Spirituality is in the essence of every Indian. As the land of Sanatana dharma, one can often find a religious structure in every part of the city. In particular, temples have been part of Indian history for centuries.
One such prominent temple is the Puri Jagannath temple on the shores of Odisha, which is also one of the most visited temples in the world. Listed among the Char-Dham pilgrimage sites of India, Puri is well-known for its annual rath yatra, which takes place with much fanfare.
The city of Puri comes alive and sets vibrant tones during its annual rath yatra. You have to experience the festivities at least once in a lifetime to feel the divinity and the electric atmosphere. If you are one for traveling and witnessing the bhakti pouring out of devotees’ hearts, then Puri Jagannath rath yatra is a must on your bucket list.
Puri Jagannath Temples history
According to legends, King Indradyumna built the Jagannath temple for the first time. Lord Vishnu appeared in his dream and ordered him to find Nila Madhav. After finding the deity, he built a shire dedicated to the Lord.
Pleased with his actions, Lord Vishnu granted him a boon. When the king was taking a dip in the holy water, an iron rod floated by him, and the king heard the Lord whisper – this is my heart, and it will live in your kingdom if you say this to none. Hearing this, the king ran and placed the rod in the heart of the Nila Madhav statue for none to find it.
And since the Lord’s heart resides here, they say Puri is one of the most divine places on earth.
The temple’s construction was started by King Anantavarman Chodagangadeva and finished by his son Anangabhimadeva of the Ganga dynasty in the 12th century CE.
Puri Jagannath Temple Mystery
There is more to the temple – an ancient architectural marvel, than just being a pilgrimage place. The ancient architects have enveloped the Puri Jagannath temple in hard-to-crack mysteries. You have to see them to believe them.
So what makes Puri Jagannath temple so mysterious? Read on to know more.
Flag of the Temple
Have you ever seen a flag flying opposite the direction of the wind? If not, check the flag hoisted on the gopura of the temple. It will surprise you to see the flag flying in the direction opposite the wind flow.
There’s another intriguing tradition that has been in place since 1800 years. A priest climbs up the 45-story gopura and changes the flag every day. It is said that the temple has to be closed for the next 18 years if they miss this ritual.
Shadow of temple
The temple’s construction is unique. The temple structure does not cast a shadow at any point of the day. A marvel indeed, isn’t it?
Position of Sudarshana Chakra
Sudarshana Chakra, the most famous ayudha of Lord Krishna, is placed atop the temple structure. The chakra is 20 ft” high and weighs approximately a ton.
So the first question that crosses our minds is – how was it placed there?
Architectural science was so advanced back in the day that no matter where you stand in Puri, the chakra always seems to face you. Oh, and by the way, you can view the chakra from anywhere in Puri city.
The temple, as you know by now, is at the seashore. If you think it’s a blessing for Lord Jagannath to be on the shore listening to the serene sounds of waves every day, you could not be more wrong.
The temple has four entrances, of which Singha Dwaram is the primary entrance. It will surprise you when you step inside the temple premises through the dwaram because you cannot hear the waves at all.
Though the state or the central government has placed no restrictions, it is surprising that nothing ever flies above the temple – not even birds. Whenever we look up, we expect to see something flying above at least once a day. But here, nothing of that sort ever happens. That’s a first for us. Is it for you as well?
According to an estimate, the number of devotees at the temple varies anywhere between 2,000 to 20,000. Whenever you visit a temple, you get something like prasadam (i.e., food distributed among devotees after offering it to the supreme deity). Here also you get delicious prasad. But did you know the prasad has never been wasted, not even once?
The amount of prasadam cooked at the temple is always enough for the devotees, and not even a single grain goes to waste. No one knows how this is possible.
Another magic one can experience related to prasadam is its cooking method. They cook the prasad in 7 earthen pots stacked over one another over firewood. The norm is the food placed in the pot near to fire cooks first, and so on. At the temple, the vessel at the top gets cooked first, followed by the second, and so on.
Jagannath Rath Yatra
Puri Jagannath’s annual Rath Yatra is the world’s grandest chariot procession. Interestingly, it is the only rath yatra where all the deities – Jagannath, Balabhadra, and Subhadra – are taken out of the temple premises in a chariot. The three rath names of Lord Jagannath, Balabhadra, and Subhadra are Nandighosh, Taal Dhwaja, and Darpadalana, respectively.
Artisans build the rath or the chariots every year without using nails since they dismantle them after completion of the yatra.
After reading this, if you are keen on visiting the temple, we suggest you visit Puri when the Jagannath rath yatra takes place on June 20th, 2023. The Jagannath temple entry ticket price is nil, but you can get the pooja tickets at the ticket counter on the temple premises. If you visit, let us know if you find any more mysteries. We are always happy to hear about your experiences.