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Importance Of Jagannath Temple

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  • Last Updated : 20 Jul, 2022
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Jagannath Temple is famously known as Jagannath Puri or Simply Puri. This temple is in Orissa situated on the seashore of the Bay of Bengal. This temple got historical and religious significance. Rameshwaram, Dwarka, Badrinath, and Puri are the four holy kshetras of India. Jagannath is believed to be a form of Vishnu or Krishna avatar by Hindus. He is mostly worshipped in states like Bihar, Tripura, and Bangladesh.

Some facts about the Jagannath Temple:

  1. This temple was constructed by Chodaganga Deva who belongs to the Ganga dynasty in the 12th century CE.
  2. The structure of the idol was carved with large eyes and with stumps as hands. It was decorated with a wooden stump. However, there is an absence of legs and hands.
  3.  No Vedic reference to Jagannath temple is found 
  4.  This is known as one of Char Dham.
  5.  The famous festival here is Ratha yatra which attracts lakhs of devotees every year.

Why Jagannath Temple is famous? 

  1. The flag on top of the temple floats in the opposite direction of the wind which questions Scientific logic
  2. Sudarshan Chakra is placed on top of the temple which is 20ft high. The placing and positioning of this chakra is still a mystery because it can be seen from any corner of Puri city and feels that is facing you.
  3. It is a no-fly zone without any declaration from any state or power. No planes or birds are seen flying which remains a mystery.
  4. For the last 1800 years, a priest goes to the top of the temple to change the flag. They believe that temple will shut down for 18 years if this ritual is ever missed.
  5. Here, the Sea breeze and land breeze work in reverse order.
  6. No sound of waves can be heard once you cross Singhadwaram and enter the temple.
  7. No shadow of the Structure is cast at any given time. This is one of the greatest mysteries.

Cultural integrity of Jagannath Temple:

Puri Jagannath is said to be a replication of Indian culture. Indian land is known for its unique and diverse culture. To understand the culture of Puri Jagannath it is significant to know the culture of India which is way more different from other countries.

  • According to history, Puri Jagannath is a deity belonging to a tribe. Sabar people consider Puri Jagannath as a symbol of Narayan. Indigenous people claim him as Nila Madhava (blue stone Narayan). Puri Jagannath was installed in Nilachala along with Balabhadra and Subhadra. 
  • Indigenous people use to worship wooden poles which trace the reason behind the wooden idol of Puri Jagannath.
  • Daitapatis claimed to be descendants of hill tribes of Orissa. Hence, we can find the fusion of tribe and Hindu culture in Puri Jagannath which makes it unique. 
  • The three idols claimed to be Triratha which is a Jain cult. Jagannath was considered an avatar of Vishnu, Krishna, or Narayan. Here we can see a fusion of Saivism, Shaktism, and Vaishnavism in the Hindu religion. Buddhism and Jainism traces are also seen.

Structure of Jagannath Temple:

Puri Jagannath temple is very huge in size and occupies around an area of 37000m2. Outerwall height is around 6.1m. Meghanada Pacheri is actually the outer wall that surrounds the temple. Another term called Kurma Bheda is the wall that surrounds the main portion of the temple. The architecture of this temple is on basis of Oriya. The tower of the temple is around 65m. It has 120 temples and shrines around.

  1. Nila Chakra: It is the top part of the temple where a flag called Patita Pavana is hoisted. Ashtadhatu was the term associated with this Chakra, which means an alloy of eight metals. Chakra Circumference is 11m and height 3.5m
  2. Sighdwara: The entrance of the temple has 4 gates. One of them is Sighdwara (Lion gate). There are 22 steps to enter the temple which is known as Baisi Pahacha. Lord Jagannath was painted on the entrance for untouchables to pray which is known as Patitapavana.
  3. Arun Stambha: Guru Brahmachari Gosain was brought here from Konark temple. It is a pillar with Sixteen sides and is monolithic.
  4.  Vyaghradwara (tiger gate) Hathidwara (elephant gate) Ashwadwara (horse gate) are the other entrances.
  5. Vimala Temple: This is one of the minor temples. Mythology believes that the feet of Goddess Sati had fallen here.
  6. Mahalaxmi temple: Lord Jagannath’s food is supervised here and known as Naivedya.
  7. Mukti Mandapa: This was made of granite with 5 feet. It covers an area of 900 square feet. This was supported by 12 pillars and idols of many gods and goddesses can be seen here.
  8. Dola Mandapa: It is a swing made during Dol yatra. It was carved using Torana.

Festivals of Jagannath Temple: 

Many festivals are observed here every year which attracts many devotees during this period. Among all festivals, Rath Yatra is very important in which 3 main idols are carried to Gundicha Temple on separate Chariots. Some other festivals are :

  1. Chandan Yatra: It was celebrated for 42 days in a year and is known as the longest festival of this temple. This yatra was divided into two phases i.e., Bahara Chandana (21 days) and Bhitara Chandana (21 days). In the first phase, Chariots are built and the second phase is for rituals.
  2. Snana Yatra: This is the birthday of Puri Jagannath on the full moon day of Jyeshta month. In this yatra, rituals are performed on the basis of Skanda Purana. Many devotees believe that their sins will be cleaned if they visit on this day.
  3. Rath Yatra: This is a famous festival celebrated in June or July every year. Three idols are carried on different chariots and are pulled by devotees. The most important ritual of this yatra is Chhera Paharis (the Gajapati king dresses like a sweeper and sweeps the chariots). This ritual was carried out for two days. On the first day, rituals are carried out when idols are brought to Mausi maa Temple, and on the second day in Jagannath Temple. Another interesting fact of this yatra is sandalwood water and powder are sprinkled and roads are cleared with gold-handled brooms.
  4. Gupta Gundicha: Celebrated 16 days before Vijaya Dashami. Madhava and goddess Durga idol are brought to the temple for the first 8 days and for the next 8 days they are brought to Narayani temple.
  5. Nava Kalebara: This is celebrated when the lunar month of Ashadha is followed by another Ashadha. In this, old idols are buried and new deities are installed.

Related Frequently Asked Questions and Answers:

1Q. Rath Yatra festival is related to?
(a) Lord Balabhadra
(b) Goddess Subhadra
(c)Lord Krishna
(d) All the Above

Answer: (d).
Explanation: Rath Yatra is dedicated to three idols- Lord Balabhadra, Goddess Subhadra, and Lord Krishna. These idols are carried by three Chariots and pulled by the devotees.

2Q. Colours of Lord Jagannath’s Chariot?
(a) Golden and Green
(b) Green and Blue
(c) Red and Yellow
(d) Red and Blue

Answer: (c)
Explanation: The horses of the chariot are white and have the names Shankha, Balahaka, Suweta, and Haridashwa. The chariot is yellow and red.

3Q. Three siblings’ return Journey from Gundicha Temple is known as?
A) Sunabesha yatra
B) Bahuda Yatra
c) Bhadra Yatra
D) None

Answer : (b)
Explanation: The Bahuda Yatra is the return trip of Jagannath, Balabhadra, and Subhadra to the main temple after spending seven days at the Gundicha shrine.

4Q. What is Lord Jagannath chariot’s name?
A) Nandighosha
B) Deva Dalan
C) Darpadalan
D) Balahaka 

Answer: (a) 
Explanation: Lord Jagannath’s chariot, Nandighosa, stands 44 feet and two inches tall and has 16 wheels, each measuring 6 feet in diameter. It takes around 2 months to build. 

5Q. Construction of three chariots of siblings is started on which day?
A) Chandan jatra
B) Rupakara day
C) Akshaya tritiya
D) Nayagarh tritiya

Answer: (c)
Explanation: Construction work is started with ritual fire worship on Akshaya tritiya and work is carried out by 7 groups of carpenters and artisans as per tradition.


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