Category Archives: Jagannatha Puri

Introduction to Jagannath Puri

Introduction to Jagannath Puri

The city of Puri, also called as Jagannatha Puri, Nilacala and Sri Ksetra, is considered to be equal to Vrindavana and Navadvipa, a sacred Vaisnava holy place. For thousands of years, great sages and other exalted persons have travelled to Puri on pilgrimage. Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu chose to reside here for the last eighteen years of His life.

The city is shaped like the shadow of a conch-shell. In the center of the conch-shell shadow, there is a portion of raised ground called Nilgiri or “the blue hill.” On the crest of Nilgiri stands an imposing temple complex dedicated to Vishnu as Jagannath, “the Maintainer of the Universe.” In Sanskrit “jagat” means the universe, and “natha” means the maintainer.

Glories of Jagannatha Puri

The Jagannatha Temple

Whatever pastime Lord Krishna performs in Goloka Mathura and Dvaraka, He manifests all these pastimes in Puri Dhama.

In Sri Brhad Bhagavatamrtam (2.1.159-163) Srila Sanatana Gosvami describes Puri-dhama:

In Purusottama-ksetra Nilacala, by the shore of the salt-water ocean, the Lord of the universe (Jagannatha) is splendidly manifested in a spiritual form of wood.

“On the northern shore of the ocean, in Purusottama-ksetra, the supremely blissful Personality of Godhead pretends to be made of wood.

The Vishnu Purana explains: In the country of Orissa, in Nilacala in Purusottama-ksetra, the spiritual and blissful Personality of Godhead appears as the wooden Deity named Lord Jagannatha.”

“In Bharata-varsa, in the country of Orissa, in Bhu-svarga, in Purusottama-ksetra, the Lord of the Universe (Jagannatha), who makes the devotees fearless, whose pastimes are like those of a human being, and who grants liberation, appears in a form of wood.”

The Goddess of Fortune personally cooks for Him. When He has eaten, the merciful Lord gives His remnants to His devotees, which even the demigods cannot obtain.”

Jagannatha Puri Mahaprasad

These remnants, called mahaprasadam, should be eaten without considering who has touched them or from where they were brought. “Oh what a glory of that place! Even an ass there becomes a four-armed resident of Vaikuntha. Anyone who goes there once is never born again.”

Veda-vyasa explains in the Garuda Purana:
“When the demigods in heaven see the people of Jagannath Puri as four-armed residents of Vaikuntha, holding a conch-shell, cakra and lotus in their hands, they faint again and again.”

Jagannath’s Main Temple

Shree Jagannath Temple Puri

Jagannatha means The “Lord of The Universe”

The main temple structure is 65 meters(214ft.) high and is build on high ground, which makes it look even larger than what it is. The temple complex is having 10.7 acres.

Jagannatha Temple has the largest kitchen in the world and feeds thousands of devotees every day. 1,00,000 peoples prasadam can be prepared in one day and the kitchen can prepare 2,50,000 people on a festival day.

There are 36 traditional communities who render a specific hereditary service to the deities. The temple has as many as 6,000 priests (Pandas).

There is a wheel on top of the Jagannatha temple that consists of an alloy of eight different metals (Asta Dhatus) known as Nila Cakra (blue wheel), it is 11ft 8in high and has a circumference of about 36ft. On Ekadasi day, a lamp is lit near the wheel. Daily a flag is tied on a mast attached to Nila Cakra.

In front of the main temple, there is pillar of height (11m) called Aruna Stambha. It was brought to Puri during the 18th century from the Sun Temple in Konark. Aruna is the charioteer of the Sun God present on top of the pillar.

Patiapavana Jagannatha

Patita Pavana Jagannatha

In the passage room of main gate, there is deity of Lord Jagannatha called Patita Pavana (savior of the most fallen). It can be visible from the road, so the “Non Hindus” can take darshana from outside.

There are four gates to the Jagannatha temple as follows:

These are the main entrances to the Jagannatha temple on the Grand Road –
The Eastern Simha-Dvara (lion Gate)

The Southern Asva Dvara (horse gate)

The Western Vyaghra dvara (tiger gate)

The Northern Hasti dvara (elephant gate)

Inside the Lion Gate, in front of the altar of Lord Jagannatha, is a column called the Garuda Stambha. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu usually saw Lord Jagannatha from a distance from behind this column. Behind this there is a ditch, which was filled with tears of Lord Gauranga and his handprint is melted into the Garuda Stambha.

“Non-Hindus” are strictly prohibited inside the temple But “if one is not allowed to enter the temple, or if he thinks himself unfit to enter the temple, he can look at the wheel from outside the temple, and that is as good as seeing the Deity within.”(Caitanya-caritamrita Madhya Lila 11.195, Purport).

Jagannath Temple

The Deities in the Temple

Deities of Lord Jagannatha Baladev Subhadra Devi

Lord Jagannath, the symbol of universal love and brotherhood is worshipped in the Temple along with brother Baladeva, sister Subhadra, Sudarshan, Madhava, Sridevi and Bhudevi on the Ratnabedi or the bejeuelled platform.