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White Pagoda of India

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  • Last Updated : 17 Aug, 2022
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The Jagannath Temple is located in Puri which is in Odisha state and also known as the ‘White Pagoda‘ of India. Jagannath temple is one of the sacred temples in India and also the most important temple in Odisha. The three gods that reside in the temple are Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra and Devi Subhadra. This temple was built by Ananta Varman Chodaganga in the 12th century. Puri has become a most loved tourist destination due to the Jagannath temple on the ocean side. The biggest gathering in puri is seen during the Ratha Yatra festival of Jagannath which happens in June-July month. The temple is one of the holiest Hindu Char Dham (four divine) sites of Puri, others are Rameswaram, Badrinath, and Dwarka.

The Architecture of Jagannath Temple or White Pagoda:

  • Jagannath temple spread over the space of 400,000 square feet with 20 feet high wall and a pinnacle to a level of 192 feet. 
  • The universally eminent Odisha sanctuary stands on a raised stone stage which estimates 10 sections of land in the region.
  • The four extremely large corridors of Jagannath temples i.e, Bhogmandapa (contributions lobby), Nata-mandapa (dance and music lobby), Jagamohana and Vimana are sufficient to understand the architectural styles of that period.
  • Aside from this, the Jagannath complex additionally contains four fundamental doors in each of the four directions. Strangely, every one of the four doors is called by various names like Lion door, tiger door, horse door and elephant door.                                                                                      

Structure of Jagannath Temple or White Pagoda:

  • Nila Chakra: The principal sanctuary is a curvilinear sanctuary and delegated to the top known as ‘Nila Chakra’ also called ‘Srichakra’. It is made from Ashtadhatu and is viewed as consecrated. It is the blue plate mounted on the top Shikhar of the Jagannath temple. This is a circle with eight Navagunjaras cut on the external outline. According to custom, the flag is waved on the Nila Chakra. The flag raised on the Nila Chakra is known as the Patita Pavana. It represents protection by Lord Jagannath.
  • Singhadwara: This is one of the four gates to the temple and forms the main entrance, which is also known as ‘The Lion gate’. The door points toward the east opening onto the Bada Danda or the Grand Road. The Singhadwara is named in light of the fact that two immense sculptures of lions exist on one or the other side of the entry. The sculptures of the two gatekeepers to the sanctuary Jaya and Vijaya stand on one or the other side of the entryway. The Rath Yatra icons of Jagannath, Balabhadra and Subhadra are taken out from the sanctuary through this entryway. A heavenly sixteen-sided monolithic pillar known as the Aruna Stambha remains before the main door.
  • Arun Stambha: It is located in front of Singhadwara. The monolithic, sixteen-sided pillar has no joints. This is where you can find the Arun idol, who pulls the Sun God’s chariot. Arun Stambh was formerly housed at the Konark Temple, but Guru Brahmachari Gosain brought him here.                                       
  • Mandapas: There are many Mandapas in Jagannath temple. Among them, 19 Mandapas are named and some of them are: Bheda Mandapa, Mukti Mandapa, Dola Mandapa, Chahani Mandapa, Snana Mandapa, Prasad Mandapa, Baikuntha Mandapa, Bakula Mandapa, Bhoga Mandapa etc. Among all Mandapas, the most noticeable are: the Mukti Mandapa, the assembly lobby of the learned brahmins, the Dola Mandapa is important for a perfectly cut stone torana or curve which is utilized for Dol yatra celebration. The Snanabedi is a rectangular stone stage where symbols of Jagannath, Balabhadra and Subhadra are set for stylized washing during the yearly Snana yatra.

Festivals Related to the Jagannath Temple or White Pagoda: 

It is said that there are twelve important yatras or festivals of Lord Jagannath celebrated in the Shri Jagannath temple, Puri. These twelve festivals are also called ‘Dvadasa Yatra’. But actually, there are many more yatras observed in the Jagannath temple throughout the year. Some important festivals celebrated in the temple are:      

  • Ratha Yatra: It is the greatest and oldest Yatra, and the Brahma Purana, Padma Purana, Skanda Purana, and Kapila Samhita all describe it. Lord Jagannath’s journey to his aunt’s home is commemorated by this Yatra or festival. This festival is held on Asadha Sukla Dwitiya i.e. the second day of the bright fortnight of Asadha (June-July) every year. This festival is also known as Sri Gundicha yatra and Ghosha yatra. On this day, the deities are taken out of the temple and placed in their respective rathas (chariots), kept near the Singha dwara. The deities are carried to the rathas in a traditional ceremonial manner called Pahandi when Lord Balabhadra and Lord Jagannath are made to swing forward and backwards. 
  • Snana Yatra: It is the bathing ceremony of the deities, celebrated on Jyeshtha Purnima i.e. on the full moon day in the month of Jyeshtha (May-June). The deities are brought out from the Garbhagriha (sanctum sanctorum) of the Temple and taken in a traditional procession called Pahandi and placed on the Snanabedi situated in the northeast corner of the Bahara Bedha (outer enclosure).
  • Rukmini Harana Ekadasi: The marriage of Lord Krishna and Goddess Rukmini is celebrated on Jyeshtha Sukla Ekadasi i.e. the 11th day of the bright fortnight of Jyeshtha (May-June). On this occasion, the marriage is held between Lord Madana Mohana as Lord Krishna and Goddess Lakshmi as Goddess Rukmini.
  • Nabakalebara (new-body ceremony): When the month of Asadha (June-July) happens, the Nabakalebara ceremony of the deities takes place. It is the occasion when the old bodies or images of Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra, Devi Subhadra, Sudarsana and Nilamadhaba are replaced by new images. This new body change-over ceremony is called the Nabakalebara when the new ones replace old images. Generally, this takes place once every 12 years, but the shortest period is 8 years and the longest is 19 years. 
  • Karkata or Dakshinayana Sankranti: This festival takes place on the day of Karkata Sankranti. Special acts are performed on this day, as the sun begins to move to the autumnal equinox. Since Surya (Sun) commences his journey to the southern hemisphere, a special Bandapana of the deities is held to mark the occasion.
  • Niladri Mahodaya: It is celebrated on the eighth day of the bright fortnight of Baisakh (Between April and May). It is stated that on that day Lord Jagannath was first worshipped in this Kshetra. On this occasion, 108 pots of consecrated water are offered to the deities. Thus, a special bath is performed for the deities. 

Related Frequently Asked Questions and Answers:

1Q. What is the mystery of the Jagannatha temple or White Pagoda? 

Answer: The design of the complex is to such an extent that it creates no shaded area many times. It actually still needs to be translated whether it is a designing wonder or a peculiarity that can be credited exclusively to the heavenly power and this still remains a mystery.

2Q. How old is the Jagannath temple or White Pagoda?        

Answer: The Jagannath temple was 861 years old. This temple was built in 1161 AD. 

3Q. How many temples are in the Jagannath temple complex in India? 

Answer: Jagannath is an enormous complex, containing no less than 120 temples and hallowed places. Rich, multifaceted models and carvings, and taking-off architecture, make it one of the most eminent landmarks of India.

4Q. What is the Ratha Yatra of Jagannath temple?   

Answer: Ratha Yatra is a festival held on Asadha Shukla Dwitiya i.e. the second day of the bright fortnight of Asadha (June-July) every year. This festival is also known as Sri Gundicha yatra and Ghosha yatra. On this day, the deities are taken out of the temple and placed in their respective Rathas (chariots), kept near the Singha dwara. The deities are carried to the rathas in a traditional ceremonial manner called Pahandi when Lord Balabhadra and Lord Jagannath are made to swing forward and backwards.


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