from past karma. Much of the prasada is sold or given to people who depend on the temple. When I had my ricksha driver buy some for me, I got a basket with several clay pots filled with a variety of rice, vegetable, dahl, and sweet preparations. It was absolutely delicious and was enough for breakfast, lunch, and dinner for two days. Taking this prasada at Puri is to partake in a tradition that goes back thousands of years and is considered especially purifying. It is said that only by Krishna’s grace does one get the opportunity to receive the remnants of food offered to Him.
The Appearance of Lord Jagannatha
The significance of Jagannatha Puri and the story of how the Deities first appeared goes back many hundreds of years to the time of King Indradyumna, who was a great devotee of Lord Vishnu. It is related that one time in his court the King heard from a devotee about an incarnation of Lord Vishnu, named Nila-madhava. (Nila-madhava is the Deity form of Lord Vishnu.) The King very much wanted to see this form of the Supreme and sent many Brahmanas to search for Nila-madhava. All came back unsuccessful except for Vidyapati, who did not come back at all. He had wandered to a distant town which was populated by a tribe of people known as Shabaras of non-Aryan heritage. He had stayed in the house of Visvasu, and later, at Visvasu’s request, married his daughter, Lalita.
After some time Vidyapati noticed that Visvasu would leave the house every night and return at noon the next day. Vidyapati asked his wife about this. Though her father had ordered her not to tell anyone, she told Vidyapati that Visvasu would go in secret to worship Nila-madhava. After repeated requests, Vidyapati finally got permission to go see Nila-madhava, only if he went blindfolded. But Vidyapati’s wife had bound some mustard seeds in his cloth so that a trail could be left to follow later. When they reached the shrine, Vidyapati saw the Deity Nila-madhava after the Shabara took off the blindfold, and he felt great ecstasy.
The story continues to relate that while Visvasu was out collecting items for worship, Vidyapati saw a bird fall into the nearby lake and drown. The soul of the bird suddenly took a spiritual form and ascended back to the spiritual world. Vidyapati wanted to do the same and climbed the tree to jump in the lake. Then a voice from the sky declared that before he jumped he should tell Indradyumna that he had found Nila-madhava.
When Visvasu returned to worship the Deity, Nila-madhava spoke and said that He had accepted the simple worship from him for so many days, but now He wanted to accept the opulent worship that would be offered by King Indradyumna. When Vidyapati went back to tell the King, Indradyumna immediately went to find Nila-madhava but could not locate Him. So the King arrested Visvasu, but a voice told him to release the Shabara and that he should build a temple on top of Nila Hill where the King would see the Lord as Daru-brahman, the wooden manifestation of the Absolute.
After great endeavor, King Indradyumna built the temple at Sri Kshetra, now known as Jagannatha Puri, and later prayed to Lord Brahma to consecrate it. However, Lord Brahma said that it was not within his power to consecrate the temple since Sri Kshetra is manifested by the Supreme’s own internal potency and is where the Lord manifests Himself. So Brahma simply put a flag on top of the temple and blessed it, saying that anyone who from a distance saw the flag and offered obeisances would easily be liberated from the material world. Nonetheless, after much waiting the King became anxious since Nila-madhava had not manifested Himself. Thinking his life was useless, the King decided he should end his life by fasting. But in a dream the Lord said that He would appear floating in from the sea in His form as Daru-brahman.
The King went to the shore and found a huge piece of wood that had the markings of a conch, disc, club, and lotus. This was Daru-brahman. But try as they might, the men could not budge the wood. In a dream the Lord spoke to the King and instructed him to get Visvasu and put a golden chariot in front of Daru-brahman. After doing this and forming a kirtana party to chant the holy names, and praying for Daru-brahman to mount the chariot, Daru-brahman was easily moved. Lord Brahma performed a sacrifice where the present temple now stands and installed a Deity of Lord Narasimhadeva, the Deity that is now on the western side of the temple.
From the wooden Daru-brahman, the King requested many expert carvers to carve the form of the Deity, but none could do so for their chisels immediately broke when they touched the wood. Finally the architect of the demigods, Visvakarma, (some say the Lord Himself) arrived as an old artist, Ananta Maharana, and promised that he would carve the Deity form of the Lord inside the temple in three weeks if the King would allow him to work behind closed doors. But after 14 days the King became very anxious because he could no longer hear the sounds of the carving. Finally he could stand it no more. On the advice of the queen he personally opened the doors of the temple to see what was happening. Then he saw the forms of Lord Jagannatha, Lord Balarama, and Lady Subhadra. But because the King had opened the doors sooner than he was supposed to, the Deities were not completed; Their feet and hands had not yet been carved. Thus, the Supreme manifested Himself in this form.
The King felt he had committed a great offense for having opened the doors before the allotted three weeks had passed, so he decided to end his life. But in a dream Lord Jagannatha told the King that though he had broken his promise, this was just a part of the Supreme’s pastimes to display this particular form. The King was told that this form, even though it appeared to be incomplete, was actually the form of the Lord that was meant to be worshiped in this age of Kali-yuga. Occasionally the King could decorate the Deity with golden hands and feet. Yet those devotees filled with love would always see the form of Lord Jagannatha as the threefold bending form of Syamasundara, Krishna, holding a flute. Thus, the Supreme appeared in this form so that people could approach and see Him, especially as He rides through town on the huge carts during the Ratha-Yatra festival.
The Ratha-Yatra Festival
During the Ratha-Yatra festival is the most popular time to go to Jagannatha Puri. This is usually in July when it is very hot. But thousands upon thousands of pilgrims flock to Puri to take part in this auspicious event, which is said to have been celebrated for thousands of years, making it one of the oldest and one of the biggest religious festivals in the world. This is the time when the Deities come out of the temple for all to see. It is also the time when as many as a million people gather in this small city with one purpose: to show their faith and devotion to God in the form of Lord Jagannatha.
As big as this festival is, it can be quite expensive. The only festival in the world that is bigger than this is the Kumbha Mela festival that draws many more millions of people. The Ratha-Yatra festival is financed primarily by the Orissan government with an annual budget of $50,000, which is a very large sum for India. But with the number of pilgrims that come to Puri each year, the temple and surrounding businesses also are benefitted with the extra financial income.
The actual construction of the carts begins two months before the festival day, on the third day of the bright fortnight of Vaisakha (April-May). More than 600 trees, or 400 cubic meters of wood, are needed for the construction, taken from the local forests along the banks of the Mahanadi River. Using the same simple tools and procedures as they have for the past hundreds of years, once the basic elements are made, such as the wheels, then the actual construction begins only a few weeks before the festival. When I saw the carts a few days prior to the festival, I doubted that they would be finished in time. However, the construction crew works on them night and day, and everything was ready the day before the festival.
In the main road in front of the temple huge stacks of wood are used to assemble the three chariots which will reach up to three storeys tall and will roll on wheels, each eight feet high. The chariots are painted with bright colors and the tops are covered with red, black, yellow, or green canopies. The colors signify which chariot is for which Deity. Lord Jagannatha uses red and yellow, Lord Balarama uses red and green, while Subhadra uses red and black. The Deities are also painted with particular colors that mean something. Jagannatha’s blackish color represents faultless qualities; Balarama’s white color signifies enlightenment; and Subhadra’s yellow color signifies goodness.
Each cart is different. The cart of Lord Jagannatha is called Cakradhvaja or Nandigosha, which means tumultuous and blissful sound. Using 16 wheels, it rises 45 feet tall, and weighs 65 tons. It also carries a figure of Garuda on its crest, and is drawn by four white wooden horses. Balarama’s cart is called Taladhvaja, meaning the sound of significantly powerful rhythm. It has 14 wheels, and is drawn by four black wooden horses. It carries Hanuman on its crest. Subhadra’s cart is called Padmadhvaja or Darpadalan, which means destroyer of pride. It has a lotus on its crest, uses 12 wheels, and is drawn by four red wooden horses. After the Ratha-Yatra festival the wood from the carts is used as fuel for the big kitchen in the temple, which can last up to nine months.
About two weeks before the festival, the Deities of Jagannatha, Balarama, and Subhadra are given a ritual bath, which is performed on the front main wall of the temple, which allows everyone to observe it from the street below, or one of the surrounding buildings. This is called the Snana-Yatra. After this They play the pastime of getting a cold. They are then taken to a designated area and given special treatments and offerings. They may also be repainted at this time. About every 12 or 19 years the bodies of the Deities are replaced with new ones carved from a ritualistically selected Daru-Brahman in the form of a nima tree. This is known as the Nava-Kalevarna festival. It occurs when there is a leap (additional) month in the Vedic calendar that appears between Snana-Yatra and Ratha-Yatra. This was last performed in 1996, 1977, and 1969. After such an occurrence, the crowd that attends the Ratha-Yatra in Puri expands from the usual 700,000 or so to as many as two-and-a-half million.
As the Ratha-Yatra festival draws near, thousands of pilgrims come to Jagannatha Puri, but as many as a million or more people may be in town on the day of the festival. Some are top officials in the Indian government or other VIPs. Many people begin arriving in front of the temple near the carts on the morning of the festival. At first it is very interesting to wander about looking at the nicely decorated carts and all the pilgrims who have attended. But then the police begin cordoning off the area around the carts. Then there are only certain areas where people can get between the carts and the buildings. This creates bottlenecks which can be very dangerous when too many people are pushing on each other trying to get through. I saw people begin to panic at times because of the pressure on them, and worried mothers had to hold their babies above the crowd to make sure they did not get crushed.
The Ratha-Yatra festival can be both spiritually ecstatic and physically exhausting. Though July is in the monsoon season, if the rains have not arrived yet, it gets very hot. When it is hot, you will be soaked with sweat a few hours after the sun comes up. In fact, from where I was, I saw dozens of Indian people who had collapsed from the heat and had to be carried away from the crowd on stretchers. The heat can take a lot out of you, especially when in a crowd of many thousands. So it is best to have a source of water with you, like a canteen.
A good place to be during the festival, if you do not want to be on the street amongst the people, is on a rooftop. But you have to make reservations and pay for your seats several days in advance. Even then there may not be any guarantee that you will get the seats you want.
I have been at Jagannatha Puri to attend two Ratha-Yatra festivals, once in 1991, and another in 2001. At each one things happened at different times of the day. In 1991 it was around eleven in the morning when the temple priests came out to sanctify the carts. In 2001, everything got started much earlier, and the priests came out before 9 AM. They walk up the gangplanks to the platform on the cart and sprinkle holy water around while circumambulating it three times and chanting specific mantras for purification. Later, the priests bring out the small Deities that will also ride on the cart.
When the big Deities are brought out, first there is Lord Balarama, then Lady Subhadra, and then Lord Jagannatha. Each time excitement suddenly fills the air and many men blow conch shells and bang on drums and cymbals to announce the arrival of the Deities at the main gate of the temple complex. Then the smiling face of Lord Balarama appears through the doorway and the crowd shouts and chants, “Jai Balarama. Baladeva ki jai!” Generally, however, unless you are situated on a tall building, you cannot see the faces of the Deities because there are so many assistants that help move Them. But you can easily see the huge headdress They wear. Once the Deity is on the cart, the headdress is torn off and distributed amongst the people as prasada.
Daityas, strongly built men who lift the Deity, carry Lord Balarama. It is described that they move Him from one large cotton pillow to another, however, I couldn’t see any. Lord Balarama is five feet and five inches tall and has an arm span of 12 feet. When carried, there are five men on each arm, with up to 50 men pulling in front and 20 offering support in the back. All of these carriers are Daityas, members of the Dayitapati family who are descendants of Visvavasu. Gradually, taking about a half hour or so, Lord Balarama moves from the temple gate to the chariot and is placed on it so everyone in the crowd can see Him. Then Subhadra, who is less than five feet tall, is also carried from the temple to Her chariot. And finally Lord Jagannatha is brought out. He is five feet and seven inches tall with an arm span of 12 feet, and also needs many assistants to be moved.
In 1991 it was around two o’clock, when the King of Puri arrived in a procession, walked up the planks to the platform and swept the cart with a gold handled broom, and then sprinkles sandalwood scented water on them. He circumambulates the platform three times and is assisted by the priests. He does this to each of the carts. In 2001, however, this took place around 10 AM, and everything that year happened in a much more timely manner.
It should be pointed out here that the way the King sweeps the carts is an example of how the festival has changed over the years. If you read accounts of the Ratha-Yatra festival as described in the Caitanya-caritamrta, there are some major differences in the festival we find today compared to 500 years ago. The King used to sweep the street in front of the carts as they paraded down through the town. The reason he no longer does this is related in a story I was told. It seems that at one time years ago a King of Puri, Purusottama Dev, was to marry a princess who was the daughter of a king, Maharaja Sallwo Narasingha, from the district of Kanchi. When the Ratha-Yatra festival was to take place, the father of the princess was invited, but sent his minister Chinnubhatta Godaranga instead. When he attended, the King of Puri performed the devotional tradition of sweeping the road in front of the carts. The visiting minister, however, rather than being impressed with the devotion of the King for Lord Jagannatha, did not approve of him sweeping the road, even if it was for the Lord. When he reported this to King Sallwo Narasingha, the king objected to the idea of his daughter marrying the King of Puri since he was merely a street sweeper. Purusottama Dev was extremely angry that he, as the servant of Lord Jagannatha, would be insulted for his service like that. So he gathered his troupes and went to Kanchi to teach King Sallwo a lesson. Unfortunately, King Purusottama Dev was badly defeated.
On returning to Puri in such a downcast mood, he stopped at the simple cottage of Saikatacharya, a great ascetic, householder devotee of Lord Jagannatha. This devotee pointed out that the King had forgotten to ask permission from Lord Jagannatha before he went to attack King Sallwo. With this realization, the King returned to Puri and visited the temple of the Lord, crying over his defeat, asking why the Lord had let this happen. He spent the night in the temple, and with doors closed, before the night came to an end, the King heard a voice asking why he was so distraught over such a simple thing. The voice said to go gather his troupes again, and that we two brothers, Jagannatha and Balarama, would go along to fight on the King’s behalf. As the news spread, many people, both old and young, joined the King’s forces to fight with Their Lordships. However, as they went, the King was filled with some doubts whether Their Lordships were really going with him.
While the King and his army went onward, far ahead were two soldiers that rode on one black horse and one white horse. They stopped to quench Their thirst at a small village near Chilika Lake by buying some yogurt from a devotee named Manika. She offered Them yogurt, but when she asked for payment, they said They had no money. Instead They gave her a jeweled ring and told her to give it to King Purusottama Dev, who would then give her payment.
After some time, the King caught up to the lady, who flagged him down to give him the ring and asked for payment for the soldiers’ drink. The king was shocked to see the ratnamudrika ring of Lord Jagannatha and then regained his confidence that, indeed, Their Lordships had certainly come with him. In payment for the ring, the king gave her the whole village, which is still named Manikapatna. After this the king and his troupes were victorious over King Sallwo, and he also took King Sallwo’s daughter as well. However, he did not marry her after the insult her father had given him. He instructed his minister to see that she get married to a qualified sweeper. After one year, at the next Ratha-Yatra, the King again performed his sweeping ceremony. At that time, the king’s minister announced that the king was the most qualified sweeper, since he swept for Lord Jagannatha, and that the princess, Padmavati, should marry him. Then Maharaja Purusottama Dev married the princess and she later gave birth to a great devotee of Lord Caitanya, who became known as King Prataparudra. Anyway, at some point after this, the King of Puri discontinued sweeping the streets and now sweeps the carts.
The festival parade also used to start in the morning and then stop at noon near the Jagannatha Vallabha Gardens where the Deities would get offerings of food, worship, etc., from the many devotees. There would also be many groups of people singing devotional songs, and though you will still see some people in kirtana groups, there were very few in 1991, while there were several big kirtana parties in 2001, including a large one consisting of the devotees from the Iskcon temple in Mumbai (Bombay).
After the King has swept the carts, they quickly begin to disassemble the gangplanks that lead up to the cart and begin to fasten the wooden horses that point the direction. Many thousands of devotees surround the carts and the people in the front take up the long, thick ropes to pull the chariots down the main road to the Gundicha temple, where the Deities stay for a week. Then the leaders on the carts that ride near the wooden horses direct those who are pulling the ropes to take up the slack. When everything is ready, a whistle is blown by the chariot driver and a hundred people on each of four ropes begin to pull. Then the numerous priests and assistants on the carts that ride along begin to bang on the gongs and cymbals, and suddenly the cart lurches forward and begins to move.
Once the carts get going, you mostly hear the spectators simply shout out, “Jayo, Jai Jagannatha,” and raise their hands in the air and watch the cart go by. Many police have to guard the chariot wheels to make sure no one gets too close and is crushed under them. In 1991 it was after five o’clock before Lord Balarama’s cart got started and loudly rumbled down the road and soon reached the Gundicha temple. In 2001 it started by about 10:30 AM or so. Subhadra’s cart began to move a while later.
Lord Jagannatha’s cart did not get started until after six o’clock in 1991, which was quite late, but got started by 11 AM in 2001. However, both times it did not make it to the Gundicha temple until the next day. The people pulled it about two-thirds of the way before it almost ran into some shops on the side of the road. So Lord Jagannatha spent the night wherever the cart had stopped. The following morning the people redirect the cart and continued with the Ratha-Yatra to finish pulling it to the Gundicha temple about two miles down the road from the main temple where the Deities stay for a week before returning to the temple in a similar parade.
Sometimes the chariots mysteriously stop, though everyone is pulling hard. In fact, it is not unusual, as in the case of this festival, that a chariot may stop completely and stay there overnight and then continue the next day. Sometimes if there is difficulty, the local government minister will pray to Lord Jagannatha for forgiveness from whatever offenses the residents of the town may have committed. Then the chariots begin to move again as if they move only by the will of Jagannatha.
The parade is a fascinating event in which to participate and see. But when the chariots get rolling, the crowd gets very intense. You either have to get out of the way to let them by, or struggle, as you get pushed this way and that, to move with the crowd as it goes with the cart. Many people try to pull the ropes and it is not easy, and can be dangerous, to get a place nearby.
The Deities spend the first two nights on the carts outside the Gundicha temple, or wherever else They may be if They do not make it there the first night. During this time, pilgrims can climb up on the carts and see the Deities very closely and even embrace Them. But the priests are quick to charge everyone a certain number of rupees for this opportunity, which makes for a very good business for the priests. When I climbed a cart and was about to give a “donation,” as many as five of the attendants grabbed the money at once before I let go of it. And when I did not let go of it right away, they started to get very angry. This was after I had been assured that I could climb the cart to see the Deity of Lady Subhadra and there would be no charge, and I would also be allowed to take a photograph. I indeed was allowed to see Lady Subhadra and even embrace Her, which is a rare event for any pilgrim, what to speak of a Westerner. But after I had given my donation, I took out my camera to take a photograph and a guard immediately came over and objected and ordered me to get down off the cart. So that brought an abrupt end to the episode. Nonetheless, if one can overcome this businesslike atmosphere, it can still be a very devotional and memorable event. And you can also go up on the carts of Lord Jagannatha and Lord Balarama as well, if you can handle the crowds and the many priests who ask for donations, or who want to direct people, sometimes forcefully with the use of sticks. Some people simply stay on the ground and offer prayers and small ghee lamps from a distance. Others climb all three carts to get the personal darshan of all three Deities.
The Deities are then taken inside the Gundicha temple only on the third night. After the Deities’ stay at the Gundicha temple, They return a week later to the main temple in a similar parade that is attended by fewer people. This can be a time when you can get much closer to the carts and walk more easily with the parade, providing you have time to stay in Puri for this event. Again, the Deities come out of the Gundicha temple as before and are placed on the carts with much fanfare from the devotees. Then again the King of Puri comes to cleanse the carts, and shortly thereafter the carts are ready to be pulled in a most festive parade back to the main temple. The return trip usually happens all in one day. However, again the Deities stay outside on the carts for two nights, allowing everyone who wants to climb up on the cart for a close darshan. Then on the third night there is the Suna Vesa festival in which the Deities are dressed in gold outfits. Again, the city becomes extremely crowded as people want to see the Deities in the golden ornaments. These include gold crowns, hands and feet, golden peacock feather, gold earrings, different golden necklaces, and ornaments such as a silver conch and gold disk for Lord Jagannatha and golden club and plow for Lord Balarama. These are all solid gold, and all together weigh up to one ton.
No one is allowed on the carts for the gold festival except for the intimate servants of the Deities. The way the crowd works for this festival is that they approach the carts from the main road. The closer to the carts you get, the thicker the crowd becomes. You are then directed by numerous police to walk with the crowd around the front of the carts and then down a side street. The police will also not let you stop along the lanes, but make sure everyone keeps moving. As you walk, you can then look toward the Deities to see Them in Their unique gold ornaments. They look especially powerful dressed as They are like this. Your darshan is only as long as it takes for the crowd to move, and then you must continue on, or come back around again, all of which can take an hour to make it through the crowds. Then as you come back around, the street is divided into two lanes, one for those approaching the carts and the other for those leaving. So you have to continue a ways away before you can begin to come back around. Getting directly in front of each of the carts is the only way you can have a direct line of sight toward the Deity during this event.
After this, the Deities stay on the carts one more day and are then taken into the main temple the following evening, as They were when taken into the Gundich temple. Then the Ratha-Yatra festival is completely finished until next year.
The Internal Meaning of the Ratha-Yatra Festival
The meaning of the Ratha-Yatra parade is steeped in religious sentiment. The form that Lord Krishna takes as Jagannatha is the manifestation of His ecstasy that He feels when He leaves the opulence of His palaces in Dwaraka, represented by the Puri temple, to return to the town of Vrindavan and the simple and pure spontaneous love the residents there have for Him. Thus, there is no difference between Lord Krishna and Lord Jagannatha. So in the mood of separation from His loving devotees, Jagannatha mounts His chariot and returns to Vrindavan, which is symbolically represented by the Gundicha temple. In this way, the esoteric meaning of the Ratha-Yatra parade is that we pull the Lord back into our hearts and rekindle the loving relationship we have with Him. Many great poems and songs, such as Jagannatha-astakam, have been composed describing the event and the highly ecstatic devotional mood one can enter while participating. Many verses are also written in the Caitanya-caritamrita that describe the pastimes Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu had during these Ratha-Yatra festivals 500 years ago.
To explain the internal meaning of Ratha-Yatra further, Lord Jagannatha is the embodiment of Lord Krishna’s love for Srimate Radharani. While Lord Krishna was living in Dwaraka, he felt great separation from Radharani and the residents of Vrindavana. On the day of one solar eclipse, He traveled to Kuruksetra with His brother Balarama and His sister Subhadra on His chariot. There He met Srimate Radharani and other residents of Vrindavana, all of which wanted to take the Lord back to Vrindavana. While traveling and thinking of this meeting, He entered mahabhava, the highest sentiments of loving exchange. In that state, His eyes dilated like fully bloomed lotuses, and His hands and legs retreated into His body. In this way, the form of Lord Jagannatha is called radha-viraha-vidhura, the separation from Radharani, and also mahabhava-prakasha, the manifestation of mahabhava for Radharani. Lord Caitanya was the embodiment of Srimate Radharani’s love for Lord Krishna. So Lord Caitanya taking Lord Jagannatha from the main temple to the Gundicha corresponds to Srimate Radharani’s wanting to take Lord Krishna from Dwaraka back to Vrindavana, the place of spontaneous and ecstatic love of God.
It is also explained that by participating in this festival, chanting and dancing, or helping pull the ropes of the chariots, one becomes free of many lifetimes of karma. One can even become liberated due to the spiritual potency of Lord Jagannatha’s presence. One of the ways this happens is explained as follows: at the very end of one’s life when the memories of his activities pass through the mind, when he remembers the amazing Ratha-Yatra festival his mind stops and focuses on that event. Thus, he dies thinking of Lord Jagannatha and is liberated from material existence and returns to the spiritual world, just like a yogi is transferred to the spiritual strata when his mind is fixed on the Supersoul at the time of death. This is why thousands of pilgrims come to Jagannatha Puri every year for Ratha-Yatra.
Other Places of Spiritual Importance in Jagannatha Puri
While in Jagannatha Puri, there are many other places of interest that pilgrims come to see, so I will describe a few of these. About a quarter mile from the Jagannatha temple, walking toward the beach, is Siddha Bakula. This is where, 500 years ago, the great saint Haridas Thakur used to live and chant the Hare Krishna mantra 300,000 times a day and where Sri Caitanya would visit him. Since Haridas could not enter the Jagannatha Temple, being of a Muslim family, Lord Caitanya took the stick He had used as His toothbrush and stuck it in the ground. It immediately grew into a beautiful shade tree, under which Haridas Thakur lived. Sanatana Gosvami had also stayed here for a time as well.
Haridas attained such an elevated position of ecstasy from chanting the Hare Krishna mantra that even though a beautiful prostitute came to tempt him with sex, he was not interested. Thus, he is called the namacarya: the master of chanting the holy names. In 1991, a small shrine was found here, along with the old and bent tree under which Haridas would chant. However, since then, as found in 2001, there is a nice temple and plenty of walled protection for the tree at this place. The tomb of Haridas Thakur, where you’ll also see beautiful Radha Krishna Deities as well as an image of Haridas, is located next to Purusottama Gaudiya Math near the beach. This is an important place of pilgrimage.
A 15 minute walk from here is the temple of Tota-Gopinatha. The Radha Krishna Deities here are especially beautiful, and it is accepted that Sri Caitanya ended his life by entering into the Deity of Tota-Gopinatha. Also near this area is the old house of Kashi Mishra. It is now used as part of a temple and has nice diorama exhibits of Sri Caitanya’s life. It is here we find the Gambhira room, which is where Sri Caitanya lived for 12 years. Through a small window you can see Sri Caitanya’s original wooden sandals, water pot, and bed.
A short walk to the east of the Jagannatha temple is the Gaudiya Math temple and the place where Srila Bhaktisiddhanta took birth. A little farther east is the Jagannatha Vallabha Garden, which is almost across from the Balagandhi temple which used to be where Lord Jagannatha would stop during His Ratha-Yatra parade to accept food offerings from all the devotees. At this garden, Sri Caitanya had many pastimes and is where He saw Lord Krishna manifest Himself. A little ways away from the garden is Narendra Sarovara, a small lake where many festivals have taken place with Sri Caitanya and his associates. Even now many pilgrims will visit and take a holy bath in this lake. The Govinda Deity from the Jagannatha temple is brought here for festivals where He is given boat rides. There is also a little temple with Lord Jagannatha Deities located here. So if foreigners want to see Lord Jagannatha they can usually come here for darshan, unless it is during the Ratha-Yatra festival.
Farther down the main road of town near the Gundicha Mandir is the very old temple dedicated to Lord Narasimha, which we can enter to view the Deity. This is also where Sri Caitanya engaged in many kirtanas with his close associates. Not far away is Indradyumna Lake where Sri Caitanya once manifested His Mahavishnu form showing His associates His supernatural qualities as an incarnation of God.
About 14 miles from Jagannatha Puri is the Alarnatha temple at Brahmagiri. Lord Alarnatha is a four-handed form of Lord Vishnu. Whenever the Jagannatha Deities in Puri would be removed from the altar before the Ratha-Yatra festival for two weeks, Sri Caitanya would stay here. This is a temple where, at the end of the kirtana hall in front of a Deity of Sadbhuja, there is a large stone slab with the imprint of Sri Caitanya’s body. Once when He fell onto the stone in an ecstatic trance, the stone melted leaving the imprint of Sri Caitanya’s body as we find it today. Across from the Alarnatha temple is another Gaudiya-Math temple that was established by Srila Bhaktisiddhanta. It is also here where we find the small Alarnatha Deity that was uncovered during excavations around the main Alarnatha temple. However, once when Srila Bhaktisiddhanta was staying at his temple, the priest at the Alarnatha shrine had a dream in which the Lord came to him and said that He wanted to accept the worship of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta. Then the priest brought the small Alarnatha Deity to Srila Bhaktisiddhanta who worshiped Him, and where the Deity has remained since then. Also in this town of Bentapur we can see the birthplace of Ramananda Raya, a close associate of Sri Caitanya.
Nineteen miles north of Jagannatha Puri is Konarka, a most interesting temple to Surya, the sun-god. Although it is very old and no longer used for worship, many people come here every day. A Surya temple was here as long ago as the 9th century, but the present temple was built in the 13th century to resemble a huge chariot and has 24 gigantic stone wheels all around it. There are also carvings of seven strong horses who pull the chariot, and the temple is covered with many panels of stone figures depicting many aspects of life, such as scenes with hunters, soldiers, ascetics, maidens, birds, elephants, etc. There are also three green chlorite deities of Surya in niches on the outside of the temple, reached by ascending flights of stairs. The interior has been filled in and blocked up to help support it. Outside the temple grounds are many shops who sell food or the usual gamut of nick-nacks.
About six miles from Puri is the Saksi-gopala temple, located between the Jagannatha Puri and Khurda Road Junction railway stations. A new station called Saksi-gopala is there where people get off to visit the temple. The Saksi-gopala Deity is the Gopala Deity who walked from Vrindavan to Vidyanagara, a town located 20 to 25 miles from Rajahmundry on the banks of the Godavari River. How this happened was that two brahmanas were traveling and visiting the holy places. One was poor and young and was serving the older and richer brahmana. The older one was so satisfied with the charitable service of the younger brahmana that he vowed in front of the Gopala Deity that he would give his daughter to the younger brahmana to be his wife. Later, when they returned home, the older brahmana hesitated to fulfill his promise due to pressure from his family. There was some controversy about this between the two brahmanas and in a meeting with the people of the town it was agreed that if the Deity Gopala would come to testify as a witness, the older brahmana would give his daughter as promised.
The younger brahmana went back to Vrindavan and related the situation to the Gopala Deity who finally agreed to walk. He told the brahmana that He would follow him and that the sound of His ankle bells would indicate He was there, but if the brahmana turned around to look, He would walk no farther. So for 100 days they walked toward Vidyanagara, then the sound of the Deity’s ankle bells ceased to sound. The brahmana looked back and the Deity was standing there smiling. The brahmana went to gather the people of the town who were amazed to see the Deity. Then the older brahmana agreed to give his daughter in marriage as promised and a temple was built for the Deity. Later the King of Orissa, Purusottama, was insulted by the King of Kataka (Cuttack). So Purusottama fought and defeated the King of Kataka and took charge of the city. He then brought the Gopalaji Deity from Vidyanagara to Kataka and built a temple there. The Deity also stayed in the Jagannatha Temple for some time, but then was moved to a village about six miles from Puri, called Satyavadi. Some time after that a new temple was constructed where we find the Saksi-gopala Deity today. Though the temple does not allow foreigners inside, many people visit this temple with the understanding that whether the Supreme is in the spiritual realm or expands Himself in the material realm in the form of a stone Deity, He can change what is spiritual into material and vice versa whenever He wants. This is why a stone Deity can do what is considered miraculous things, like walk, talk, etc. Thus, it is accepted that the bona fide Deity of the Supreme is nondifferent from the Supreme Himself.
Jagannath Temple Puri – The land of Lord Jagannath, meaning ‘Lord of Universe’, is one of the most sacred pilgrimage spots in India. One of the four divine abodes lying on four directions of the compass; The Jagannath temple in Puri was built approximately 12th Century AD by King Chodaganga of the Eastern Ganga dynasty. The completion was later brought about by his descendant, Anangabhima Deva, during the 12th century.
One of the most revered of all temples of Lord Vishnu in eastern India, the Jagannath Temple was built in the classical temple building phase. Protected by two surrounding walls, the conical tower of the temple is 58 mts high on which the flag and the wheel of Lord Vishnu can be seen.
Dedicated to Krishna, Balabhadra and Subhadra, the temple has these three as principal deities. Similar to the Lingaraja temple in Bhubaneshwar, this temple is also close for Non-Hindus who contend themselves by just viewing it from outside its precincts.
Maha-prasada is pure vegetarian spiritual food offered to Lord Jagannath. Just by eating this mahaprasada one makes great spiritual advancement. Everyday, 56 varieties of prasada are offered to Lord Jagannath. The preparations are made traditionally and no onion, garlic, chillies or many varieties of vegetables (considered alien) are not used.
These offerings, after being made to Lord Jagannath, are then offered to Goddess Bimala Devi in the temple precincts which then becomes Mahaprasadam. This Mahaprasadam is considered very efficacious for spiritual liberation. One should respectfully honor the Mahaprasadam sitting on the floor. This Mahaprasadam is available daily after 3-5 pm. This is sold outside the sanctorum area but within the temple premises. The Mahaprasadam remains hot for a long time as it is kept in the same earthen pots which are used to cook it.
Normally, mahaprasadam means a few small pots of vegetables, dhal, and a pot of rice ten times the size of the small pots.
Architecture of Jagannath Temple
The architecture of the temple follows the pattern of many Orissan temples of the classical period. The main shikhara, or tower, rises above the inner sanctum where the deities reside. Subsidiary shikharas rise above ante-halls. The temple complex is surrounded by a wall, on each side of which is a gopura or gate, over which rises a pyramid-shaped roof. Being the largest temple in the state, it has a complex covering several square blocks with dozens of structures including a mammoth kitchen.
The main temple structure of this architectural and cultural wonder is 65m (214 feet) high and is built on elevated ground, making it look more imposing. Comprising an area of 10.7 acres, the temple complex is enclosed by two rectangular walls. The outer enclosure is called Meghanada Prachira, 200m (665 ft) by 192m (640 ft). The inner wall is called Kurmabedha, 126m (420 ft) by 95m (315 ft). There are thirty-six traditional communities (Chatisha Niyaga) who render a specific hereditary service to the deities. The temple has as many as 6,000 priests.
There is a wheel on top of the Jagannath Temple made of an alloy of eight metals (asta-dhatu). It is called the Nila Chakra (Blue Wheel), and is 3.5m (11 ft 8 in) high with a circumference of about 11m (36 ft). Every day, a different flag is tied to a mast attached to the Nila Chakra. Every Ekadasi, a lamp is lit on top of the temple near the wheel. There are four gates: the eastern Singhadwara (Lion Gate), the southern Ashwadwara (Horse Gate), the western Vyaghradwara (Tiger Gate), and the northern Hastidwara (Elephant Gate). There is a carving of each form by the entrance of each gate. The Lion Gate, which is the main gate, is located on Grand Road. Thirty different smaller temples surround the main temple. The Narasimha Temple, adjacent to the western side of the Mukti-mandapa, is said to have been constructed before this temple even.
Legend of Jagannath Temple
According to the legend, Indrayumna, the king of Malava in Sata Yuga, was a great devotee of Vishnu. Once the king dreamt of Nilamadhava Vishnu and was curious to know where that particular form of the Lord was worshipped. Therefore, he sent his emissaries in four directions to find this.
Brahmin Vidyapati was sent to the east. He came to Utkala and entered Savara village where he took shelter in the house of the Savara King Visvavasu. Lalita, king’s daughter, fell in love with Vidyapati and the latter got married to her to extract information about Nilamadhava.
Visvavasu used to go to the forest every morning to worship Nilamadhava installed in Niakandara (Blue cave). Vidyapati thus coaxed his wife to request her father to allow him to see Nilamadhava. Visvavasu agreed on the condition that Vidyapati will be taken to the shrine and brought back from there with a blindfold.
On hearing this, Vidyapati went to his wife and asked her to make such an arrangement that he may subsequently know the path. Lalita gave him some sesame seeds to be scattered on the side of the road he followed so that he might know the path when sesame plants grew up during the rains.
Accordingly, Vidyapati was taken to Nilakandara where he saw Nilamadhava. Later, when Vasu Savara offered food to the deity, he did not take it as usual to the king’s dismay. At this, a divine voice was heard. It said, “we would no longer continue to be worshipped by you. Oh! Vasu, we will change the present Nilamadhava form and assume Daru form. We shall be worshipped in the temple by Raja Indradyumna”.
The king came back from the blue cave with a very heavy heart losing his deity. Vidyapati too bade farewell to his wife and father-in-law and started for Malava. Having heard the story, King Indradyumna started with his retinue for Utkal to see Nilamadhava. On reaching Nilakandara, he found it vacant. But a voice from the air told him to construct a temple on Nilasaila (Blue Mountain).
Hearing this, the king ordered the construction to begin. On completion of the temple, the king went to Brahmaloka to invite Brahma to consecrate the temple. But, Brahma being in meditation, he had to wait for nine Yugas. The temple thus got buried in sand in his absence.
In the mean time, a new dynasty came to rule at Utkala. Galamadhva, a king of that dynasty, detected the buried temple. He was considering installing images in the temple when Indradyumna with Lord Brahma appeared before him. Both the kings had a tussle over the ownership of the temple. However, Lord Brahma decided in favor of Indradyumna and asked him to install deities in the temple.
Now, the king was at a loss as to where to find the deities from. Therefore, god told him in his dream that he would be floating in the sea in the form of a log of wood. Then Sage Narada assured Indradyumna that Vishnu would appear to him in the temple form of three wooden images.
When a big tree, radiant with light was seen floating in the sea, Narada told the king to make three idols out of it and place them in a pavilion. Indradyumna got Visvakarma, the architect of Gods, to build a magnificent temple to house the idols and Vishnu himself appeared in the guise of a carpenter to make the idols on condition that he was to be left undisturbed until he finished the work.
But just after two weeks, the Queen became very anxious. She took the carpenter to be dead as no sound came from the temple. Therefore, she requested the king to open the door. Thus, they went to see Vishnu at work at which the latter abandoned his work leaving the idols unfinished. But a divine voice told Indradyumana to install them in the temple.
The three idols represent the god Jagannath, his elder brother, Balabhadra and their sister, Subhadra. The wooden idols being worshipped are renewed during special occasions. This wooden idol prepared from a log of wood floating on the ocean finds a mention in the Rig Veda, where it is referred to as Purushottama.
A List of Festivals As Observed in Shri Jagannath Temple of Puri
1. PANA SANKRANTI or Maha Vishuva Sankranti – Special Nitis are performed in the Temple on this day. The day marks the beginning of the Oriya New Year.
2. CHANDAN YATRA – The festival is observed for a period of 42 days starting from Vaisakh Shukla Trutiya or Akshaya Trutiya. Mahalakshmi and Bhudevi is accompanied by proxies of Sri Jagannath that is Madan Mohan, Rama Krushna, Laxmi, Saraswati and five Shivas that is Sri Lokanath, Sri Yameswar, Sri Kapalamochan, Sri Markandeswar and Sri Nilakantheswar in different Palanquins move to the Narendra Tank for a ritual evening cruise everyday for 21 days. At the Chandan Mandap on side the Pond the deities engage them selves in water sport by the specially arranged Vats of sandalpaste water. In the valedictory night the deities cruise for 21 times. The Chandan Yatra is also other wise known as Gandhalepana Yatra.
The second period of 21 days is known as the Bhitara Chandan or Inner Chandan as during this period the festival takes place in side the Temple Premise and the Deities play in the water on four occasions namely on the dark fort night , on the new moon day, on the 6th and 11th day of the bright fort night of the month of the Jyestha. A consecrated cistern in the Temple represents the Narendra Tank.
3. NILADRI MAHODAYA (ADHIVASA) – The day of bright fort night of Vaisakh
4. NILADRI MAHODAYA – The festival s observed on the 8th day of the bright fort night of Vaisakh. One hundred and eight pots of consecrated water are offered to the Deities and other Nitis are performed.
5. JALAKRIDA – This is celebrated on
a) 11th day of black fort night of Jyestha b) New moon day of Jyestha c) 6th day of bright fort night of Jyestha d) 1th day of bright fort night of Jyestha
6. NRUSINGHA JANMA – Celebrated on the 14th day of the bright fort night of Vaisakh when the imasge of Nrusingha is taken procession to Jagannathvallabh where some Nitis are performed and after that the deity returns to the Temple.
7. SITAL SASTHI – The 6th day of bright fort Night of Jyestha. The images of Dola Govinda and Pancha Pandava Siva are taken to the Temple of Lakshmi where a ceremony is performed.
8. RAJENDRAABHISHEKA – The 10th day of the bright fort night of Jyestha. Lord Jagannath has his Abhiseka and the proposal of his marriage with Rukmini is broached
9. RUKMINI HARANA – On the 11th day of the bright fort night of Jyestha. Madanmohan, the representative of deity of Sri Jagannath Rukmini from the Temple of Sri Bimala while she is offering worship and after that the marriage is performed.
10. CHAMPAK DWADASHI – Celebrated on 13th day of bright fort night of Jyestha.The deities are decorated with Champaka flowers.
11. ENTERING OF DAITA PATIS – Celebrated on 13th day of bright fort night of Jyestha
12. SNANA YATRA – This is the Jyestha Purnima, the birth day of Sri Jagannath. The followings are performed on that day.
a) The three deities are brought in a colorful Pahandi procession to the decorated Snana Bedi, an elevated bathing platform in tha Ananda Bazar (On the north east corner of the outer enclosure for a ritual bath. Sudarshan and Madanmohan also join them. 108 pitchers full of scented water are ched from a sacred well (Suna kua near the north gate) and are poured over the Deities amidst chanting of Mantras and loud rejoicings. Soon after their bath appears Jagannath in the form of Ganesha , Subhadra appears in the form of Padma Vesha. This particular vesha is called Gaja Vesha, Puri Raja or his representative , Mudiratha conducts Cherapanhara (Ritual cleaning of Snana Mnandap)
b) Anasara (From Snana Purnima to Asadha Amavasya) – The Deities are ceremonially brought back to the Ansarapindi that is a side room in the po ch where their circular stone pedestals for the deities were already placed. There they stay sequestered for a period of 15 days. During this period, the deities are given fresh coats of paint. Special Ansara Nitis are performed. Only the Daitas attend to the Deities . An improvised bamboo wall (Ansara Pati) bearing the paintings of the deities is however placed there for a proxy worship by the devotees. Coats of successive indigenous paints given to the deities take a long time to dry up. It is believed that the deities suffer from fever on the account of elaborate bath and for that they are kept in dietary provisions (No cooked food is served) and are nursed by the Daitas, the Kinsmen of God belonging to the Sabar Tribe.
13. FULARI LAGI – Celebrated on 5th day of black fort night of Asadha
14. CHAKA BIJE – Celebrated on the 10th black fort night of Asadha
15. CHANDAN LAGI – Celebratyed on 11th black fort night of Asadha
16. DWADASI and RAJ PRASAD BIJE – Celebrated on the 12th black fort night of Asadha
17. GHANA LAGI and SRI PAYAR MUDRA – Celebrated on the 13th black fort night of Asadha
18. CHAKA APASAR LAGI – Celebrated on 13th black fort night of Asadha
19. NETROTSAVA or NAVA YAUVANA DARSHAN – On the concluding day of Anasara that is Asadha Amavasya, the Deities decked in their finest robes and Ornaments appear before devotees. The festival of re appearance of Jagannath after Anasara is called Nava Yauvana or fresh youth. The ceremony of giving finishing touches to the eyes of the deities is called Netrotsav.
20. RATHA YATRA – On the Asadha Sukla dwitiya, after preliminary rituals the three deities and Sudarshan are ushered in to their specially built decorated chariot parked near the Simhadwara in a ceremonial Pahandi procession. The Thakur Raja of Puri conducts the ceremonial chhera panhara on the three chariots. The chariot are pulled amidst loud speakers and playing of various musical instruments
The chariots rumble through the Grand Road to reach the Gundicha Mandir, situated at a distance of 3 km north east of Sri Mandir. On the way the deities are offered Pankti, way side sacred offerings by heads of various
Maths. The deities are ushered in to the Gundicha Tempple the next day and there they enjoy a week long sojourn. The ogs on the chariot spires are worshipped every day.
Hera Panchami is observed on the Shukla Panchami. The image of Goddess Lakshmi is ceremonially taken to Gundicha Temple where the chariots are anchored. She does not call on Jagannath, rather leaves the front yard of the Gundicha temple abruptly causing a little damage to Jagannath’s chariot, Nandighosh. She come back to her temple via Hera Gouri Sahi.
On the eighth day the chariot are placed facing south west for resumption of their return journey next day.
21. HERA PANCHAMI – Celebrated on both day of bright fort night of Asadha.
22. BAHUDA YATRA – The return journey of the deities commences on the 9th day. On their way back they halt at Mausima Temple and receive cake from their aunt. Then they move on. Chariots of Balabhadra and Subhadra reach Simhadwar first and Nandighosh stays back in front of the palace of Puri Raja. From the Chahani Mandap. Viewing plat form near the Snana Mandap, Goddess Laxmi watches the safe return of Lord Jagannath. Nandighosh finally reaches at the Simhadwara and that marks the end of the Journey.
On the 11th day, the deities still occuping their chariots out side the Simhadwara are richly decorated with various gold ornaments brought from the temple store. They appear in Suna Vesha.
On the 12th day Niladri Vijaya is celebrated. Balabhadra and Subhadra in ceremonial gotipahandi are ushered in to the Ratna Sinhasan where as Jagannath alone is left behind and becomes a target of mock humiliation by Devadasis at the bidding of Laxmi. When the pleasant repartee is over, Jagannath and Laxmi are re united. This event is known as Laxmi-Narayana Bheta. Then lord Jagannath majestically repairs to his ratna singhasan and joins his brother Balabhadra and sister Subhadra.
23. SUNA VESHA – celebrate on 11th day of bright fortnight of Asadha.
24. HARISHAYANA EKADASI- On the 11th day of the bright night of Asadha, the sayana Ustav or sleeping ceremony is performed. The adhivasa nitis are performed the previous day. At night the representatives images Srinarayan, Vasudeva and Bhubaneswari representing Jagannath, Balabhadra and Subhadra respectively are brought to the well decorated sleeping chamber and placed on the cots. They are invoked with prayer” O lord, do please sleep for four months for the well fare of the universe”. Then they are laid on their respective beds. 25. GARUDA SAYANA DWADASHI – The ceremony is performed on the 12th day of the bright fortnight of Asadha.
26. ADHAR PANA ON RATH – Celebrated on 12th day of bright fortnight of Asadha.
27. NILADRI BIJE – Celebrated on 13th day of bright fortnight of Asadha.
28. KARKATA SANKRANTI or DAKSHINAYAN YATRA – As the Sun begins to move to the southwards, a festival called as Dakshinayan Yatra is observed.
29. CHITALAGI AMAVASYA – On the new moon day in the month of Shrabana the Gold and Stone sets Chitas moved from the deities during Snana Yatra are again put on them.
30. BAADI NRUSINGH BIJE – Celebrated on 9th day of bright fortnight of Shravan.
31. JHULAN YATRA – It is celebrated in the Temple from the Shravana Shukla Dashami up to Pratipada. Madanmohan, the Utsava Murti of Jagannath .Bhudevi and Laxmi are placed on a decorated swings in Jhulan Mandap and crowds of Pilgrims congregate in the Temple to see the Festival. Different Mathas of Puri also celebrate this festival with great pomp and grandeur.
32. GAMHAPURNIMA or BALABHADRA JANMA – On the full moon day in the month of Shravana nitis are performed to celebrate the birthday of Balabhadra. The deities wear gold and silken rachis.
33. The deities wear RAHUREKHA LAGI – Rahurekha ornaments for the forehead on the 5th lunar day of the dark fortnight of Balabhadra.
34. KRISHNA JANMA – It is celebrated in the Temple on the 8th day of the dark fortnight of Bhadrapada. On this day ceremonies regarding the birth of Lord Krishna are performed. On the next day Nandostaba is observed.
35. NANDOSTAV – Celebrated on 9th day of black fortnight of Bhadrapad.
36. BANA BHOJI VESHA – Celebrated on 10th day of black fortnight of Bhadrapad.
37. KALIYA DALAN VESHA – Celebrated on 11th day of black fortnight of Bhadrapad.
38. PRALMBASUR BADHA VESHA – Celebrated on 12th day of black fortnight of Bhadrapad.
39. KRUSHNA BALARAM VESHA – Celebrated on 13th day of black fortnight of Bhadrapad.
40. SAPTAPURI AMAVASYA – The new mood day of Bhadrapad. On this day quantities of sweets known as Saptapuri Tada are offered to the Deities
41. DAVAGNI – Celebrated on 12th day of bright fortnight of Bhadrapad.
42. NIKUNJA LILA – Celebrated on 12th day of bright fortnight of Bhadrapad.
43. GANESH CHATURTHI – The 4th day of the bright fortnight in the month of Bhadrapad. Panji Puja is done at Saraswati Temple and various Pujas are performed in the Temple of Ganesh.
44. REKHA PANCHAMI – Celebrated on 5th day of the bright fortnight in the month of Bhadrapad.
45. KRUSHNA LILA – Celebrated on 6th and 7th day of bright fortnight of Bhadrapad.
46. RAADHASTAMI – Celebrated on 8th day of the bright fortnight in the month of Bhadrapad is celebrated as the
birthday of Sri Radha. On this day nitis are performed by taking out Shri Sudarshan to the four Ashrams.
47. KRISHNA LILA or LAVANI KHIA- Celebrated on 10th day of bright fortnight of Bhadrapad.
48. PARSVAPARIVARTANA – On the Hanosara day of the 11th day of the bright fortnight of in the month of Bhadrapad, the Parsvaparivartan (Turning of Sides) festival is performed. On this day at evening after the usual rituals, the God is requested to change the side.
49. VAMANA JANMA – various nitis are performed relating to the birth of Bamana on the 12th day of the bright fortnight of Bhadrapad. Sunia is also marks the beginning of the Royal New Year of Gajapati.
50. ANANTA CHATURDASHI – On the 14th day of the bright fortnight in the month of Bhadrapad, the ceremony is performed in Sri Ananta Vasudeva Temple.
51. INDRA-GOVINDA PUJA – The Puja is celebrated on Bhadrapad Purnima, the full moon day in the month of Bhadrapad.
52. SAHASRA KUMBHA ABHISEKA – Ashwina Krushna Astami that is the 8th day of the dark fortnight of Ashwina. Abhisek of Goddess Durga is done at Marjana Mandapa and from this day Shohala Puja is performed in the Temple of Vimala and other Goddesses.The puja is called Rahasya Puja or Mahanisha Puja and lasts 16 days from Krushna Ashtami up to Mahanavami.
53. DASAHARA – On the 10th day of the bright fortnight in the month of Aswina. Ayudha Puja and Vijaya Dasami celebrations are performed.
54. DWITYA OSHA – It is performed by Goddess Lakshmi in her Temple.
55. KARTIKA VRATA – This is also called as the starting of Radha Damodar Besha and starts from the beginning of 11th day of bright fortnight of Aswina till Kartik Shukla Dashami.
56. KUMAR PURNIMA – On the full moon day in the month of Ashwina the Sevakas representing Sri Jagannath and Sri Lakshmi play dice.
57. HARI UTTHAPANA EKADASI – On the 11th day of the bright fortnight in the month of Kartika, the gods are awakened from the divine slumber. The festival is also called “Provodhana Yatra” or rising ceremony.
58. GARUDA UTTHAPAN DWADASI – This is performed on the 12th day of the bright fortnight of full moon of Kartika.
59. PANCHAK VESA – Started from the beginning of 11th day of bright fortnight to Full Moon of Kartika.
60. NAVANNA – Various extra Bhogas are offered on this occasion. There is no fixed day for this festival but it is fixed by the Temple Astrologer according to the stars(Rohini) of Sri Jagannath.
61. PRATHAMASTAMI – The 8th day of the dark fortnight in the month of Margasira when Vandaapana is done.
62. DIPADANA-On this day Jagannathjew and Balarama perform Shraadh for Kashyapa,Aditi,Dasharatha,Kaushalya,Devaki,Rohini,Vasudeva,Nanda,Yashoda
63. ODHANA SASTHI – The 6th day of the bright fortnight in the month of Margasira. From this day Ghodalagi begins that is the Deities are dressed in winter garments
64. PANDU PURNIMA – It is celebrated on full moon day of Margasira.
65. DHANU SANKRANTI – Pahali Bhoga begins from the day on Dhanu Sankranti to Makara Sankranti.
66. VAKUL AMABASYA – On Pausha Amabasya special Bhogas including Gaintha are offered to the Deities.
67. PUSHYABHISEKA – Nitis such as Adhibasa etc. are performed on the full moon day in the month of Pausa. Pots filled with perfumed water are taken from Bhoga Mandap to the Ratna Vedi. This Abhiseka is performed for the representatives deities like Rama, Sita and Lakshaman for which is also known as Ramabhiseka.
68. NABANKI – It is celebrated on the previous day of Makar Sankranti.
69. MAKAR SANKRANTI – This is also called as Uttarayani Yatra and is performed on the Makar Sankranti day when the Sun moves towards Vernal Equinox.
70. PADMA VESHA – It is celebrared on Tuesday or Saturday between new moon of Magha to Basanta Panchami
71. VASANTA PANCHAMI – Panji Puja is done in the Saraswati Temple and there is some modification in Ghodalagi that is in the winter garments worn by the Deities.
72. TILA SAPTAMI – Celebrated on the 7th day of bright fortnight of Magha.
73. BHOUMA EKADASI – Celebrated on the 11th day of bright fortnight of Magha.
74. MAGHA PURNIMA – Gajauddharana Vesha takes place on this day.
75. SIVA RATRI – Hari Hara Bheta takes place at Sri Lokanath Temple.
76. BENTA or SIKAR – This festival is performed on the 1st, 4th, 8th, and the 12th day of the bright fortnight to Phalguna. On these days the image of Dola Govinda is taken to Jagannathvallabh Matha, which is known as the pleasure garden of Jagannath, and coconuts are struck with arrows by some sevakas symbolizing Mrugaya.
77. DOLA YATRA – It is started during the period from Phalguna Dashami, the 10th day of the bright Phalguna to the Purnima or Full Moon day. The representative Deities of Lord Jagannath are taken to Dola and various Nitis are performed. This is also known as Vasantosab. Fagu or colour powder is sprinkled on the Deities.
78. AGNI USTAVA – Celebrated on the 14th of bright fortnight of Phalguna.
79. HOLI – Celebrated on 1st black fortnight of Chaitra.
80. CHAITRA GUNDICHA – A festival is observed on the 6th day of the bright fortnight of Chaitra in the Sun Temple in side the Temple Premise.
81. ASHOKASHTAMI – It is celebrated on the 8th day of the bright fortnight of Chaitra. Sri Bhandar Lokanath is taken in a procession to the Temple of Isaneswar Mahadeva where certain ceremonies are performed. The Deity turns to the Temple after attending to some Nitis at Jagannathballava.
82. RAMA NAVAMI – The festival begins with the celebration of the birth of Sri Rama on the 9th day of the bright Fortnight of Chaitra and continues for some Days. Rama Lila is performed in which different Sahis or Localities in the town participate.
83. YAGNYA RAKSHYA – Celebrated on the 10th of bright fortnight of Chaitra.
84. SITA VIVAH – Celebrated on 11th day of the bright fortnight of Chaitra.
85. VANAVASA – Celebrated on the 12th day of bright fortnight of Chaitra.
86. DAMANAKA CHORI or DAMANAK LAGI – The festival is celebrated on the 13th day and 14th day of the bright fortnight of Chaitra. The Deities Rama and Krishna are taken in a procession to Jagannathballav Matha from where a scented plant called Dayana is stealthily brought and on the next day offered to the Deities by observing elaborator tites.
87. LANKA PODI – Celebrated on full moon day of Chaitra.
88. SETU BADDHA – Celebrated on 1st day of black fortnight of Vaisakha.
89. RAVAN BADHA – Celebrated on 2nd day of black fortnight of Vaisakha.
90. RAMABHISEKA – It does not occur on a particular day. It is calculated per the position of the stars(Punarvasu).
Early European observers told tales of devotees being crushed under the wheels of these chariots, whether by accident or even as a form of meritorious suicide akin to suttee. These reports gave rise to the loan word juggernaut suggesting an immense, unstoppable, threatening entity or process operated by fanatics.
In a year that has two months of Ashadh which is usually once in twelve to nineteen years the wooden idols of the deities are replaced during theNabakalevara ceremony.On Akshaya Tritiya every year the Chandan Yatra festival marks the commencement of the construction of the Chariots of the Rath Yatra. On the Purnima of the month of Jyestha the Gods are ceremonially bathed and decorated every year on the occasion of Snana Yatra. Many other festivals like Dol Yatra in spring and Jhulan Yatra in monsoon are celebrated by temple every year.Pavitrotsava and Damanaka utsava are celebrated as per panchanga or panjika.There are special ceremonies in the month of Kartika and Pausha.
The annual shodasha dinatmaka or 16 day puja beginning 8 days prior to Mahalaya of Ashwin month for goddess Vimala and ending on Vijayadashami,is of great importance,in which both the utsava murty of lord Madanmohan and Vimala take part.
Orissa and Lord Jagannatha’s temple in the past has faced the attacks of Muslim rulers for many times. During the 18 th century King Ramachandra Dev was the then ruler of Orissa. But all times Orissa was experiencing the terror of attacks from the powerful subedar Taki Khan
Taki Khan by nature was an anti Hindu natured person. So he was always with intention to demolish the temple of lord Jagannatha. At that time few parts of Orissa was also under the regime of the Muslims. So king Ramachandra Dev was worried for the safety of Lord Jagannatha’s temple
Finally according to the conditions of Taki Khan king Ramachandra Dev accepted Islam and got married to Taki Khan’s sister. Thus though Lord Jagannatha’s temple got secured but king Ramachandra dev lost his rights to enter into the temple and finally Lord jagannatha’s idle was constructed near lion’s door for him. And the idle was named as Patitapabana. And till today it is prevailing there the main idea of constructing that ideal was that people who are unable to see lord Jagannatha in side his temple will be able to see him there
King Divya Singha Dev and lord Jagannath
It was 12.07.1972 and it was the famous Car festival of that year. Prior to this the managerial aspects of Srimandira (Lord jagannatha’s temple is called as Srimandira) were under direct control of the Gajapati king who is regarded the first servant of the lord Jagannatha. But prior to this year due to the improper managements of the Gajapati king the Government of Orissa removed the power from them to get involved with the managerial aspects of Srimandira and appointed an A.D.M. (Additional District Magistrate) to look into the matters of Srimandira Management
Gajapati remained silent with this decision of Government of Orissa. The A.D.M. was a very punctual person but he had a wrong notion that man is arranging this car festival for the lord so to complete it in a proper manner the lord should come to the chariots in proper time. Within 10A.M. of that morning lord Balabhadra and Goddess Maa Suvadra came to their chariots according to the schedule. But when it was the case of lord Jagannatha it became impossible to bring him to the chariot. Because the more the people were trying more they were becoming unsuccessful to do that wanted. Those who tried to use force they got injured. Finally the people there including the ministers and the chief minister got harassed, as they had no way out. But at very moment king Divya Singh Dev was present there as he had to perform the cleaning ceremonies there in the chariots. He finished his job in the chariots of Lord Balabhadra and Maa Suvadra and came towards the chariot of lord Jagannatha but till then people were not able to lift lord Jagannatha to his chariot so he started weeping the king in his weeping voice told that “oh, lord this festival is yours and we all are just the facilitators please pardon on us please move to the chariot.” And surprisingly this few words of the Gajapati king Divya Singh Dev created an astonishing result and the idle, which was unimaginably heavy before, became as light as a flower. And finally the lord went to the chariot probably on his smiles he was giving the message to the people and Government of Orissa that “My servant is every thing for me I will only listen to him not to anybody other else and I am not guided by anybody other, rather all the others of the world are guided by me as I am the all mighty.
GANAPATI BHATTA AND LORD JAGANNATH
Ganapati Bhatta was born in a Brahmin family of Kaniari village of Karnatak . From his very childhood he was interested in spiritual discussions and he was always interested in worshipping lord Ganesha. As he was deeply loving lord Ganesha he was with the thought that only lord Ganesha is the Bramha(Supreme Soul) once when he was reading the book Bramha Purana he found it that in Kaliyug Bramha has appeared at Nilagiri(Puri) and his name is Lord Jagannath. This really created an interest in Ganapatti Bhatta to see who this Lord Jagannath is? After a long travel finally he reached at Puri and there he thought to go to meet lord Jagannath instantly. Again he was with the thought that those who will see the supreme soul(Bramha) they will achieve salvation instantly and they will not take rebirth. Thus after reaching at Puri when he found people returning from Lord Jagannath’s temple with Mahaprasad on their hand he got seriously confused. He thought it that if Bramha (supreme soul) is really existing here then how these people are returning back instead of getting salvation? Thus he thought it that Bramha (supreme soul) is not existing here. Thus he started returning with a sorrowful heart. Lord Jagannath knew this and he appeared before Ganapatti Bhatta becoming an old Brahmin. He asked Ganapati Bhatta that what is the reason and why are you feeling sorry? Then Ganapatti Bhatta explained everything and the Brahmin told it that you are thinking wrong Bramha is existing here and he is satisfying the desires of the devotees according to their demand. Thus Ganapati Bhatta got satisfied with this answer of the old Brahmin and then he went to see the lords. That day was Snana Purnima so the lords were preparing for the rituals. Ganapati Bhatta Saw the lords and thought it that Lord Ganesha is the supreme soul and when the lord here is not Lord Ganesha, then how can he be the Bramha? Thus he got confused again. Thus Lord Jagannath told Mudiratha everything about Ganapati Bhatta in his dreams and told him to tell Ganapati Bhatta to come to see him.
Thus Mudiratha got up and ran to Ganapati Bhatta. He told Ganapati Bhatta that lord Jagannath is Bramha and he can appear in any form according to the desires of his devotees, so Ganapati Bhatta should Visit again. Ganapati Bhatta got annoyed with such words of Mudiratha but he went again. But after reaching near the lords he found it that lord Ganesha with his big trunks is eating Mahaprasad. He got astonished and all his doubt got cleared. Thus he finally begged pardon but after begging pardon he breathed his last there infront of the lords. So from that day the lords get dressed like lord Ganesha on Snana PuriSAILOR AND LORD JAGANNATTill today we were saying only about the devotees of lord Jagannath. But today we have planned to tell you a story about lord Jagannath which is much different. But the story also has the cream of devotion inside it like other stories and we hope it will also be interesting for you. Yes!! Today’s story is about the big bell of captain Bito which is still found in lord Jagannath’s temple as a symbol of love , affection and devotion of captain Bito towards Lord Jagannath.
Captain Bito was a sailor for his total life and that day he was bringing a big bell from a port of France to the church of Pondicherry. The ship was floating on the chest of ocean and the sunny morning was creating a quite pleasant atmosphere. But at that time the boy at the deck saw it that a big animal i9s coming towards the ship and that may purely destroy the ship. The boy got terrified he screamed and called the captain. Instantly the captain ran to the deck and with his telescope he saw the situation, but after seeing it his body started shivering and cold sweat came out of his body in fear. He found it that a big storm is coming towards the ship. Thus instantly the alarm bell of the ship was given and all the people after knowing these incidents became terrified and all started weeping for saving their life. But the captain found it that amidst all these trouble a person is sitting with confidence in front of a photo which has two big black eyes. The captain went to him and asked him about what is he doing? The man told that he is praying to his lord Jagannath who can save all from the danger. The captain initially did not believe him but finally he got persuaded by the words of that man and he told it that if the lord Jagannath can save us then I will donate this bell to him. The man told it that you all pray Lord Jagannath and I am sure he will save us because I have seen it in my life that whenever I have prayed him he has helped me. The captain became confident with these words and all started praying lord Jagannath. Finally at the end of the prayer they found it that the storm has gone away and they all saluted Lord Jagannath with their heart full of devotion and finally keeping his words captain came to Puri and donated the bell to lord Jagannath.
YABANA HARIDAS AND SRIJAGANNATHA
Yabana Haridas was born in west Bengal and he was brought up in a Muslim family. But from the very child hood he was interested in worshipping Lord Krishna. He was so deeply immersed in love with lord Krishna that all times he was chanting the name of Lord Krishna. As his parents were dead from an early child hood that is why at a very young age he left his home and reaching near the river Ganga he started staying at the place called Phulia. There every day he started singing devotional songs and chanting the name of Lord Krishna. Seeing this people became attracted towards him and he became popular. That made the Kaji of that locality envious towards him. He complained to the Muslim ruler that being a Muslim Haridas is going against the religion by chanting the name of Lord Krishna the lord of Hindus. Listening this, the king became angry he called Haridas and asked the region. Haridas replied it that only names are different but God is one. Thus listening this king became angry and ordered his soldiers to kill Haridas by beating him with cane. The soldiers carried away the order but nothing happened to Haridas. Seeing such incident the soldiers got afraid and they told Haridas that if he will not die then the king will kill them. Thus Haridas went for meditation and the soldiers thought it that he has gone dead. Then Haridas was thrown to Ganga but again floating on the water of Ganga he reached at Phulia. The ruler after seeing such incident got afraid and begged pardon from him. After that a jamindar tried to prove him character less but his effort also got ruined. Then Haridas went to Adwaitacharya , and there he learnt a lot about lord Vishnu from Adwaitacharya . After that with Srichaitanya he reached at Puri. At puri, everyday he was busy in chanting three lakh Krishna mantra. Srichaitanya was also happy with him that is why he was always saying him to get deeply immersed in the devotion of lord Krishna. Haridas finally breathed his last when srichaitanya was performing kirttan with great devotion and it created the idea that within the sankirttan God has taken his loving Haridas nearer to him.
BISHAR MOHANTY AND LORD JAGANNTAH
Lord Jagannath is considered as the DaruBramha. He changes his body in each twelve years. The Bramha gets a new body. He is considered as the living God of this world as he always tries to understand the mind of his devotees. So it is really matter of great luck to hold him in hands. And Probably among his devotees Bishar Mohanty was that much lucky to hold the lord in his hands. Truly what Bishar Mohanty Got is nothing other than the achievement by the result of the worships of thousand incarnations.
Bishar Mohanty was the record writer in the court of King of Kujangagarh. Though by his profession he was the record writer but he was not interested with his profession. He was always interested in listening about lord Jagannath and his deeds in different births. He was always with the thought that the servitors of lord Jagannath are very lucky as they are serving the lord in a close proximity. He always gets interested in listening about Lord Jagannath and when any servitor from Puri visits Kujangagarh at that time he becomes very happy as the servitor talks about Lord Jagannath in the court.
Once it happened that the servitor came to Kujangagarh but he was not happy. He was with the bad news of the death of King Mukunda Deva’s death and the attacks of Kalapahad who was always with the efforts of destroying Hindu temple. He also told it that Kalapahad had taken away the idols of the Lords had done the effort of burning the idols. Till this Bishar Mohanty was listening the words of the servitor but his heart did not cooperated with him to listen more about such things. His heart started weeping with sorrow. Returning to home all night he went on thinking about the lord so at night he heard someone saying him “you have to do some work for me, so come forward my dear Bishar” Bishar got up and praying lord Jagannath started walking and finally he reached near the river Ganga. In the mean while a devotee of Lord Jagannath gifted him a Mridanga. Reaching near River Ganga he thought it kalapahad may burn the idols but he will not be able to burn the Bramha, so he jumped into the water of river ganga. And as a result of that he found the Bramha there. But with the fear of attack he kept the bramha in the Mridanga. Finally he returned to kujangagarh. Again after a longtime Orissa’s king Ramachandradev got his empire back and at that time the lord again returned to Shrimandir. Again all the temple norms started once again and the day on which Mahaprasad got reintroduced after a long interval that day Bishar Mohanty prayed Lord Jagannath to make him closer for all times. Due to the introduction of mahaprasad once again that day the temple was in a festive mood and at the evening all found it that lord has taken Bishar closer to him.
MADHABENDRA PURI AND LORD JAGANATH
Madhabendra Puri was born in west Bengal. The man was a great lover of Lord Krishna. He was always engaged in the work of worshipping lord Krishna and he was also engaged in chanting the devotional songs of lord Krishna. He was so deeply immersed in devotion that he was considering the existence of Lord Krishna at all places. Finally he got so deeply immersed in the love of lord Krishna that he left forBrindaban. After reaching at Brindaban he started searching for Lord Krishna and searched in such a way that he got tired and hunger and thirst started capturing him. But he was with the principle of not begging anything from anybody so he started sitting near the river Yamuna. He tried to forget hunger and thirst by chanting the name of Lord Krishna. At this time it happened that a boy from a milk man family came to him with milk pots and offered him milk to take. Madhabendra Puri became unable to avoid his sweet words. So he took milk. But after that when Madhabendra Puri asked him to show him the way to his house the boy started walking with him. Reaching at one place the boy told him to construct a temple for him and before Madhabendra could say anything to him the boy who was really Lord Krishna vanished immediately. The next day madhabendra went to that place and there inside the grass he found an idol of lord Krishna. He told the villagers everything and the villagers with great joy constructed a temple there. Then Madhabendra engaged himself in the work of looking into the management systems of the temple, so that there will be no disturbance in lord Krishna’s rituals. But once when he was sleeping he found it that Lord Krishna in dreams is saying him to bring Malaya chandan(The sandal cream prepared in a particular method) from Puri for him to make his body cool. Thus listening this Madhabendra Puri left for Puri.
While going to Puri he reached at Remuna. There he saw the lord Gopinath who is lord Krishna also. Then he with love in heart started chanting the name of lord Krishna sitting in the temple. There he listened it that during night the lord is offered Khir(A dish prepared by rice and milk, Sugar and some specific items are added to it to make it tasty. It is also called KHIRI in Odisha ). Madhabendra got interested to have Khirbut as he was not ready to ask anybody for Khir so he remained silent. At night it happened that the lord in the dreams of the chief servitor told the servitor that my devotee Madhabendra Puri is worshiping me with hunger and thirst. So I have stolen a pot full of Khir for him. It is placed near my idol. You go and taking that pot give it to him. The servitor heard this and after that he ran to the temple. There he found the pot filled with Khir. Again he reached Madhabendra Puri and giving the Khir to Madhabendra he told everything. Madhabendra heard this and became very happy with devotion. But from that day as the god had stolenKhir for his devotee that is why people started calling him Khirichora Gopinath. He is also now known asKhirachora Gopinath by the passage of time. After that Madhabendra reached at Puri and there prayed lord Jagannath to help him to get Malaya chandan Lord Jagannath permitted him and he reached to the Gajapati and told him everything. When Gajapati listened it that lord Jagannath has permitted him he also facilitated for everything and with two people he sent Madhabendra Puri with the Malaya chandan. On the way of returning he reached near the temple of Khirichora Gopinath. There at night the lord appeared and told him that I can’t tolerate your pains for more so I have come from Brindaban you offer the Malaya chandan to me here. Madhabendra listened everything and the next day offering the Malaya chandan he started singing the songs of Lord Krishna with great devotion.
GREAT DEVOTEE SALABEGA
Great Salabega was born in a Muslim family and was the son of Lalbega. Lalbega was a leading warrior in the Mughal army and on those days the Mughals were always trying to capture the Srimandir to demolish it. Once when the Mughal warrior lalbega was returning from Puri near Dandamukundapur locality of Puri he found a Beautiful young Brahmin widow returning from the Bathing Ghats. So he kidnapped the lady and finally by compulsion married her who latterly came to be known as Fatima Biwi. Salabega was the son of Fatima Biwi and lalbega. From his child hood he listened about lord Jagannath, Lord Krishna, And lord Rama from her mother. He got attracted towards them.
After the death of Fatima Biwi when Salabega was a kid once he got stricken by a severe disease and all the doctors left the hope that Salabega can survive. One day when he was on bed he heard the Bhajan’s and thought the great lord Jagannath who is the god of world will be able to cure me. Then he started praying lord Jagannath and finally got cured. After that he became a great devotee of lord Jagannath. But for that reason he was discarded from his own house. Then he started moving here to there uttering the name of lord Jagannath all times. Finally he went to Puri. It was the car festival time and the chariots were getting pulled Salabega was not allowed to see lord Jagannath on the chariot as he was the son of a Muslim. So resided on a house which is very nearer to Srimandir. When the chariot of lord Jagannath came nearer to his house he started weeping. Suddenly the chariot stopped there. Salabega watched the God happily and there after all the things were made known to the priests. Then he got the respects of a great devotee by the blessings of the lord Jagannath.
DASHIA BAURI was born in the Baligaon of Puri district. He was a great devotee of lord Jagannatha. Though he was born in a lower caste like Bauri but all times he was remaining busy in offering prayers to lord jagannatha.he was such a devotee that he was even forgetting his foods and drinks in the devotion of lord Jagannatha.In a true sense he was attached to lord Jagannatha by mind heart and soul. For him he was the everything of world. He had a very poor income.
One a great incident happened and this is a teaching on how Lord helps a devotee indirectly. One afternoon, Devotee Dashia Bauri was intensely involved in the writing of a Jagannatha Bhajan. Suddenly his wife came to him and told him with some anger that, “You see! You are always busy in the divine service of Lord Jagannatha and neglecting the household necessities. I have not taken any food for last four-five days. How can I survive?” After, listening this Dashia Bauri became surprised and asked, “Everyday, you are giving me the food at right time and why are you telling that you have not taken the food for last few days?” Wife answered, “You are very innocent! I am preparing food for you from the rice which you brought five to six days back by keeping my stomach empty” After hearing the sacrifice, Dashia Bauri felt that he is not able to fulfill his duty towards her as her husband and he suggested his wife that if she wanted she could marry someone again. After listening such a statement from her husband, wife asked, “Is this what Lord Jagannatha taught him?” And she told, “Jagannatha may be your Lord, but my lord is you. I can tolerate any pain and even die at your feet.”
At that moment suddenly they heard that a person is calling from outside, “Dasia! Dashia!” Dashia Bauri went outside the hut and found the village leader. The village leader immediately gave him rice and a few kaudies (which was used in those days as money) and requested him to weave a new dress for him. The village leader also told him his intention behind the new dress. He revealed that he desired to visit Puri the land of lord jagannatha during the annual car festival. After knowing this Dashia Bauri could not check his ecstasy and asked like a child to the village leader that, whether he could give some more kaudies to him so that his desire to visit Puri during car festival could also be fulfilled. The village leader happily agreed and offered, “Why you want to visit alone then? Come with me so that you will not face any trouble in the journey to Puri.” Thus Dashia happily accepted the offer and promised to prepare the dress for the Village leader for car festival, which was only two-three days away.
Dashia Bauri then came to his wife and told with joy, “See the mercy of Jagannatha! You were asking for rice and the money. And Lord Himself came and gave me the things that you were demanding.” She was surprised and asked where Jagannatha came. I saw only the village leader who came and gave these things to you. Dashia replied, “It is not so easy to understand him. The Lord’s helps sometimes directly and sometimes indirectly. The Lord actually sent you the rice and kaudies through our village leader. The Lord’s mercy and activities are all inconceivable.”
At last the day came and Dashia reached at the Puri. But he was not able to enter to temple as he was from lower caste. Then finally standing at lions gate the only offering that he had the coconut he offered o lord jagannatha and surprisingly lord jagannatha himself accepted it from his great devotee. And from that day the name and devotions of Dashia Bauri and love of lord Jagannatha for his devotees turned to a great story.
GREAT DEVOTEE SALABEGA
Great Salabega was born in a Muslim family and was the son of Lalbega. Lalbega was a leading warrior in the Mughal army and on those days the Mughals were always trying to capture the Srimandira to demolish it. Once when the Mughal warrior lalbega was returning from puri near Danda mukundapur locality of puri he found a Beautiful young Brahmin widow returning from the Bathing Ghats. So he kidnapped the lady and finally by compulsion married her who latterly came to be known as Fatima Biwi. Salabega was the son of fatima Biwi and lalbega. From his child hood he listened about lord Jagannatha, Lord Krishna, And lord Rama from her mother. He got attracted towards them.
After the death of Fatima biwi when Salabega was a kid once he got stricken by a severe disease and all the doctors left the hope that Salabega can survive. One day when he was on bed he heard the Bhajan’s and thought the great lord Jagannatha who is the god of world will be able to cure me. Then he started praying lord Jagannatha and finally got cured. After that he became a great devotee of lord Jagannatha. But for that reason he was discarded from his own house. Then he started moving here to there uttering the name of lord Jagannatha all times. Finally he went to Puri. It was the car festival time and the chariots were getting pulled Salabega was not allowed to see lord Jagannatha on the chariot as he was the son of a Muslim. So resided on a house which is very nearer to Srimandira. When the chariot of lord Jagannatha came nearer to his house he started weeping. Suddenly the chariot stopped there. And Salabega watched the God happily and there after all the things were made known to the priests. Then he got the respects of a great devotee by the blessings of the lord Jagannath,
Lord Jagannatha and saint Balaram Das.
Saint Balaram Das was a great devotee of lord jagannatha and he was such a lover of lord jagannatha that he was just feeling it that beyond jagannatha there is nothing other in this world. Once the famous saint who was the writer of Dandi Ramayan (Ramayan in Oriya language) got an idea to make a visit to lanka, which according to the Ramayan was once the capital city of the demon Ravana. He told this to lord Jagannatha and at the time of night he went to visit lanka along with lord Jagannatha. Jagannatha during that visit told him to hold his gold jhari(A typical ornament of gold). After finishing their visit Balarama das forgot to return the ornament. But at the morning the priests found it that the ornament has been stolen by somebody and when Saint Balaram Das came with that he was accused as the thief and was taken to the court of the Gajapati king. But latter Gajapati found it by taking proves from lord jagannatha that Balaram Das is not guilty and he is a great devotee of lord Jagannatha. So he paid due respect to him.
But Balarama Das was in love with a prostitute called jamuna Bai. When once he was with The prostitute he found it that it was the very day of car festival and the chariots are going to be pulled. He ran to the Chariot of lord jagannatha but the priests found it that he has just returned from the prostitute and the turmerics and the lipsticks of the prostitute are still prevailing there on him. So the priests beated them and he returned.
With tears on his eye Balaram das went near the sea(Bay of Bengal) and there he prepared three chariots on sand for the two brothers Jagannatha,Balabhadra and their sister Goddess Suvadra.Praying with tears he told it that if you are truly my God then the chariots there will not move and you three will come to this sand chariots of mine.
Suddenly all the three chariots of the car festival stopped and after a huge effort the people were unable to move them even one inch. Everybody got worried so finally the Gajapati king got the message and he along with the priests on fasting started praying to lord Jagannatha. Then Lord jagannatha appeared on his dreams and told them everything and told that I cannot tolerate the insults of my devotees. If you pay proper respect to Balaram das and will beg pardon to him then only along with him I will return to the chariots made by you. The king did accordingly and the chariots started moving along with his great devotee Balaram Das.
GURU NANAK AND LORD JAGANNATHA
Guru Nanak came to Puri at the last phase of his visits, but the priests did not allowed him as he was dressed like a Muslim. They told that they can not allow a person who is dressed like a Muslim. Nanak felt insulted at the lion’s door he prayed lord Jagannatha with tears and suddenly Lord Jagannatha appeared on his palms. He saw him and went to place near the sea. The other people got astonished with this and the considered saint Nanak as a great devotee of Lord Jagannatha.
It was evening and everybody asked Nanak that whether he is going to perform the evening prayers to lord jagannatha or not? Nanak nodded his head and told I am going to do Arati (A Special ritual performed near all Hindu deities) to him. Suddenly he raised his hands and the instruments used for Arati appeared on his hands. Then when one after another when he started performing the ritual for the three gods the people also got astonished that they clearly saw the three Gods. Everybody started praising him but few bad people started spreading the rumour that Guru Nanak is a tantrik and is using mesmorism on people.
Then Guru Nanak told see every evening we are discussing about lord Jagannatha, Balabhdra, And Goddess Subhadra are coming here and can show them to you. Few days passed within this and people started disbeliefing him but once on one evening he showed a black man,along with a white man and a beautiful lady. Then when he ran to catch them they jumped to a well near by and vanished. And people trusted Guru Nanak.Till today that place is also seen at the Bauli Matha(The hut of hermit) of Puri.
14, Thursday, Jala Krida Ekadashi. 15, Friday … 28, Sunday, Sarvasammata Padmini Ekadashi … 26 …
Jalakrida Ekadashi is observed on the 11th day of the Krishna Paksha of (waning phase of moon) in Jyeshta month as per traditional Oriya calendar. Jalkrida …
Jalakrida Ekadashi is the most popular Ekadasi vrat dedicated to Lord Jagannath of Puri in Orissa. This Ekadasi is observed on Krishna Paksha Ekadashi day in …
May 28, 2014 – Images of Krishna stealing the clothes of women when they bathed in the river and they begging Him to give their clothes back, have been …
It is believed that by observing Apara Ekadashi vrat all the sins of the person will … In Orissa it is referred as ‘Jalakrida Ekadashi‘ and is celebrated in honour of …
May 21, 2014 – It is also known as Achala Ekadashi, Bhadrakali Ekadashi and Jalakrida Ekadashi. Ekadasi fast is considered highly pious and is assumed to …
This page provides you the most shubh, auspicious time for Apara Ekadashi Vrat, fasting date and Parana time in year 2043 for Ujjain, Madhya Pradesh, India.
Apr 22, 2015 – This vrat is also known by other names such as Jayestha Krishna Ekadashi, Achala Ekadashi, Bhadrakali Ekadashi and Jalakrida Ekadashi.
Jul 7, 2009 – Jalakrida Ekadashi or Jalkrida Ekadasi – Jyeshta Ekadasi dedicated to Lord Jagannath.Jalakrida Ekadashi or Jalkrida Ekadasi – Jyeshta …
Jan 29, 2016 – list of ekadashi vrat upavas in the year 2016 and 2017. ekadashi fast dates and time, astrol, spiritual panchang, … JUNE, 1, Jala Krida Ekadashi.