Posted by Vishva News Reporter on February 6, 2005

800 Year Old
Jagannath Temple
Uses 365 Different Rice Varieties for
 Daily Offerings to Jagannath (Creator of the World)

Source: IANS: MSN INDIAN NEWS : Lucknow, Feb 4:

Did you know that development of newer rice varieties was to meet the needs of Orissa's famous Jagannath temple that uses a different variety for its rituals every day?

Or that a sandalwood-turmeric 'tika' type of rice originates in the belief that it will soothe the mind?

Giving various instances to stress that most veDik rituals have a scientific background were delegates at a workshop at the National Botanical Research Institute (NBRI) here.

Referring to the Jagannath temple in Orissa's Puri town using different rice 365 days a year, Sri Lankan botanist Balkrishna Pashupati said: "I have sufficient reason to believe that many varieties of rice were developed essentially to fulfill the daily ritual at the famous temple." "And that was the reason a large number of villages in Orissa and around specialized in producing at least one of these varieties of rice," he told a workshop on biodiversity research.

Added NBRI director P. Pushpangadan:

  • "There are several such examples of temples in India where plants or trees have been associated with religious rituals so their scientific properties would continue to benefit mankind for all times to come."

  • He gave the example of people worshipping the tulsi plant and the peepul tree that have medicinal properties.

  • Talking about the turmeric-sandalwood tika put on devotees at various Hindu temples he said: "It penetrates the skin to provide a soothing effect to the mind."

"NBRI scientists are currently engaged in research about the efficacy of several other herbs and plants mentioned in ancient scriptures like the Vedas." Translated versions of the Veda scriptures are being made available to the research team, which also includes Sanskrit scholars.





Image Source: AFP
Orissa's famous Jagannath temple



Famous Jagannath Rath YaaTRaa Celebration

Please click on the next line to learn about the veDik roots and history of the 800 year old Jagannath temple....TO EMPOWER YOU TO PERFORM A yaaTRaa TO THIS VERY HOLY TEMPLE IN YOUR LIFE TIME......and if YOU know the origin of the temple and its murtio from veDik texts such as puraaANo please share this knowledge on this PVAF web site as indicated in the information below.......

From the web site: Jagannath Temple:


  • Nestling on the eastern coast along the blue waters of the Bay of Bengal the unique State of Orissa offers to her guests a 'tourism capsule' containing magnificent temples, sunny beaches, colourful wildlife, traditional tribal culture and a rich heritage.

  • To her credit, it has housed the important pilgrimage center for the Hindus - Puri, the 13th century magic carved on sand stone - Konark, the largest brackish water lake of the continent - Chilika, the wonder greenland of the white tigers - Nandankanan, and many more caves, Chaityas, Stupas. temples, forts and palaces. Statistics suggests,most of the visitors frequent this place for Lord Jagannath and the blue bay.

  • While several temples have vanished or have declined in importance, the great temple of Lord Jagannath at Puri is still a living and vibrant temple. Over the centuries it has attracted kings, conquerers, religious teachers, devotees and pilgrims. In the minds of the millions of Indians, Orissa is the land of Jagannath. This temple of Lord Jagannath ('Lord of the Universe') at Puri is one of the most sacred pilgrimage spots in India, one of the four abodes (dhamas) of the divine that lie on the four directions of the compass.


  • The deities of the Puri temple are generally known as the Trimurti(Trinity) though, to the scholars, they are Chaturdhaa murtis (or images, 4 in number).

  •  Some think that originally there was only Jagannath as the object of worship and when Neela Madhava disappeared, King Indradyumna fabricated the body of Jagannath out of a log of wood that was picked up from the sea, as per a divine direction received by the King. Scholars holding the view that originally the Present-day Trinity was not there, cite the example of a Temple found in the Cuttack District in Orissa (belonging perhaps to the seventh century A.D.) where the images only of Jagannath and Balabhadra have been carved and Subhadra is not to be seen there. (PVAF NOTE: This origin of the temple and the murtio in the temple is in skaND puraaAN. PVAF invites YOU to share this knowledge on this news posting....simply click on the POST A COMMENT button in the header of this news items and write away....)

  • It is, therefore, believed that when there was a great resurgence of Saktism from the 7th century onwards, there was a successful attempt to install an image of the Mother Goddess (Durga or Sakti) in the Puri Temple by the side of Jagannath.

  •  According to some others, installation of the image of Durga or Sakti (who is also known as Bhadraa, Mangalaa etc.)
     might have taken place during the visit of Sankaraachaarya to Puri.

  • In the Konarka Temple built in the 13th century A.D. (about a century later than the Puri Temple), there is a panel of three images. Jagannath is seen in the middle and to His left is the Mother Goddess, while to His right is a Linga (phallus). From this, it is deduced by some that this might have been the “Trio” of the Puri Temple, indicating the equal importance of Vaishnavism, Saktism and Saivism.

  • There is another hypothesis that Bhadraa or Mangalaa (Durga) came to be called as Subhadra and at the time of Vaishnavite preponderance, she was introduced as Srikrishna’s sister, whose name also is Subhadra.

  • Similarly one of the names of Lord Siva is Veerabhadra. Somehow, at a time of Vaishnavic efflorescence, He was transformed into Balabhadra. (The second half of this name i.e., ‘Bhadra’ was retained and the first half was substituted by Bala). When HE was thus called Balabhadra, He, was introduced as the elder brother of Sri Krishna.

  • The Deities are adorned with cotton and silk fabrics, Gold Ornaments studded with precious stones, flowers of different varieties, Tulsi leaves, sandal paste, camphor. These articles are used in the daily and periodical rituals. Some important Veshas or costumes of the deities are mentioned below.

    1. Abakasha (Tadapa uttari) Vesha

    This Vesha is done everyday after Mangal Aarati for the Abakash rituals. The clothes which are worn by the deities for this purpose are known as "Tadapa" and "Uttariya".

    2. Sadha Vesha

    This Vesha are the normal costumes of deities which they wear five times in a day, especially after each food offering. This Vesha comprises silken clothes and flower garlands.

    3. Bada Sringar Vesha

    This the last Vesha of the deities done everyday before the night "Pahuda". Bada Sringar Vesha is mostly of flowers of different colours and species. The deities wear silk clothes called 'Khandua'.

    4. Chandan Vesha

    This vesha is done for 42 days starting from Akshayya Tritiya day.

    5. Ganapati or Hathi vesha

    On the full moon day in the month of Jyestha, after the bathing ceremony is over, the deities are dressed like elephants. Lord Jagannath and Lord Balabhadra appear like Ganesh(the Elephant God).

    6. Suna(gold) vesha

    On the 11th day in the bright fortnight of Ashada, Suna Vesha takes place, when the deities are in their respective chariots near the Lion's gate of Sree Jagannath temple. The deities are decorated with many gold ornaments. This vesha is also known as 'Bada Tadhau' vesha and Raja Vesha is also done on Dashahara, Kartik Purnima,Pousha purnima and Dola purnima.

    7. Banabhoji Vesha

    It is done on the 10th day of the dark fortnight of Bhadraba. The deities are dressed as if going for a picnic, like cowherd boys.

    8. Kaliyadalana Vesha

    On the 11th day of the dark fortnight of Bhadraba, Lord JAGANNATH is dressed like Lord Krishna killing the Kaliya Serpent.

    9. Pralambasura Badha Vesha

    It is done on the 12th day of the dark fortnight of Bhadraba(September), Lord Balabhadra's killing of the demon Pralambasura is depicted in this Vesha.

    10. Krishna Balarama Vesha

    This Vesha is done on the 13th day of the dark fortnight of Bhadraba. Lord Jagannath and Balabhadra are dressed like Lord Krishna and Balaram.

    11. Bali Baman Vesha

    On the 12th day of the bright fortnight of Bhadraba, Lord Jagannath is dressed like "Bamana"(dwarf). Bamana is the fifth incarnation of Lord Vishnu.

    12. Radha-Damodara Vesha From the 11th day of the bright fortnight of Ashwina to the 10th day of the bright fortnight of Kartika, this vesha takes place.

    13. Thiakia(Laxmi-Narayan) Vesha

    It is done on the 11th day of the bright fortnight of Kartika.

    14. Bankachula Vesha

    It is done on the 12th day of the bright fortnight of Kartika.

    15. Adakia(Tribikrama) Vesha

    This is done on the 13th day of the bright fortnight of Kartika.

    16. Dalikia Vesha

    On the 14th day of the bright fortnight of Kartika, this is also known as Laxmi-Nrisimha Vesha.

    17. Nagarjuna Vesha

    This vesha is occasionally done in the month of Kartika, when there are six days of "Panchaka". The lords are dressed like warriors. In the recent past, this besha has been done on 16.11.1994. The previous four dates were 26.11.1993, 3.11.1968, 16.11.1967 and 26.11.1966.

    18. Ghodalagi Vesha

    During the period from the 6th day of the bright fortnight of Margasira to the 5th day of the bright fortnight of Magha(Basanta Panchami), the deities wear winter clothes.

    19. Jamalagi Vesha

    From Basanta Panchami to Dola Purnima, the deities wear modified Ghoda(Winter dress).

    20. Padma Vesha

    This vesha is done on any saturday or Wednesday between the new moon day of Magha and Basanta Panchami. "Padma" means lotus. The dress materials made of lotus, "Sola" lace and paper,gum etc.

    21. Gaja Uddharana Vesha

    This Vesha is done on the full moon day of Magha. This Vesha depicts a story in the puranas as to how Lord Vishnu saved an elephant from the attack of an Alligator.

    Besides these, there are other veshas like Shradha and Chacheri veshas are done in the month of Margasira and Falguna respectively. The sevaks of temple who dress the deities with clothing


  • The celebrated Temple of Lord Jagannath now existent at Puri was constructed by Raja Ananta Varman Chodaganga Dev in 12th century A.D.

  • The wooden images of Jagannath Balabhadra and Subhadra were installed in that temple.

  • The management of the temple continued under the Hindu rulers till 1558, when the State of Orissa was conquered by the Afghan Nawab of Bengal and the temple was attacked by the Afgan General ‘Kalapahad’. Then, an independent Khurda kingdom was established by Ramachandra Deb, who assumed the management of the temple. He consecrated the temple and reinstalled the deities.

  • Raja Mansingh, a General of the Mughal King Akbar, defeated the Afghans and annexed Orissa in to the Mughal dominion. It remained under the Mughals till 1751 A.D. Till 1760, the temple continued under the Khurda Raja, who was paying tribute to Mughals and Marhattas. Marhattas took up direct management of the temple till 1803.

  • The Britishers annexed Orissa into British empire in 1803 and allowed Puri Raja to manage the temple. The position continued till 1947.


  • Since the year of construction of the present Jagannath temple, the kings of Orissa were it's Chief patron.

  • It was under King Anangabhima III(1211-1238 AD), Lord Purusottama Jagannath became the State Deity of the Ganga empire. Like Ganga kings, the kings of the succeeding Surya dynasty made extensive endowments in land and jewelleries for the Deities.

  • The temple flourished under patronage of the independent kings of Orissa till the death of Mukunda Deva, the last independent King of Orissa in 1568 A.D.

  • The system of worship of the Deities and rituals in their present form, have an unbroken tradition over 800 years. Thus maintenance and administration of this great temple is like maintaining a small state within a big state.

  • The foundation of a sound administrative system was laid by the Gajapati King for smooth management of the temple. During the British Rule, the Raja of Puri was appointed as RajaSuperintendent to manage the temple administration. With a view to get better administrative system, the State Government passed " The Puri Shri Jagannath Temple (Administration) Act, 1952 " with provisions to prepare the Record of Rights and duties of Sevayats and such other persons connected with the system of worship and management of the temple. Subsequently a special act known as " Shri Jagannath Temple Act - 1955 " was enacted to reorganise the scheme of management of the affair of the temple and its properties. The Act brought in to force with effect from 27.12.1960. In terms of the provision of this act the management,administration and governance of the temple vests in a committee known as "Shri Jagannath Temple managing committee which consists of the following :

    1. Gajapati Maharaja of Puri – Chairman

    2. Collector and D.M.,Puri - Vice-Chairman

    3. Administrator,Shri Jagannath Temple - Ex-officio-Member

    4. Commissioner of Endowments - Ex -officio-member

    5. One person to be nominated by the State Government from among the persons entitled to sit on the Muktimandap - Member

    6. Four persons to be nominated by the State Government from among the sevaks of the temple - Members

    7. One person representing the Mathas and other institutions connected with the Seva Puja or Nities of the temple to be nominated by the State Government.

    8. Two persons to be nominated by State Government From among Persons who do not belong to any of the categories i.e. 5,6,and 7 - Member



There are festivals celebrated at the temple all throughout the year.

  • Chandan yatra - chaitra Masarambha

  • Sneha yatra - Jyestha Paurnima

  • Rath yatra - shravan shukla

  • Jhulan yatra - Dashami to chaturdashi , Karkat or dakshinayana sankranti

  • Chitalagi amabashya - Shravana

  • Rahurekha lagi - Bhadraba, Krishnana janma

  • Saptapuri amabashya - Bhadraba

  • Ganesh chaturthi - Bhadraba

  • Rishi Panchami - Bhadraba 5th day

  • Radhastami - Bhadraba - 8th day

  • Parswava Parivartan - bhadraba 11th day

  • Bamam janma or sunia - bhadraba - 12thday

  • Anant chaturdashi - 1st sep bhadraba,14th day

  • Indra govinda puja - 2nd sep bhadraba full moon day

  • Sahasra kumbha mela - ashwina 8th day

  • Dasahara - ashwina

  • Kumar purnima - ashwina

  • Dola Yatra: This is Celebrated from the tenth day of the bright fortnight of Falguna up to the full moon day. The representative deities Dologobinda, Bhudevi and Sreedevi are taken in a procession to Dolabedi located outside the outer compound wall of the main Temple and special rites are performed.

  • Chandan Yatra: This takes place in the month of Vaisaksha and continues for 42 days. But, generaly speaking and for the piligrims and visitors, it is a Festival of 21 day only. The first period known as "Bahar Chandan" or outer Chandan. During this period, the representative images of Rama, Krishna, Madanmohan, Laxmi and Biswadhatri at taken in a procession to Narendra tank. Also images of Siva from 5 Shiva Temples known as "Pancha Pandavas" accompany them in a Procession in the Narendra tank, the images play in well decorated boats and are worshipped. The second period of 21 days known as "Bhitar Chandana" is celebrated inside the Temple. The rites observed on this period are not popularly enjoyed.

  • Snana Yatra: This Festival takes place in the month of Jyeshtha. It is popularly known as the Deba Snana Purnima. This is the first occasion in the course of an year when the deities; Jagannath, Balabhadra, Subhadra along with Sudarshan and Madanmohan are brought out from the Temple and taken in procession to Snana Bedi located in the NorthEastern corner of the outer compound. The deities are bathed there with 108 pitchers of water from a well near the Northen Gate. Here, Jagannath and Balabhadra are dressed like Lord Ganesh of the purans with the head of an elephant.

  • Rath Yatra: The most splendid of the innumerable festivals celebrated round the year in the holy city of Puri, the Ratha Yatra is the grand culmination of a series of celebrations spread over the summer and the monsoon month. Akshayya Tritiya tithi marks the beginning of the construction of the Rathas(chariots) for them ceremonial journey and sojourn of Lord Jagannath, Balabhadra and Subhadra at the Gundicha temple for a week.

    • On the full-moon day of the month of Jyestha (May-June) in the Snana Yatra, the Bathing Festival, when the three deities move in colourful processions to a platform in the outer enclosure of the temple, the Snana Vedi, the bathing platform, where they bathe with one hundred and eight pitchers of perfumed water drawn from a temple well once a year. After the ritual bath, the deities assume the special elephant form, recalling the legend of the Lord's affection for a devotee, whom He proved that he was in fact another manifestation of Lord Ganesha. At the end of the Snana Yatra day, the holy triad, supposedly afflicted with fever, do not return to their pedestal in the sanctum. They stay away from the public view for a period of fifteen days, called Anasara, after which they appear in their Navayauvana Vesha, literally a renewed youth, on the new moon day of the Month of Ashadha.

    • During this fortnight the icons get a fresh coat of painting which gets washed out on the day of the Bathing Festival. During this period the Sevakas, temple servants, also symbolically convalesce with the deities and eat only fruits and other restricted diet. Cloth paintings, representing the deities called Anasara Pati, are displayed beyond the enclosers hiding the deities for the devotees to see and worship.

    • Finally comes the Ratha Yatra on the second day of the bright fortnight of the month Of Ashadha when the three deities, come out of the temple in a spectacular procession called pahandi. The deities, colossal wooden statues, adorned with giant floral crowns, called Tahias, are literally pulled, pushed and dragged in rhythmic movement to the accompaniment of the beat of cymbals, drums and chanting of their names in chorus by devotees in frenzied ecstasy. After all the deities are seated in their respective chariots starts the Chhera Pamhara the ritual sweeping of the chariots with a golden broom by the Gajapati King of Puri,the foremost servant of God, the Adya sevaka of Lord Jagannath. The King comes from his palace on a richly palanquin. Chhera Pamhara on is symbolic rite which proclaims that the King like others is but an humble servant of the real sovereign, Lord Jagannath.

    • The most exciting part of the Rath yatra is the pulling of chariots by thousands of people who lay their hands on the sturdy ropes and drag the massive structures along the Bada-Danda, the grand road. The Chariot of Balabhadra moves first, followed by those of Subhadra and Jagannath. The chariots grind forward slowly until they reach the Gundicha temple where the three detities rest for a night on their own chariots, adorned with the Dasavatara costumes. They enter the Gundicha temple on the next day in the usual Pahandi style and stay there for seven days. Goddess Laxmi,who gets angry for being left out at the temple, proceeds to the Gundicha temple to meet her Lord, Jagannath, on the Hera Panchami day, the fifth day from the Ratha Yatra. After having a stealthy look at her Lord, she returns to the temple,damaging a part of Jagannath's chariot in anger and disgust. The deities, after a seven-day stay at Gundicha temple, their garden house, commence their return journey, the Bahuda Yatra, On the tenth day of bright fortnight of Ashadha. The return of the chariots takes place in the same order as in the rath yatra. Balabhadra chariot moves first, followed by those of Subhadra and jagannath. On his way back, Jagannath stops for a while at Ardhasini temple, popularly called Mausi Ma temple of the temple of Aunt. He accept from the aunt His favourite rice cake,Poda Pitha.

    • The three chariots pulled by thousands of devotees, reach back the Simhadwara in the late afternoon of the Bahuda day and deities remain seated on their chariots. On the next day the Bada Ekadasi, the three deities, are attired in costumes of glittering gold and are worshipped by thousands of devotees. This form of the deities is known as the famous Suna Vesa. On the Dwadasi day, the three deities go back to their original place, the Ratna simhasana, literally the jewelled platform,with theusual fanfare and the Pahandi style.

    • Their arrival in to the Sanctum sanctorum marks the end of the Ratha Yatra the grand festival of Chariot.

    • The three Chariots of Balabhadra,Subhadra and Jagannath are constructed each year with Sal wood, customarily brought from the ex-princely State of Dasapalla, by a specialist team of carpenters who have hereditary rights for this. Lord Jagannth's Chariot is called Nandighosha. It is forty-five feet square at the wheel level. It has sixteen wheels, each of seven feet diameter, and is decked with red and yellow covering of cloth. The Chariot of Lord Balabhadra, called the Taladhwaja, has fourteen wheels, each of seven feet diameter, and is covered with red and blue cloth. Its height is forty-four feet. The Chariot of Subhadra, known as darpadalan is forty-three feet high with twelve wheels, each of seven feet diameter. This Chariot is decked with the coverings of red and black cloth. Around each of the Chariots are nine Parsvadevatas, the guardian deities and four horses. Each chariot has a Charioteer called Sarathi. Matali, Daruka and Arjuna are the three charioteers attached respectively to the three Chariots of Jagannath,Balabhadra and Subhadra.

    • Carpenters who excel in woodcarving still produce these chariots for the car festival, and also carve ornate images of deities upon them. While on the other hand applique work can be seen during processions of the deities in their various ritual outings. Items like Chhati, Tarasa and Chandua are used for the purpose. However, the applique work in its colourful best is most prominent in the cloth cover of the three chariots of the presiding deities in which they travel every year during the Ratha yatra. As per tradition, the colour scheme of the three covers is predetermined.

    •  The chariot of Balabhadra known as Taladhawaja has a cloth covering of bright green and red color, while that of Subhadra known as Padmadhwaja or Darpadalana has a cover of bright red and black. The chariot of Lord Jagannath called Nandighosha has a cover of bright red and yellow. The basic design of all three is similar being a combination of narrow and wide stripes while on the four sides above the openings, there are applique mythical motifs like Rahu, Chandra as well as motifs from nature like flowers etc. It is these colourful applique covers which indentify the chariots of the three deities from far away by the millions of pilgrims thronging the Badadanda or the extrawide main road of Puri in which the lords make their annual sojourn in the car festival. Seats and pillows in applique are also made for ceremonial use by the deities during the annual ritual of bathing festival (Snana Jatra) and is locally known as ‘Chakada Kama’ with motifs of 27 stars and geometrical forms in applique work with motifs of fish, frog etc. on black cloth is used in the ritual dress of the Deities of Puri temple, locally known as the ‘Gaja Uddharana Vesha’, incarnation of Rescuer of Elephant. Applique cover is also made for capparisoning the dummy horses in the ‘Horse Dance’ or Ghoda Nacha during Chaitra Festival in Puri and other places.

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