Jagannath Puri Dham or Jagannath Puri or even Puri as it is called, is situated at Puri Districts in the State of Orissa (India). It is one of the four Holy Kshetras of India including temples at Rameshwaram, Dwaraka, Badrinath and Puri. The Annual Rathayatra festival is the high point of all the Festivals celebrated and has been attracting lakhs of devotees and pilgrims since time immemorial. To see the Lord on the Chariot on the Rathayatra day is to secure salvation from the cycles of birth and death.
The main temple structure is 65m (214 feet) high and is built on elevated ground, making it look more imposing. The vast temple complex comprises an area of 10.7 acres and is enclosed by two rectangular walls. The outer enclosure is called Meghanada Prachira, 200m (665 ft) by 192m (640 ft). The walls are 6m (20 feet) high. The inner wall is called Kurmabedha, 126m (420 ft) by 95m (315 ft). The walls were built during the 15th or 16th century.
There is a wheel on top of the Jagannath Temple made of an alloy of eight metals (asta-dhatu). It is called the Nila Chakra (Blue Wheel), and is 3.5m (11 ft 8 in) high with a circumference of about 11m (36 ft). Every day, a different flag is tied to a mast attached to the Nila Chakra. Every Ekadasi, a lamp is lit on top of the temple near the wheel.
Gates in Temple:
There are four gates in East, South, West and North sides to enter the temple.
1. SINGHA-DWAR (East Gate or Lions Gate)
2. GHOTAK-DWAR (South gate or Horse Gate)
3. BAGHA-DWAR (West Gate or Tiger Gate)
4. HATI DWAR (North Gate or Elephant Gate)
Arun Stambha (Sun Pillar):
It is situated just in front of Lion's gate. It is also believed that out of 22 steps two steps lying below stone of about 34' height on top of this pillar the charioteer of Arun (Sun) is sealing with folded hand towards Lord Jagannath. In 18th century the king Gajapati Dibyasingh dev brought this pillar from Konark.
The central forms of Jagannath, Balabhadra and the goddess Subhadra constitute the trinity of deities sitting on the bejewelled platform in the inner sanctum. Lord balabhadra is the elder brother, Lord Jagannath is Younger brother and devi Subhadra is youngest sister.
Lord Jagannath, the symbol of universal love and brotherhood is worshipped in the Temple along with Balabhadra, Subhadra, Sudarshan, Madhaba, Sridevi and Bhudevi on the Ratnabedi or the bejewelled platform.
A famous festival related to the Jagannath temple is the Ratha Yatra, or chariot festival, which occurs yearly in June or July. During the Rath Yatra Festival, the images of Jagannath, Balabhadra and Subhadra are placed in mammoth chariots or 'raths', the largest of which is 14 meters (46 feet) high and has 16 wheels, each more than two meters (seven feet) in diameter, which are then drawn along Grand Road to the Gundecha Temple, a few kilometers away. After they have stayed in that temple for 9 days, the deities again ride the chariots back to their home temple.
Maha-prasada is pure vegetarian spiritual food offered to Lord Jagannath. Just by eating this maha-prasada one makes great spiritual advancement. Everyday, fifty-six varieties of prasada are offered to Lord Jagannath. The preparations are made traditionally and no onion, garlic, chillies or many varieties of vegetables (considered alien) are not used. These Offerings after being made to Lord Jagannath are in turn again offered to Goddess Bimala Devi in the temple precincts and then becomes Mahaprasadam. This Mahaprasadam is considered very efficacious for spiritual liberation. One should respectfully honor the Mahaprasadam sitting on the floor.
A Little History
According to recently discovered copper plates from the Ganga dynasty, the construction of the Jagannath temple was initiated by the ruler of Kalinga, Anantavarman Chodaganga Dev. The Jagamohana and the Vimana portions of the temple were built during his reign (1078 - 1148 CE). However it was only in the year 1174 CE that the Orissan ruler Ananga Bhima Deva rebuild the temple to give a shape in which it stands today.
Jagannath Swami Nayana Patha Gami Bhava Tume...
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