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
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
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.
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
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.
HOW TO GET THERE
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
WHERE TO STAY
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 TEMPLE OF LORD
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 ).
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
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
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
7. ROSHA HOMA, SURYA PUJA, AND DWARAPAL PUJA- 8 A.M. to 8.30 A.M.
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.
8. GOPALA BALLAVA PUJA - 9 A.M.
(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.
9. SAKALA DHUPA (MORNING FOOD OFFERING) 10 A.M.
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".
10. MAILAM & BHOGA MANDAP : 11 A.M.
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.
13. SANDHYA ALATI
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".
15. MAILAM AND CHANDANA LAGI
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.\
16. BADASINGHAR VESHA
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.
17. BADASINGHARA BHOGA
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
18. KHATA SEJA LAGI AND PAHUDA 12.00
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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 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
The sevaks of temple who dress the deities with
clothing and flowers are known as Puspalaks or
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
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.
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.
Daru of Devi Subhadra
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 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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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.
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.
number of wooden
of cloth wrappings
Presiding Nine Deities
Hanuman and Radra.
Shyama Kali, Mangala