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    1. Jagannath Temple, Puri

      Hindu temple in Puri, India
    2. The Jagannath Temple of Puri is a famous, sacred Hindu temple dedicated to Jagannath and located on the eastern coast of India, at Puri in the state of Odisha. Wikipedia
    3. Address: Grand Road, Puri, Odisha 752001
    4. Opened: 1161
    5. Function: Hindu temple
    6. Phone: 06752 222 002
    7. Architectural styles: Hindu temple architecture, Kalinga architecture, Dravidian architecture
    8. Write a review

      “World famous tourist place.”
      Ancient temple, poorly maintained, no amenities for visitors and full of thugs.”
      “Good holy temple must to visit.”

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    2. Puri (City in India)
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Rath Yatra 2015 date – Puri Jagannath Rath Yatra – Puri Rath Yatra Chariot Festival 2015 date in Puri in India

Puri Rath Yatra, the world famous chariot or car festival, at the Puri Jagannath Temple in Orissa. Puri Rath Yatra 2015 date is July 18. It is celebrated on the second day of the Shukla Paksha (waxing phase of moon or bright fortnight) Ashadh month as per traditional Oriya Calendar. On the day of the Ratha Yatra (car festival), chariots (Rath) carrying Lord Jagannath, Balabhadra and Subhadra is pulled to the nearby Gundicha Temple.

At the world famous Puri Jagannath Temple in Orissa, Lord Krishna is worshipped as ‘Jagannath’ – ‘master of the universe.’ Balabhadra is the elder brother of Lord Krishna and Subhadra is his younger sister.

The making of the Rathas for the annual festival begins on the Akshaya Tritiya day. The main rituals associated with Puri Rath Yatra festival is spread over a month and several rituals, like Snana Purnima and Anasara, take place during this period.

The Snana Yatra or Snana Purnima (Bathing Festival) takes place on the full moon day in the month of Jyestha (May – June). On this day, the three deities are bathed in 108 pitchers of water.

After the elaborate Snana Yatra festival, the three deities stay away from public view and this is known as ‘Anasara.’ It is believed that after such elaborate ritualistic bath the deities catch fever and therefore they do not return to the sanctum sanctorum of the temple.

The idols of the three deities then make an appearance after 15 days of ‘anasara’ in a new appearance known as ‘Navaya Yauvana Vesha.’ The wooden idols of the deities are given a fresh coat of paint.

Next auspicious ceremony is the world famous Ratha Yatra. On this day, thousands of devotees pull the three huge chariots carrying Lord Jagannath, Balabhadra and Subhadra through the grand road (Bada Danda) to the GundichaTemple. The deities visit their aunt here.

The three deities enter the temple of their aunt on the next day and stay there for seven days.

On the fifth day, Goddess Lakshmi, wife of Lord Jagannath, comes in search of him to the Gundicha temple.

On finding his chariot there, she damages Jagannath’s chariot and returns back in anger.

After the week-long stay, the three deities return and the journey is known as Bahuda Yatra.

During the return journey, the chariot of Jagannath stops at the Ardhasani Temple (Mausa Ma temple). Here, Lord accepts his favorite rice cake known as Poda Pitha from his aunt who is the presiding deity of the temple.

The deities reach the Puri Jagannath Temple in the evening and wait outside for the day.

On the next day, the deities are attired in new costumes and this new form of the idols is known as ‘Suna Vesa.’

The following day, the deities move into the sanctum sanctorum of the temple and the Rath Yatra festival comes to an end


Sri Jagannatha – Lord of the Universe

O Jagannatha, Lord of the Universe, please be visible before my eyes

Jagannatha Swami nayana pata gami bhavatu me!

“O Jagannatha, Lord of the Universe, please be visible before my eyes.”

The Appearance of Lord Jagannatha

Five thousand years ago, Lord Krishna, with His elder brother Balarama and His younger sister Subhadra, once visited Kurukshetra in a chariot. Two thousand years later, King Indradyumna started the temple of Jagannatha in Orissa at Puri, and he wanted to establish a picture in the temple of Krishna, Subhadra, and Balarama coming to Kuruksetra in the chariot during solar eclipse. He employed Visvakarma to carve them from wood, and made a contract with Visvakarma that the sculptor would do his work behind closed doors and the King should not disturb him. But the King, being very impatient to see, forcefully opened the door. Visvanatha stopped carving, but the king decided, “Never mind it is half finished. I shall install these deities in the temple.” Since then, the three deities Jagannatha, Balarama and Subhadra are being worshiped in India at Jagannatha Puri.

Baladeva - Subhadra - Jagannatha

Baladeva – Subhadra – Jagannatha

The significance of Jagannatha Puri and the story of how the Deities first appeared goes back many hundreds of years to the time of King Indradyumna, who was a great devotee of Lord Vishnu. It is related that one time in his court the King heard from a devotee about an incarnation of Lord Vishnu, named Nila-madhava. (Nila-madhava is the Deity form of Lord Vishnu.) The King very much wanted to see this form of the Supreme and sent many Brahmanas to search for Nila-madhava. All came back unsuccessful except for Vidyapati, who did not come back at all. He had wandered to a distant town which was populated by a tribe of people known as Shabaras of non-Aryan heritage. He had stayed in the house of Visvasu, and later, at Visvasu’s request, married his daughter, Lalita.

After some time Vidyapati noticed that Visvasu would leave the house every night and return at noon the next day. Vidyapati asked his wife about this. Though her father had ordered her not to tell anyone, she told Vidyapati that Visvasu would go in secret to worship Nila-madhava. After repeated requests, Vidyapati finally got permission to go see Nila-madhava, only if he went blindfolded. But Vidyapati’s wife had bound some mustard seeds in his cloth so that a trail could be left to follow later. When they reached the shrine, Vidyapati saw the Deity Nila-madhava after the Shabara took off the blindfold, and he felt great ecstasy.

The story continues to relate that while Visvasu was out collecting items for worship, Vidyapati saw a bird fall into the nearby lake and drown. The soul of the bird suddenly took a spiritual form and ascended back to the spiritual world. Vidyapati wanted to do the same and climbed the tree to jump in the lake. Then a voice from the sky declared that before he jumped he should tell Indradyumna that he had found Nila-madhava.

When Visvasu returned to worship the Deity, Nila-madhava spoke and said that He had accepted the simple worship from him for so many days, but now He wanted to accept the opulent worship that would be offered by King Indradyumna. When Vidyapati went back to tell the King, Indradyumna immediately went to find Nila-madhava but could not locate Him. So the King arrested Visvasu, but a voice told him to release the Shabara and that he should build a temple on top of Nila Hill where the King would see the Lord as Daru-brahman, the wooden manifestation of the Absolute.

After great endeavor, King Indradyumna built the temple at Sri Kshetra, now known as Jagannatha Puri, and later prayed to Lord Brahma to consecrate it. However, Lord Brahma said that it was not within his power to consecrate the temple since Sri Kshetra is manifested by the Supreme’s own internal potency and is where the Lord manifests Himself. So Brahma simply put a flag on top of the temple and blessed it, saying that anyone who from a distance saw the flag and offered obeisances would easily be liberated from the material world. Nonetheless, after much waiting the King became anxious since Nila-madhava had not manifested Himself. Thinking his life was useless, the King decided he should end his life by fasting. But in a dream the Lord said that He would appear floating in from the sea in His form as Daru-brahman.

The King went to the shore and found a huge piece of wood that had the markings of a conch, disc, club, and lotus. This was Daru-brahman. But try as they might, the men could not budge the wood. In a dream the Lord spoke to the King and instructed him to get Visvasu and put a golden chariot in front of Daru-brahman. After doing this and forming a kirtana party to chant the holy names, and praying for Daru-brahman to mount the chariot, Daru-brahman was easily moved. Lord Brahma performed a sacrifice where the present temple now stands and installed a Deity of Lord Narasimhadeva, the Deity that is now on the western side of the temple.

From the wooden Daru-brahman, the King requested many expert carvers to carve the form of the Deity, but none could do so for their chisels immediately broke when they touched the wood. Finally the architect of the demigods, Visvakarma, (some say the Lord Himself) arrived as an old artist, Ananta Maharana, and promised that he would carve the Deity form of the Lord inside the temple in three weeks if the King would allow him to work behind closed doors. But after 14 days the King became very anxious because he could no longer hear the sounds of the carving. Finally he could stand it no more. On the advice of the queen he personally opened the doors of the temple to see what was happening. Then he saw the forms of Lord Jagannatha, Lord Balarama, and Lady Subhadra. But because the King had opened the doors sooner than he was supposed to, the Deities were not completed; Their feet and hands had not yet been carved. Thus, the Supreme manifested Himself in this form.

The King felt he had committed a great offense for having opened the doors before the allotted three weeks had passed, so he decided to end his life. But in a dream Lord Jagannatha told the King that though he had broken his promise, this was just a part of the Supreme’s pastimes to display this particular form. The King was told that this form, even though it appeared to be incomplete, was actually the form of the Lord that was meant to be worshiped in this age of Kali-yuga. Occasionally the King could decorate the Deity with golden hands and feet. Yet those devotees filled with love would always see the form of Lord Jagannatha as the threefold bending form of Syamasundara, Krishna, holding a flute. Thus, the Supreme appeared in this form so that people could approach and see Him, especially as He rides through town on the huge carts during the Ratha-Yatra festival.

Five hundred years ago, Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu went to live at Jagannatha Puri after taking sannyasa. He enjoyed many pastimes there worshipping the deities of Lord Jagannatha (Lord Krsna), Balarama and Subhadra, and dancing in ecstasy before the ratha yatra cart at the yearly festival in Puri.

In the Gaura-ganoddesa-dipika (118) it is said that King Indradyumna later took birth again in his own family as Maharaja Prataparudra, during the time of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Maharaja Prataparudra was as powerful as King Indra. He belonged to the dynasty of the Ganga king, his capital was in Cuttak, and he was the Emperor of Orissa and a great devotee of Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. The drama named Caitanya-candrodaya was written under his direction.

The records of Sri Jagannatha Temple in Puri reveal that after Maharaja Indradyumna had the deities installed in the temple, he requested Lord Brahma to prescribe the proper worship of Lord Jagannath (seva, puja and niti), which included twelve annual yatras, of which ratha yatra is the main one.

Lord Jagannatha
Lord Jagannatha
Lord Jagannatha
Lord Jagannatha
Baladev, Jagannatha Subhadra
Baladev Subhadra Jagannatha

Lord Jagannatha’s Rathayatra Chariot Festival

Ratha yatra is a celebration of the occasion when Sri Krsna (Lord Jagannatha) attended a religious function in Kuruksetra some 5,000 years ago, traveling from Dwarka in a big chariot along with Subhadra and Balarama. In remembrance of that event, the car festival takes place in Jagannath Puri every year, and millions of people go there to participate. Today, ratha yatra festivals are performed at temples around the world, and they are one of the paraphernalia of our Krsna Consciousness movement because they revive our consciousness about Krsna.

Rathayatra Chariot Festival in Jagannath Puri, Orissa India

Rathayatra Chariot Festival in Jagannath Puri, Orissa India

Each year in Jagannath Puri, three enormous chariots are built anew for Lord Jagannatha, Balarama and Subhardra. Over 1,000 logs are brought from the Dasapalla and Ranpur forests, and more than 100 carpenters work for two months constructing the three chariots. A local mill provides nearly 2,000 meters of cloth each year, and the chariots are radiantly draped in color. Very strong coconut fiber ropes, 8 inches in diameter, are used by the devotees to pull the chariots along the parade route. The nails, brackets and fixtures are all made locally, and the smiths work for a month on them. The ratha’s main structure (above the wheels) contains eighteen pillars and roofs. Each chariot holds nine parswadevatas (subsidiary deities), two dwarapalas (door keepers), one Sarathi (charioteer) and one presiding deity of the crest banner (dhwaja devata), and all are made of wood.

In Oriya, the language of Orissa, the word “yatra” means journey, or tour. Yatra might be performed on foot (pada yatra), by train, or by air (vimana yatra). Advanced devotees are also able to perform invisible yatra, traveling with the subtle body. For Lord Jagannatha’s ratha yatra, the means of transport for Lord Jagannatha, Balarama and Subhardra is by way of chariot, or ‘car’. This chariot vehicle is known as “ratha”.

Once each year, for a period of about 15 days, Lord Jagannatha travels out to spread his mercy. Those who have the good fortune to view the Jagannatha deities, or who help to pull the chariots along on their ropes, are benedicted by the Lord during the ratha yatra parade.

Lord Jagannatha

Srila Prabhupada said, “Therefore if you participate in these car festivals, as it is stated in the scriptures, rathe ca vamanam drstva punar janma na vidyate… If you kindly see these Jagannatha deities riding on these cars and in procession, and as Caitanya Mahaprabhu chanted the Hare Krsna mantra in front of this car, then according to our Vedic scripture, in your next life you’ll go to back, back to home, back to Godhead.”

Lord Chaitanya’s Pastimes in Jagannatha Puri

Sri Jagannathastakam

You may also like to read

About the Puri Jagannath Rathas – the size and dimensions

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How to Identify the Chariot of Balabhadra

How to identify the chariot of Subhadra?

Lord Jagannath and the English word Juggernaut

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