About Lord Jagannath .......

Puri the abode of Sri Jagannath or the Lord of the Universe is famous all over the world. The golden triangle of Puri, Konark and Bhubaneswar is too popular both with the domestic and foreign tourists. One of the four holiest places (Dhams) of India, Puri has been a great centre of pilgrimage for centuries Once on thickly wooded hills and inhabited by the Sabaras, pre Aryan and pre-Dravidian tribes of the Austric linguistic family, Puri located right on the shores of the Bay of Bengal, is today one of the finest sea resorts as well. Its salubrious environs and sunny beach attract tourists from near and distant places. Watching the sunrise here is an elevating and unforgettable experience. The place can be visited any time throughout the year. Puri is always thronged with pilgrims and tourists but it is nothing compared to the motley and seething humanity which sojourn here during Rath Yatra or the Car Festival. Puri, known as Shree jagannath Dham, a tirtha to the Hindu world,is also a Seaside Resort, resounding with ancient Vedic traditions symbolising and inter woven with the splendid Temple of Lord Jagannath- the epicentre of odissan culture. The origin and the antiquity of Jagannath worship at Puri is still shrounded in mystery.

    There are many important Tourist places located on the main road to Bhubaneswar, Konark and Satapada. These are main Tourist link destinations of Puri The so called Golden Triangle connects Bhubaneswar, Puri and Konark.

Legend of Jagannath

In the golden age, Indradyumna, King of Malwa, sent out Brahmans to seek for Vishnu, one of the whom, named Vidyapati, traveled through the jungle till he came to the country of the aboriginal Savars. There he dwelt in the house of a fowler, named Viswabasu, who was a servant of the god Jagannath, and went daily into the jungle to offer him fruits and flowers in secret. The Brahman won the confidence of Viswabasu, and the latter, as a proof of his friendship, showed him his god in the form of a blue stone image at the foot of a fig tree. But the god came not to Partake of the offering of Viswabasu. Only a voice was heard saying: “O faithful servant, I am wearied of thy jungle flower and fruits, and crave for cooked rice and sweetmeats. No longer shalt thou see me in the form of thy blue god. Here after I should be known as Jagannath, the Lord of the World.

The Brahman Vidyapati now returned to tell the king of his discovery. In joy at the good news, Indradyumna set out with a vast army, cut a road through the dense forest, and at length arrived at the holy spot, only to find that the blue image had disappeared; for the day the Brahman left, it had been miraculously caught up in a sand-storm. In bitter disappointment, the king performed certain penances, in order to propitiate the god, and then heard a voice from heaven saying that if he offered

a thousand ascamedha sacrifices, he would be blessed by the sight of Vishnu, in the shape not of the blue image, but of log with certain marks on it. Indradyumna performed the necessary sacrifices, and the god thereupon appeared in the form of a log floating in the sea. This was brought to land and installed with great ceremony in the enclosure in which he had performed the asvamedha sacrifices (identified with the present site of Jagannath’s garden house).

The king then gathered together all the carpenters in his country, and ordered them to fashion the log into an image of Jagannath. But when they put their chisels on the wood, the iron lost its edge; and when they struck them with their mallets, the mallets missed and crushed their hands. At last, Vishnu came down in the form of an aged carpenter and offered to make an image of the log, if he was shut up alone with it for 15 days. At the end of the allotted time Indradyumna found

that the carpenter had disappeared and had left three images( of Jagannath and his brother and sister) fashioned from the waist upwards, Jagannath and his brother having only stumps for arms, while his sister had none at all :- even so they remain to this day. Indradyumna built a temple 100 cubits high for their reception, and then, as Brahma alone could consecrate the images and shrine, went to heaven to bring him down to earth. Brahma came in a moment, but with Brahma a moment lasts for many ages of mortal life; and in the meantime a new king ruled over the land. This king, learning that Indradyumna claimed the temple, prepared to resist him with armed force, but was soon reconciled when Indradyumna assured him of his peaceful purpose. The images were then brought down in cars to the temple, placed on a throne, and consecrate by Brahma.


Jagannath Temple


Architectural Features of the Jagannath Temple

The sacred city of Puri, in the Indian Province of Orissa, is best known throughout the world for its great temple of Lord Jagannath. The extraordinary sanctity of the Ksetra is reflected in the Puranas and other religious texts of India. The Vishnu Purana mentions Purusottama as the abode of Vishnu, while the Vamana Purana refers to the supreme Purusottama in connection with the tirtha yatra of Prahlada. Even today, Puri the seat of Vishnu as Jagannath (Lord of the universe), is an important centre of Hindu pilgrimage in India and for millions of people. Orissa is the Lord of Jagannath. The celebrated temple of Jagannatha occupies a pivotal position in the religious history of Orissa. On the basis of the traditions recorded in the Madala Panji, the palm-leaf chronical of Jagannath temple, the construction of the temple is attributed to Anangabhimadeva of the Ganga dynasty. A floating verse of uncertain origin, recorded in the Kataka Rajavamsavali asserts that the temple was erected by

The inscriptions of Ganga rulers, however, attribute the construction of the temple to Anantavarman Chodagangadeva (A.D. 1078-1147) though in his own inscription discovered so far, there is no reference to this. The copper plate charters of his successors, beginning from Raja raja III credit Chodagangadeva for this achievement. The English translation of the earliest reference of the construction, found in the Dasagoba charter dated A.D. 1198, is given below:
“What King is competent enough to construct a temple for Purusottama, whose feet represents the earth; the navel, the aerial region; the ears, all the directions; the two eyes, the sun and the moon; and the skull, the sky ? This (temple), neglected by the previous Kings, was built by Gangesvara”. Thus from the dynastic records it is evident that the temple of Purusottama (Prasadam Purusottamasay), which is no doubt, the present temple of Jagannath was built by Gangesvara or Anantavarman Chodaganga. The exact date of construction is; however, not known. Chodaganga conquered Orissa around 1108 and he is known to have ruled up to A.D. 1147. The earliest inscription of Chodagangadeva (1035 Saka i.e., A.D. 1113) on the Narasimha temple, in the premises of Jagannath temple would make us believe that by this time the construction of the Jagannath temple must have been in progress.

Being situated quite close to the Jagannath temple, the Narasimha temple could not have existed at the time of the excavations of the foundations of the massive temple of Jagannatha. It is possible that the building of the temple started in the Somvamsi period itself when the foundations were laid but the temple proper was not erected. The building activities were neglected by earlier kings until the victorious king Chodaganga again started building this temple. One inscription dated in Saka 1035 (A.D. 1113) refers to Chodaganga as Prabhorbhritaya who dedicated his wealth to Sri Purusottama.

There are several inscriptions of Chodagangadeva on the Narasimha temple, ranging in date from A.D. 1113 to A.D. 1136, which refers to gifts of perpetual lamps to God Purusottama. Even one inscription records the gift of some nishkas by a florist (malakara) named Jayaraja to Purusotama, Balabhadra and Subhadra, thereby attesting the worship of the Trinity during the time of Chodagangadeva. It is also significant that on this temple we find inscriptions belonging to the time of Kamarnava and Raja raja. This would suggest that during the construction of the new temple Purusottama, Jagannath was worshipped in the Narasimha temple.

The earliest reference to the Temple of Purusottama in the Dassgoba Charter would make us believe that, in any case the date of temple cannot be later than A.D. 1198. One must, however, admit that God Purusottama was worshipped in the Narasimha temple.The earliest reference to the temple of Purusottama in the Dasagoba charter would make us believe that in any case, the date of the temple cannot be later than A.D. 1198. One must however, admit that God Purusottama was worshipped in the Odradesa long before Chodaganga conquered it and constructed a grand temple in his honour.

The reference to the abode of God Purusottama is found in the Anargharaghava of Murari (C.A.D. 900), Prabodha Candrodaya of Krishna misra (11th Century) and in the Saradadevi temple inscription (middle of 10th century A.D.) in Maihar, Madhya Pradesh. The Jagannath temple as it stands today with two lines of enclosures consists of deula, jagamohana, natamandaira and bhogamandapa. Of these the last two structures appear to have been subsequent additions. According to the tradition of the Madala Panji, the outer prakara was built by Kapilendradeva (A.D. 1435-1469). The inners prakara, called Kurma bedha was built by Purusottamadeva A.D. 1467-1497), who also constructed the bhogamandapa of the temple. Over the centuries, subsidiary sanctuaries were built, the existing ones were repaired and renovated.

The pidha temple over the western entrance was repaired with the donations of Stambha, now in front of the eastern Simhadvara was brought from Konark in the later half of the 18th century.

The main temple of Sri Jaggannath standing on a raised platform and soaring to a height of 65 metres, dominates the landscapes for miles around. Contemporaneous with the Lingaraj Temple of Bhubaneswar, The Puri temple is the result of the same mature Orissan style of architecture, but is greater in height. It was built in the 12th century A.D by Chodaganga Deva. With all its sculptural richness and plasticity of Orissan style of temple architecture; it becomes one of the most magnificent monuments of India.

The shrine is surrounded by a 20 feet high enclosure measuring 652 feet by 630 feet.Then there is another enclosure around the temple . In front of the main gate is a majestic 16 sided monolithic pillar measuring 11 meters in height .Originally it stood in front of the famous Sun Temple at Konark and was brought here in the 18th century .The main gate is guarded by two lions and so it is known as the Simha Dwara or the Lion Gate.

There is no caste distinction and all are welcome before the Lord Jaggannath but non-hindus are not allowed inside the shrine. They can have a fair view of the inside of the temple from the nearby roof of the Raghunandan library, opposite the main gate of the shrine. The temple kitchen is said to be the biggest in the world feeding thousands of devotees daily with, its holy food called the Mahaprasad. The temple in itself is an extraordinary world consisting of thousands of different categories of priests, their assistants attendants and pilgrim guides. This huge army of over 6000 priests etc., and 14000 other employees waiting on Lord Jaggannath is headed by the Raja of Puri. He alone has the privilege of sweeping before the, Chariots and to carry Lord Jaggannath's umbrella. In the Garbhagriha or sanctum sanctorum there are a strange archaic type of wooden images of Sri Jaggannath, his sister Subhadra and brother Balbhadra. Sister Subhadra is in between the two brothers and smaller in size. There are amny votive shrines and other temples such as Gundicha, Loknath, Sunar, Gauranga, Daria Mahabir, Tota Gopinath and Patiarni.

Puri offers a number of colourful fairs and festivals such as Chandan Yatra, Snan Yatra (Bath festival), Ganesh Puja, etc., but it is the Car Festival, an annual sojourn of the three deities riding their lofty chariots to their respective huge cars--14 metres high, 10 metres square and supported on 16 giant wheels, each over two metres in diametre that marks the climax. These chariots or Rathas are pulled along the Bada Danda or the Grand Road by lakhs of devotees to Gundicha temple over a kilometre. At Gundicha the deities take new apparels every day and after a lapse of 8 days return to the main shrine riding the same Rathas. At the termination of the Yatra, the cars are broken up into pieces and religious relics are made from them. Thus, every year new chariots are built. The images of the dieties are also disposed of at intervals of 8 to 19 years, depending on astrological calculations, and new images are installed as prescribed in the religious text. The Rath Yatra symbolizes Krishna's departure to Mathura from Gokul.

The English word " Juggernaut " is obviously derived from this Car Festival. In ancient days some devotees would throw themselves beneath the wheels of the Chariot of Jagannath in the belief that such an act of piety involving Lord's blessings would send them straight to heaven.

Puri is 65 kms by road from Bhubaneswar and regular bus services both in public and private sector operate to and from various places including Bhubaneswar. From Bhubaneswar to Puri it takes roughly 1.30 hours . Taxis can also be hired. There are regular bus links with Calcutta, Raipur, Tatanagar, Ranchi, Visakhapatnam and Durgapur. From konark and Cuttack also there are frequent regular buses. Puri is a railway terminus on South-Eastern Railway and Bhubaneswar is the nearest airport.

There are a number of hotels, lodges, dharmashalas and youth hostel and Panthnivas, most of them along the beach. The wide range of accommodation make it convenient for the tourists to choose according to their pockets and likings. The budget class hotels are to be found generally at the norther end of the beach. The Dharmshalas charge a nominal tariff of Rs 2 to 3 per head per day. Some of the hotels include Panthanivas , Youth Hostel , S E Rly Hotel, Chakrathirtha Road, Puri Hotel, Sagarika Hotel, Victoria Club Hotel, Bay view Hotel. The Dharmashalas are on the Grand Road or at Dolavedi.


The present temple is a rekha deula with curviliner tower on a Pancha Ratha plan.It was built
by Ananta Barma Chodaganga Dev during 12th century A.D and was completed by his grandson Ananga Bhima Dev.This temple is one of the tallest monument in the country,the height  of which is about 214 feet from the ground level. It stands on an elevated platform of stone measuring about 10 acres, located in the heart of the town and presents an imposing sight.The temple is bounded by two enclosures.The inner enclosure is 400' x 278 'size and known as Kurma Bedha. The outer enclosure is of 665' x 644' size with the height varying from 20 ' to 24 ' is and popularly known as Meghanad Prachir. The temple has four gates at the eastern, southern,western, and northen midpoints of the Meghanad Prachir and are called Lions gate,Horse Gate , Tiger Gate and the Elephant Gate respectively. The temple has got four halls in a row such as Viman (main temple where Lord Jagannath is worshipped with brother Balabhadra, sister Subhadra and Sudarshan), Jagamohan (Audience hall ), Natamandap (Dance hall ) and the Bhoga Mandap (offering hall ).

The Deities

Lord Jagannath, the symbol of universal love and brotherhood is worshipped in the Temple alongwith Balabhadra, Subhadra,Sudarshan, Madhaba, Sridevi and Bhudevi on the Ratnabedi or the bejewelled platform. The Deities of Lord Jagannath, Balabhadra, Subhadra and Chakra Sudarshan are made of margosa wood. Lord balabhadra is the elder brother, Lord Jagannath is Younger brother and devi subhadra is yougest sister . When one lunar month of Ashadha is followed by another lunar month of Aashadha, the deities change their bodies during the leap month.This is known as
Navakalebar or New Body Ceremony. Last four new body ceremonies of the Lords was celebrated in the year 1950, 1969, 1977 and 1996. On such occasions Puri witnesses the largest crowd in her fold.


Legendary account as found in the Skanda-Purana, Brahma Purana and other Puranas and later oriya works state that Lord Jagannath was originally worshipped as Neela madhab by a Savar king ( tribal chief ) named Viswavasu. Having heard about the deity , king Indradyumna sent a Brahmin priest, Vidyapati to locate the deity, who was worshipped secretely in a dense forest by Viswavasu. Vidyapati tried his best but could not locate the place. But at last he managed to marry Viswavasu's daughter Lalita . At repeated request of Vidyapti, Viswavasu took his son-in-law blind folded to a cave where Neelamadhab was worshipped. Vidyapati was very intelligent. He dropped mustard seeds on the ground on the way. The seeds germinated after a few days,which enabled him to find out the cave later on. On hearing from him ,
king Indradyumna proceeded immediately to Odra desha ( Orissa ) on a pilgrimage to see and worship the Deity. But the deity had disappeared .The king was disappointed .The Deity was hidden in sand. The king was determined not to return without having a darshan of the deity and observed fast unto death at Mount Neela, Then a celestial voice cried 'thou shalt see him '. Afterwards the king performed a horse sacrifice and built a magnificient temple for Vishnu. Narasingha Murti brought by Narada was installed in the temple.During sleep,the king had a vision of Lord Jagannath. Also an astral voice directed him to receive the fragrant tree on the seashore and make idols out of it. Accordingly the king got the image of Lord Jagannath,Balabhadra , Subhadra and Chakra Sudarshan Made out of the wood of  the said tree and installed them in the temple. Indradyumna's prayer to Lord Brahma King Indardyumna put up for Jagannath the tallest monument of the world. It was 1,000 cubits high. He invited Lord Brahma,  the cosmic creator,consecrate the temple and the images. Brahma came all the way from Heaven for this purpose. Seeing the temple he was immensely pleased with him. He asked him as to in what way can HE (Brahma ) fulfil his (the king's ) desire,since HE was very much pleased with him for his having put the most beautiful Temple for Lord Vishnu.With folded hands, Indradyumna said , " My Lord if you are really pleased with me, kindly bless mewith one thing, and it is that I should be issueless and that I should be the last member of my family."In case anybody left alive after him,he would only take pride as the owner of the
temple and would not work for the society." The episode of the Lord's grace during a war with Kanchi.

At one time, a king of Kanchi in the down south remarked that the king of Orissa was a chandala ( a man of very low caste or status) because, he performs the duties of a sweeper during the Car Festival . When this news reached the ears of the king of Orissa, he led an expedition to Kanchi. Before that, he implored the mercy of Lord Jagannath. The soldiers of Orissa marched towards Kanchi from Cuttack ( then capital city of Orissa, located on the banks of Mahanadi, at a distance of 30 Kms.from Bhubaneswar ).It so happened that when the soldiers, headed by the king Purusottam Dev, reached a place near the Chilika lake, a lady ,who was selling curd ( a milk preparation, sour in taste ) met him ( the king ) and presented a golden ring studded with precious gems and submitted . " My Lord, kindly listen to me. A little
earlier, two soldiers riding over two horses ( white and black in colour ), approached me and said ' 'we are thirsty give us curds to drink.' I gave them curds. Instead of giving me money , they gave me this ring and said ,'the king of Orissa will come here, after some time , on his way to Kanchi. You present it to him and he will pay you the money.' So my Lord, you take it and give me my dues." It took no time for the king to  know that the ring belongs to Lord Jagannath. He was
convinced that Jagannath and Balabhadra were proceeding to the battle field ahead of him to help him there. To perpetuate the memory of this great incident, the king founded a village in the Chilika lake area. As the name of the lady was Manika, the name given to the village was Manika Patana .Even to this day, the curds of this village are famous.

1. "DWARPHITA & MANGAL ALATI " AT 5 A.M. (Opening of the door and morning prayer)

The door opens early in the morning in the presence of the five specific sevayats after verification of the "seal" given by a particular sevayat in the last night. Soon after the opening of the door, sacred lamps is offered to the deities which is called "Mangal Alati".

2. "MAILAM" AT 6 A.M.
" Mailam" is a word used in Shri Jagannath Temple,which means change or removal of dresses and flowers etc. At this time some specific sevaks change the clothes, flowers, Tulasi leaves of the deities worn on the previous night. After removal of colthes,the clothes known as "Tadap"and "Uttariya"are worn by the deities.

3. "ABAKASH" - 6 A.M. TO 6.30 A.M.
Purificatory rites like brushing of teeth and bath is known as "Abakash ". At this time Temple Jyotisha ( Astrologer ) reads out the tithi and other astrological details of the day and according to that, that very days rituals are performed.

4. " MAILAM" 6.45 A.M.
At this time deities change their clothes ( Tadap & Uttariya ) and wear another set of clothes. A sevak known as "Akhanda Mekap " keeps in the sanctum Akhanda Baitha i.e. one lamp which burns till " Pahuda " or the time of the retirement of the deities to bed.

5. "SAHANAMELA " - 7A.M. TO 8 A.M.
Though this is not a part of the rituals,but about one hour is spent to facilitate pilgrims to go up to "Ratnavedi " or inner sanctums to have a Darshan, without paying fees for it. On certain festive days, Sahanamela is held after " Sandhya dhupa " (Evening Puja or Sandhya Alati in the month of Kartik) and after Sakaldhupa ( in the month of Pausha ). Some times this darshan is not allowed for some special rituals of the deities.

6. " BESHALAGI " - 8 A.M.
After Sahanamela the deities are again dressed up which can be witnessed from a little distance i.e." Bhitara Katha ". At this time, Deities are also adorned with gold and precious stones to suit diffeerent festive occasions.

While some sevayats are busy with vesha lagi of the Deities, Pujapandas at that time perform " Rosha Homa "( Fire Sacrifice ) at the kitchen and " Surya puja " at the surya temple near "Mukti Mandap ". Then the images of two gate keepers named Jaya and Vijaya on the entrance of the Jagamohan of the Temple are worshipped.

(Breakfast of the God) The prescribed time is 9 A.M. This is the time for breakfast of the deities. At this time sweet
popcorn (Khei ), Khualadus, Coconuts sweets (Kora), Ripe banana, Curd, and chipped coconuts etc. are offered as bhogas. Puja is performed in a brief manner with pancha upachar only.

At this time puja is performed by three Pujapandas with 16 Upachars or Sodasha Upachars. Three Pujapandas used to sit on Ratnasinhasana to worship three deities Shri Balabhadra,Subhadra, and Lord Jagannath. The Pujapanda who worships Lord Jagannath also worships Sri Devi, Bhudevi,and Sudarshan. The morning bhoga or food offered to the deities contains Rice, Kanika, Khechudi, Green leaves, Cakes etc.. The local names of the Bhog are Pitha Puli,Hansakeli, Kanti, Enduri ,Matha Puli, Kakatua Jhili, Bundia, Kadali Bhaja, Ada Pachedi (ginger tonic ) etc.. The cost of the dhoop Pujas and Ballavs are borne by the Temple Administration.Previously Raja-Superintendent of the temple born the cost of materials for preparation of Bhoga. So these Bhogas are also called "Raja Bhoga "or "Kotha Bhoga".

After Morning Dhupa or Puja the Deities changed their Clothes " and again Puja takes places in "Bhoga Mandap ",a place behind the Garuda pillar of Jagamohan. Huge quantity of Bhogas such as Rice ,Dal,Curries,Saga and Cakes of different kinds etc.are offered to the Deities. Pujapandas worship this bhog with Pancha Upachars. The cost of Bhoga Mandap offerings are not borne by the state or Temple Administration. This bhoga is mainly prepared to meet the need of different Mathas ( Monasteries ) and for sale to the general public. According to the demand, Bhogamandap Puja is
made twice or thrice a day i.e. after " Madhyanha Dhoop" and "Sandhya Dhup " also.

11. MADHYANHA DHUPA (Afternoon food offering ) 11A.M. to 1 P.M.
Like Sakal Dhupa, this puja is also performed with Sodasa Upachar in the afternoon.The Bhoga items are more in number than that of Morning Dhupa. One can go near to the " Ratna Singhasan" for darshan by paying special Darshan fee @ Rs 10 /- after Madhynha Dhupa & Sakal Dhupa.

12. MADHYANHA PAHUDHA 1 P.M. to 1.30 P.M.
If rituals have been performed in time and if time permits, the Deities retire for the afternoon.
In the evening again sacred lamps are offered to the deities after Madhyana Dhupa Mailam. On Ekadasi day,the deities change their clothes and wear another sets after "Alati" is over.

14. SANDHYA DHUPA - 7 P.M. to 8 P.M.
After "Sandhya Alati" again Bhogas are offered to the deities in the same manner like Sakala and Madhyan Dhupa but this time Bhoga amount is less in quantity and number. After Puja again lamp offering is made which is called as "Jaya Mangala Alati".

After "Sandhya Dhoopa" deities changed their clothes and are annointed with Sandal paste mixed with champhor, keshar and Kasturi. One can witness this ritual by paying special Darsan fees.\

After Chandan lagi, deities are dressed with Baralagi Patta (silken robes on which some portions of Geeta Govinda of Jayadev are woven in to the texture of these robes) and flower ornaments.

This is the last bhoga of the day. Puja is offered With Pancha Upachar by the Puja Pandas with Pakhal(watered rice),Kadali bada,Kshiri ,Kanji etc.

The bedsteads of the deities are arranged. The Deity of "Sayan Thakura" is carried from Bhandarghar to Ratnavedi or Ratnasinghashana and place the deity near Lord Jagannath. Then follows offering of green cocoanut, betels and camphor alati and then deities retire to their beds. After sealing the doors by the Sevayat (Talichha Mohapatra). Temple is closed and no visitors or outsiders are allowed to remain inside. This is in brief the daily rituals observed in the Temple. It is generally not possible to follow the time prescribed for each ritual on account of various practical difficulties. On the specific festive day,additional rituals are performed. As a result, charges in timings and alterations in the routine rituals are made.

As indicated above during Sahanamela, the devotees can go up to the "Ratna Singhasana" and pray to Lords, free of cost. Besides the pilgrims can go up to "Ratna Singhasana" at certain times paying a nominal fee Rs.10/- ,which is known as "Parimanik Darshana". At other times the pilgrims can have their darshan from a little distance that is in "Jagamohan" and "Vitarakatha".

Every day 5 bhogas are offered to the Lords, these are "Gopala-Ballava"(Break fast), "Sakal Dhupa" "Madhyana Dhupa" "Sandhya Dhupa" and "Badasinghar Dhupa". The details of these Dhupas are given above in the rituals.

The Costumes (Veshas)  of  
  Lord Jagannath
             vesa1.jpg (9776 bytes)
      Trivikram Vesha 
      The  Deities  are adorned with cotton and silken
fabrics,  Gold Ornaments studded with precious  stones,
flowers of  different  varieties,  Tulasi  leaves  etc,
sandal paste,camphor   are  used  in   the  daily   and
periodical rituals.some important Veshas or costumes of
the deities are mentioned below.
1. Abakasha (Tadapa uttari) Vesha
               vesa2.jpg (14271 bytes)
        This  Vesha is done everyday after Mangal Alati
for the Abakash  rituals.The clothes which are worn  by
the deities  for this purpose are known as "Tadapa" and
2. Sadha Vesha
        This  Vesha  is the normal costumes of  deities
which they  wear five times in a day, especially  after
each food  offering.   This Vesha is done  with  silken
clothes and flower garlands.
3.  Bada Srungar Vesha
               vesa3.jpg (14830 bytes)
        This  the  last  Vesha  of  the  deities   done
everyday before the night "Pahuda".  Bada Srungar 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
Akshaya Trutiya day.
5. Ganapati or Hati 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 
                vesa4.jpg (16404 bytes)
        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  the
SHREE 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,Pousa purnima and Dola purnima.
7. Banabhoji Vesha 
        It  is  done  on  the  1oth  day  of  the  dark
fortnight  of Bhadraba.  The deities are dressed as  if
going to attend 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
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
12. Radha-Damodara Vesha 
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        From  the  11th day of the bright fortnight  of 
Ashwena 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
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        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-Nrusimha Vesha.
17. Nagarjuna Vesha     
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        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
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        This  Vesha  is  done on the full moon  day  of
Magha.  This Vesha depicts a story in the puranas as to
how lord Bishnu saved an elephant from the attack of an
        Besides, there are other veshas like Sradha and
Chacheri  veshas are done in the month of Margasira and
Falguna respectively.
        The sevaks of temple who dress the deities with
clothing   and  flowers  are   known  as  Puspalaks  or
Mahaprasad :
Four  hallowed  shrines   located  at  cardinal
points of    the     Indian      sub-continent     i.e.
Puri,Rameswar,Dwarika  and  Badrinath are  believed  to
have been  liked by Lord Vishnu intimately.  It is said
and believed  that  He  takes His bath  at  Rameswaram,
meditates  at  Badrinath,dines at Puri and  retires  at
Dwarika.It  is therefore,a lot of importance is given  to
the temple   food   "Mahaprasad"    (not  simply prasad) here at Puri.
        According  to  " Skanda Purana" Lord  Jagannath
redeems the  devotees by permitting them to partake his
Mahaprasad,to  have  His  darshan and to worship  him  by
Observing rituals and by offering  of gifts .Mahaprasad is  treated
here as 'Anna  Brahma'.  The temple kitchen has got the
capacity   to  cook  for  a   lakh  of  devotees  on  a
day.Mahaprasad  is  cooked  only in  earthen  pots  and
medium of  food  is fire wood only.   The  steam-cooked
food is offered  to  Lord Jagannath first and  then  to
Goddess Bimala  after which it becomes  Mahaprasad.This
Mahaprasad  is freely partaken by people of all  castes
and creeds without any discrimination.The items offered
include cooked    rice,     dal,    vegetable    curry,
sweet-dishes,  cakes  etc.    Dry  confectionaries  are
prepared  of sugar,gur,wheat flour,ghee,milk and cheese
        When  the steam cooked food is carried to  Lord
in slings  of earthen pots no flavour comes up from the
food but  when  the  same is carried back to  the  sale
point after being offered to the Lord a delicious smell
spells along  in the breeze to the pleasant surprise of
the devotees.Now the food is blessed.
        Mahaprasad  consolidates human  bond,sanctifies
sacraments  and  grooms  the  departing  soul  for  its
journey upwards.
        Mahaprasad  are  sold  in Anand  Bazar  or  the
Pleasure Mart  of  the temple which is situated  on  the
north east  corner  of  the   outer  enclosure  of  the
temple.It  is  the biggest open-air hotel in the  world
where every  day thousands of devotees purchase and eat
together forgetting their caste,creed and status.
        Most of the residents in and around Puri depend
upon this  Mahaprasad to entertain their guests  during
social functions such as threading and weddings.
        The  tourists prefer to carry a particular type
of dry Mahaprasad known as" Khaja" (made of maida,sugar
and ghee) which stays fresh for days together.
        Dried rice Mahaprasad known as “Nirmalya” is also used 
by devotees and tourists for different sacred occassions




 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.








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This  Takes place in the month of Vaisaksha and
continues for long 42 days.  But, generally speaking it is a 
Festival of  first 21 days only.The  first  period of 21 days is  
known as "Bahar  Chandan"or outer Chandan.   During this 
period,the  representative images of      Rama,Krushna,
Madanmohan,Sridevi and Bhudevi are  taken  in  a  
procession  to  Narendra tank.The  images of Siva from 5 
Siva Temples known  as "Pancha Pandavas" also accompany 
them  to the Narendra  tank, At 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.



        This  Festival  takes  places in the  month  of
Jestha.   it  is  popularly  known as  the  Deba  Snana
Purnima.This  is the first occasion in the course of  a
year when  the   deities  Jagannath,Balabhadra,Subhadra
along with Sudarsan and Madanmohan are brought out from
the Temple  and  taken  in  procession  to  Snana  Bedi
located in   the  North  East   corner  of  the   outer
compound.The deities are bathed there with 108 pitchers
of water drawn  from   a  well   near  the   Northern   Gate.
Here,Jagannath  and  Balabhadra are dressed  like  Lord
Ganesh of the Purans with the head of an elephant.

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Daru of Devi Subhadra           
in Navakalebar              

















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RATHA YATRA (Chariot  Festival)
      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
        Akshaya  Trutiya  tithi marks the beginning  of
the construction  of  the  Rathas  (chariots)  for  the
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 bath  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 deities  eat only  fruits  
other restricted  diet and soft drinks.Cloth paintings.

representing the deities called  Anasara Pati, are 

displayed beyond  the enclosures  hiding  the deities from 

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
specacular  procession  called Pahandi.   The  deities, which are
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 of 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 decorated  palanquin.   Chhera Pamhara   is  a
symbolic rite which proclaims that the King, like others,
is but an  humble  servant of the real sovereign,  Lord
        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 and  the
three deities  rest for a night at the entrance on their own 

chariots. They enter  the Gundicha  temple  on the next 

day in the usual  Pahandi style and  stay there for seven days.  

Godess 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 of the fortnight.
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 the seven-day stay at Gundicha
temple, their  garden  house,   commence  their  return
journey. It is called Bahuda Yatra held 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’s  chariot  moves first,followed 

by  those  of Subhadra  and  Jagannath.   On his  way  

back,Jagannath stops for a while at Ardhasani temple, 

popularly called Mausi Ma  temple or the temple of Aunt.

He accepts  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 the deities  remain  seated on their chariots.  

On  the next day known as 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  the
usual fanfare and the Pahandi style.Their arrival into
the Sanctum  sanctorum marks the end of the Ratha Yatra  

the grand festival of chariots.


        As  a  man  discarding worn out  clothes  takes
other new  ones,so also the embodied soul, casting  off
worn out bodies enters into others which are new.In the
light of   this   truth  of    the   Bhagavat   Geeta,
Navakalevar  can  be  interpreted  as  a  ceremony  for
entering  into  new  bodies,   when  Lord   Jagannath,
Balabhadra,Subhadra  and  Sudarshan cast off their  old
bodies and take new ones. It is called Navakalevar.  The
year which  has  two  months  of  Ashadha  is  regarded
auspicious  for Navakalevar ceremony.It usually  occurs
in 8,11 or 19  years.   The new bodies of the deities  are
made out  of  the newly cut Yeem trees.   The  previous
navakalevars   were held in    1733,1744,1752,   1771,1790,
1809,1828,     1836,1855,1874,1893,1912,     1931,1950,
1969,1977 and 1996.
The Chariots


        The  three Chariots of Balabhadra,Subhadra  and
Jagannath  are  constructed  each year with  Sal  wood,
customarily  brought  from  the   exprincely  State  of
Dasapalla,by  a specialist team of carpenters who  have
hereditary  rights for this.Lorrd Jagannth's Chariot is
called nandighosa.  it is forty-five feet square at the
wheel level.It  has  sixteen wheels,each of seven  feet
diameter,and  is decked with rred and yellow  coverings
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,Darruka   and  Arjuna   are  the   three
charioters  attached respectively to the three Chariots
of Jagannath,Balabhadra and Subhadra.


Jagannath culture and its position in Hindu society


            The Temple of Jagannath at Puri is one of the greatest religious monuments in India, it is situated near Sea-Coast of Puri which is connected by road with most of the important cities in India. The site of the temple is known as Sri Ksetra or Purusottam Ksetra on account of its great sanctity. It is also known as Sankhaksetra in Puranas. According to tradition, the temple was originally built by Yayatikesari, probably Yayati II of the Somavamsi dynasty on the site of the present shrine. Another tradition attributes the construction of the temple to Anangabhimadeva, grand son Anantavarman Chodaganga. The epigraphical records, however, fully prove that i was Chodaganga who built the present temple. About 11 the century AD., there was only one prominent deity in the Puri temple, called Purushottama in the inscription. This temple for Purushottama was built by Chodaganga and his sons. It is possible that the work of building of the huge structure was begun by Yayati and completed by Chodaganga. The Orissan temple architecture which made an humble beginning before the 6th Century AD, had reached its perfection by the time the present temple at Puri was built.
                  There are many figures of Deities, Pillars, Mandapas alongwith art, architecture and sculpture in the temple premises which were erected by different rulers in different times, and it indicates vast history and legends of Orissa. The present Mukti Mandap of Sri Jagannath Temple has not been exempted in the historical point of view. There is a vast historic picture beyond the construction of Mukti Mandap. The present article highlights briefly the Khurda Royal family of Ramachandra Deva to make clear about the construction of Mukti Mandap.
                    Ramachandra Deva was the son of a Minister Janarddana Vidyadhara. So that Ramachandra Deva (Ramai Rautaray) had no right to the throne of Cuttack even after Mukunda Deva. Again Ramachandra Deva was the foremost enemy of Mukunda Deva because his father Janarddana Vidyadhara remained in the jail until his death by Mukunda Deva, when his father JanarddanaVidyadhar was imprisoned at Cuttack, he flew away somewhere else so as not to come under the clutch of Mukunda Deva. Mukunda Deva wanted to catch him but did not get any trace. That some information about Ramachandra Deva was communicated to Mukunda Deva when he was busy in war with the Sultan of Bengal. So that the king could take no action against Ramachandra Deva. However it was for the good luck of Ramai that Mukunda Deva was killed in battle field with his nephew Raghu Bhanja on the same day. Thus the path of Ramachandra Deva became clear. In the meantime the Khandayat of the South declared Ramachandra Deve as the king of Gotmagada. After the death of Mukunda Deva he entered into Orissa to establish his kingdom. He came to Gada Kokola, situated in Brahmagiri thana where Bagua Patra extend his service and support to him. Jhadu Parida of Ghoradia and Sarani Patra of Mallipada also supported to him.Then he came to village Khurda where Bali Vikrama Simha was the Chief and he was unwilling to support Ramachandra Deva. So he killed Bali Vikrarma and captured the village Khurda. Ramachandra Deva fixed a name for Khurda as Jagannathpur when he settled there. He also received some support from Balaram Deva, the Chauhan ruler of Sambalpur, though he was ruling a far place from Khurda.
                      The establishment of a fort of Khurda proves the farsightedness of the king Ramachandra Deva. It is a fact that the place was denesly forested and so was inaccessible to the enemies. The Khurda fort was so strong that it could not have been affected by the Afghan rulers in the 16th century after the invasion of Kalapahada. When Mukunda Deva was defeated and killed the fate of orissa went to the hand of the Sultan of Bengal. The Puri region was kept under the administrative control of Qutla Khan. In the mean time Daud Khan, the powerful Sultan of Bengal was defeated by the Mughal general Todarmalla on 5th March 1575 and subdued to the Mughal rule through the treaty signed at Cuttack in April 1575. After that Daud Khan was killed by a Mughal general on 12th July 1576. Taking the advantage of Dauds death Ramachandra Deva who was safety in the Khurda fort reinstalled Lord Jagannath at Puri and Todarmalla as a Hindu general perhaps helped him in this matter. At this time the relation between Ramachandra Deva and the Mughal Government was cordial. But when the Mughal Government found the power of Ramachandra Deva to be increased day by day, they wanted to attack Khurda. After attacking the Khurda fort twice when Raja Mansimha (Mughal general attempt ended in failure, he again wanted to capture the Kurdha fort of Ramachandra Deva for the third time in the year 1593 AD. Ramchandra also very strongly defended his territory and the valiant Oriya Paiks fought the battle so successfully that the Mughal army was totally perturbed, and lost the hope of the conquest of Khurda. it also gave a poor image of the Mughal army though they could somehow captured some fortresses like Sahajpal, Khargarh etc. and not the main fort Khurda instead of a great loss of men and money. Akbar could feel the dignity and power of Ramachandra Deva. He ordered the refore to withdraw his troops and advised general Mansimha to keep a friendly relation with Ramachandra Deva. Then a treaty was signed mutually between Mansimha and Ramachandra Deva aftet a compromise. After the treaty was signed, Ramachandra Deva was accepted as the Raja of Orissa by the Mughal emperor and honoured by Mansimha. Madala Panji states that Raja Mansimha declared Raja Ramachandra Deva of Khurda as the Raja of Orissa and so that he would be the real successor of the traditional Gajapati kings so as to be responsible for the affairs of Jagannath temple at Puri.
                     Madala Panji states that in the 19th regnal year of Ramachandra Deva, Raja Mansimha the Mughal general who again visited the temple of Jagannath with his family. Gaurarni the queen of Mansirnha saw that the old Mukti Mandapa was in a deteriorated stage and she therefore built the present Mukti Mandapa where the Brahmins of the 16 Sasanas are honoured to sit to settle religious questions. Cases in religious controversies in any part of India particularly Orissa, are referred to the Mukti Mandap which stands as the Judiciary of the temple. This Mukti Mandap is the famous seat of the learned men associated with Jagannath Temple and the verdict pronounced by this august assembly of Pandits, is accepted by the contending parties with great respect.
                Before the present Mukti Mandap (which is known as Brahmasana), built by Gaurarani, the Queen of general Mansimha, there was a Muktl Mandap In front of the southern side of the main temple which played a vital role in the religious affairs of the temple more than the present one. It was the central place of the culture and knowledge of Orissa where the merits of the Pandits were tested. Thus it was the examining body in those days and therefore the great Pandits like Murari Misra, the author of Anargha Raghava and Krsna Misra the author of Prabodha Charidrodaya were interested to show their dramas here. According to tradition, when Kalapahada came to Puri much before his invasion in order to be permitted by the pandits of Mukti Mandap to become Hindu again, he was not allowed to come back his own religion. This proves the existence of the Mukti Mandapa which was playing an important role to decide the Prayscitta of Sinful act. At the time of Prataparudra Deva, there was the Mukti Mandapa where the great and distinguished scholars like Balabhadra Rajaguru and Purandera Purohita were fighting on discourses in learned and valuable words. In the 16th century Devadurlabha Dasa also referred to the Mukti Mandap. Thus, we are sure of this much that there was the existence of the Mukti Mandap in the 16th Century before it was built by Gaurarani, the queen of the Mansimha. But there is no authentic proof nor the literary evidence has been available to us regarding the date of the foundation of this Mandap which plays an important role in the temple administration.
                    It is stated in the Madala Panji that Gauri Mahadevi (Gaurarani), a consort of Raja Mansimha of Amera, built the present hall of the Mukti Mandap having sixteen pillars within the Jagannath Temple precincts. Each pilliar is attached to one Sasana.  Even now the place is exclusively reserved for the Brahmins of the 16 Sasanas to sit. However now the 16 Sasanas overreached the number and 23 villages have been included in the list to sit on the Mandap. Accordingly to the Vedic practice any sacrifice usually required the services of sixteen priests. Therefore Mukti Mandapa might have originally been conceived as a sacrificial altar. So 16 Brahmins were necessary for the performance of the sacrifice in the temple. Now-a-days, when some sacrifice is necessary to be performed in the temple premises, the Brahmins sitting on the Mukti Mandapa are also invited to take their seats on the sacrificial altar. It was the usual practice there that the Pandits of Mukti Mandape had to decide the merits of different acts and the sins committed by the people. They always follow the rules laid down in the Hindu Dharmasastras. In addition to this, now they are also approving the Panji of Orissa according to which the marriage ceremony, sacred thread ceremony etc. are to be performed and the Yatras of Jagannath to be celebrated. In the villages also the festivals are celebrated according to this advice of this Panji. approved by Mukti Mandapa. Deula Purohita (The priest of the temple) was in charge of Mukti Mandapa. He has also the right to sit on Mukli Mandapa. At the time of Navakalevara festival of the Lords the Brahmins perform the ‘Pratistha-Homa’ for the new images of the Lords. Every day the Purana is recited here and meaning is explained before pilgrims. Every day two thalis (Big plates) of rice Mahaprasada are supplied to this place which are distributed amongst the Brahmins after the Dhupas (worship-offerings) of the morning and the mid-day are over. Another ‘thali’, known as the ‘Mahadei Thali’ granted by the queen of Athagada becomes available to the Brahmins present there through Ramadasa Matha. The Mahaprasad as at first offered to the Goddess Kali, worshipped near this Mandapa and then it is distributed among the Brahmins on the ‘Mukti Mandapa.
                  This Mukti Mandapa with Mahanayakas acted like final judiciary in the religious matters. Any dispute arising out of religious matters with regard to worship is reffered to this council of the Pandits and in all cases there verdict is final. This system is also continuing up to now. In the olden days all the disputes pertaining to the temple- administration were first referred to the Raja of Purl who thereupon use to call the assembly of Pandits of Mukti Mandapa to pass the final verdict on religious matters. Regarding the religious matters in the case of dispute arising in the mode of worship of the Lords, the head of the Puja Pandas was consulted while a decision was to be taken by the Mukti Mandapa. The consultation with the Bada Panda represents the prevalence of democratic attitude in the administration of the Jagannath Temple. This system is still in vogue and the Judgement of the Mukti Mandapa is accepted as final even today. The executive function of the administration rested in the Adhinayakas of the Chatisaniyoga whose supreme authority, was, however the King. Now the supremacy of the temple priest has diminished and the importance has been given to the Secretary of Mukti Mandap. The final authority is vested in the temple Management Committee and the Secretary maintains the systems of this Mandapa at present. The legislative function was jointly executed by the Mukti Mandapa, the king and the Parichcha. Thus the temple appears like a legal authority or an autonomous institution which was having three necessary functions – Legislative, Judiciary and Executive. In addition to these three functions the Mukti Mandapa has taken a responsibility for the education of the priests In respect of worship of the Lords. Now-a-days a “Veda Bhawan” is established for this purpose. But previously this responsibility of educating in the traditional way was lying with Govardhana Matha which was established at Puri when in the 8th century Adisankara visited this sacred place and the Jagannath temple. He added some more items of the Bhogas of the lords and hence, his Matha was called as Bhogavarddhana Matha which was afterwards known as Govarddhana Matha. This matha was taking the responsibility of educating the priests in the art of ritualistic worship. After obtaining sufficient training at this Math, Certificates were issued to the Priests and they became eligible toe worshipping the Lords. This system of taking the responsibility by this Matha is definitely appreciable. Afterwards perhaps the Matha could not take sufficient interest for extending training to the priest and so that Mukti Mandapa has to take such responsibility.
                  Today we see that 24 Saunas have got right to sit on the Mukti Mandapa and to take part in the discussions. Previously 16 Pandits of 16 Sasanas established by the king of Orissa are allowed to sit and take part in learned discourses of the Muktl Mandapa Gradually the number was increased due to local influence and politics. Who knows, the number may increase higher than the present one in future and all the Brahmins of every village may be allowed to sit on the Mukti Mandapa in course of time?

Ratha Yatra or Car Festival


Of all the festivals of the year the greatest is the Rath Jatra or Car Festival, which commemorates the journey of Krishna from Gokul to Mathura. According to Hindu mythology, Krishna, the ninth incarnation of Vishnu, was the eight son of Basudeva and his wife Devaki. It had been predicted that a son of theirs would kill Kansa, the demon King of Mathura, who typifies the principal of evil. Kansa, therefore, imprisoned Basudeva and his wife, and slew their first six sons; Balarama, the seventh, was abstracted from Devaki’s womb, transferred to that of Rohini, another wife of Basudeva, and so saved.

On the birth of Krishna, the father escaped from Mathura with the child and, crossing the Jamuna, entrusted the infant Krishna to the care of the herdsman king, Nanda of Vraja. In Gokul or Vraja Krishna grew up to manhood. At length, Kansa heard of him and sent a messenger to bring him and his brother to Mathura. The brothers drove in their chariot victoriously to Mathura, where Krishna killed Kansa and ruled in his stead.

This episode in the life of Krishna is commemorated by the Rath Jatra, which takes place in June or July every year. On this occasion the images of Jagannath, Balabhadra and Subhadra are removed from the temple and taken in great chariots to the garden house (Gundicha-bari) along the Bara Danda road, which is about a mile and a half long. Here the gods remain in the car at night, and are taken out next morning and placed in the shrine. They remain there for a week and are then again put in to the cars taken back to the temple, thus commemorating the return journey of Krishna. The rule is that the whole festival should last 9 days, allowing a day the journey to the  Gundicha- bari, a day for the return journey, and 7days for the stay there; but in practice it lasts much longer, the return journey sometimes taking many days. The cars are large structures of considerable height, resembling lofty towers bedecked with tinsel, paintings and wooden statuary. The largest is the car of Jagannath, which is 45 feet in height and 35 feet square, and is supported on 16 wheels with a diameter of 7 feet.

The brother and sister of Jagannath have separated cars a few feet smaller. The images are brought out from the temple through the Lion Gate and placed on the cars, this being known as the pahandi, a sacred moment when the assembled pilgrims fall on their knees and bow their foreheads in the dust. They then seize the ropes, and drag the cars down the Bara Danda road to the garden house of Jagannath. The distance is only about 1.5 mile, but as the heavy structures have no contrivance to guide them, and the wheels sink deep into the sand, which are some places covers the road; the journey has been known to take several days.

 Once arrived at the garden house, the enthusiasm subsides. By the third day most of the pilgrims have left, and but for professional car-pullers, Jagannath would often be left there. The cars are dragged from the temple by the assembled pilgrims and by a number of villagers, who hold revenue-free lands granted to them as remuneration for the work; when the pilgrims are insufficient to drag the cars back, coolies are engaged from the neighboring villages. In 1904, the pilgrims alone pulled the cars to the country house in 4 hours and brought them back again to the temple without such assistance; in 1907, when 75,000 pilgrims attended the ceremony, the journey was performed in 4.5 hours.


The Chariots and the Chariot Festival

        The three chariots are built a new annually excluding the Kalasa, 14 subsidiary deities, charioteers and horses. 1072 pieces of logs (i.e.phasi, dhaura, maie, simili) are brought from Dasapalla and Ranpur forests. Nearly 125 temple carpenters (including helping assistants) work for 58 days at the Mahakhala (in front of the palace) and chisel out 2,188 pieces of wood for the construction of three chariots. The construction work commences on the Akshaya Trutiya. Each chariot is covered with new cloths of radiant colour. Orissa Textile Mills provides nearly 1090 meters of cloths for this purpose. The chariots are fastened with four long sturdy ropes (each 240'-250' with 8" diametre) each so as to facilitate the devotees to pull them.

         The Kerala Coir Corporation provides these specially manufactured coconut fibre ropes. Iron nails, brackets, clamps, etc. used for this purpose are indigenously prepared by the native smiths near the  Dolavedi and it takes them more than a month. The Rath's superstructure (above the wheels) contains eighteen pillars and roofs at various stages which are known as bhuin, potala, parabhadi, etc. There are 34 components of the chariot. Each chariot contains nine parswadevatas (subsidiary deities), two dwarapalas (door keepers), one sarathi (charioteer) and one presiding deity of the crest banner (dhwaja devata), all made of wood.

  These are the three head carpenter of three rathas
First one Lingaraj Maharana of Jagannath's Ratha.
Second Krushna  Maharana of Subhadra's Ratha.
Third is Damodara Maharana of Balabhadra's Ratha.

Description of Chariots

  Chariot of Jagannath:
Nandighosa /
Chariot of Balabhadra:
Chariot of Subhadra:
Number of wheels 16 14 12
Total number of wooden
pieces used
832 763 593
Height 13.5 m. 13.2 m. 12.9 m.
Colour of cloth wrappings Red, Yellow Red, Blue Red, Black
Guarded by Garuda Vasudev Jayadurga
Name of the Charioteers Daruka Matali Arjuna
The Flag Trailokyamohini Unnani Nadambika
The Horses Shankha, Balahaka,
Shveta, Haridashva.
Tibra, Ghora,
Rochika, mochika,
Jita, Aparajita
The Ropes Sankhachuda Basuki Swarnachuda
Presiding Nine Deities Varaha, Govardhana,
krushna, Gopi-Krushna,
Nrusimgha, Rama,
Narayana, Trivikrama,
Hanuman and Radra.
Ganesha, Kartikeya,
Pralambari, Halayudha,
Mrutyunjaya, Natamvara,
Mukteshwar, Sheshadeva
Chandi, Chamunda,
Ugratara, Vanadurga
Shulidurga, Varahi,
Shyama Kali, Mangala
and Vimala.