Jagarnath Temple: Puri, India - Travel and Tourism

India is a land of thousand gods, many say and the perfect epitome of it is visible throughout the length and breadth of this marvellous country. Presence of temples has been reported since the epic period of Ramayan and Mahabharat in India. Amongst the innumerable temples present in India a very famous one known as Jagarnath Temple is located in the beach city of Puri, Orissa.

This temple is primarily devoted to Lord Jagarnath which is an incarnation of Krishna (one of very prominent Hindu gods). This temple holds high religious sentiments amongst the Hindus, primarily because it is a part of Char Dham (places which every Hindu must visit in his/her lifetime) others being Badrinath, Dwarka and Rameshwaram respectively. Jagarnath Temple is the only one in India where goddess, Subhadra, sister of Lord Krishna is worshipped along with her brothers, Lord Jagannatha and Lord Balabhadra. The main temple here is about 1000 years old and constructed by Raja ChodaGanga Deva and Raja Tritiya Ananga Bhima Deva in the 12th century. As story goes this temple was an outcome of a dream which the emperor of Puri saw in his dreams, according to legend he was ordered by God almighty to create temple at a predefined location which he duly followed and the outcome was the Jagarnath Temple of Puri.

The Annual Rathayatra celebrated every year is most prominent amongst all the festivals celebrated in Puri. It has been attracting lakhs of devotees and pilgrims since time immemorial. During this festival the statues of Lord Jagarnath, Balabhadra and godess Subhadra are transferred from Jagarnath Temple to Gundicha Mandir in a hand pulled cart drawn by the pilgrims, after a stay at Gundicha for 9 days the statues are again brought back to the Jagarnath Temple and restored. To see the Lord on the Chariot on the Rathayatra day is a good omen and helps in securing salvation from the cycles of birth and death many Hindus believe. For the administrators the entire Rathayatra period is very cumbersome. Managing thousands of devotees in no easy task and many a times stampedes do occur due to heavy crowd inflow, sometimes even resulting in mass deaths. The task of organizing RathYatra in Puri is no less daunting and challenging than organizing the Kumbh Mela in Allahabad,Uttar Pradesh, India considered as the biggest gathering of human beings on the planet.

The temple Architecture is similar to other temples of Orissa like the Lingaraj temple of Bhubaneshwar and the Sun Temple of Konark. However, due to its proximity to the sea it has been covered with lime plaster to protect it from the saline climate of Jagannath Puri. The design of the inner complex has been designed with utmost care and elegance. The Administration of the temple is carried in accordance with the Sri Jagannath Temple Act of 1954 of the Orissa State Government. At the administrative level the Raja Gajapati of Jagannath Puri is the Chairman with the Collector of Jagannath Puri as the Ex-Officio Vice-Chairman.

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