From the web site:
LOCATION OF 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 DIETIES OF JAGANNATH TEMPLE:
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.
NOTE: This origin of the temple and the murtio in the temple is in skaND
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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
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"
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
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
19. Jamalagi Vesha
From Basanta Panchami to Dola Purnima, the deities wear modified Ghoda(Winter
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
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
HISTORY OF JAGANNATH TEMPLE:
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
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.
ADMINISTRATION OF JAGANNATH TEMPLE:
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
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
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
FESTIVAL CELEBRATED AT JAGANNATH
There are festivals celebrated at the temple all throughout the
Chandan yatra - chaitra Masarambha
Sneha yatra - Jyestha Paurnima
Rath yatra - shravan shukla
Jhulan yatra - Dashami to chaturdashi , Karkat or dakshinayana
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
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
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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