Puri Jagannath temple is very famous for Jagannatha Radha Yatra. The temple is one of the oldest temples in India. The Ratha Yatra festival attracted Hindu devotees and other religious people worldwide. The Ratha Yatra festival is celebrated at the premises of Jagannatha Mandir in Puri, Odisha. The parade of the chariots is Lord Jagannatha, Subhadra, and Balarama passionated the devotees with utmost devotion.
Jagannath Temple History
The idol of the Puri temple appears very different. There is an interesting story behind why Jagannath seems like that. King Indradyumna, the puranic King, was a great devotee of Lord Vishnu and wanted to meet Him face to face. One day a Brahmin who was also a great devotee of Lord Vishnu arrived at the court of King Indradyumna and met the King. During their conversation, the Brahmin devotee talks about the incarnation of Lord Vishnu as Nila Madhava. But the Brahmin failed to inform the place where Nila Madhava stayed. Then king Indradyumna with great enthusiasm called the Brahmins, who had good knowledge of the religious spirit, and told them about the incarnation of Lord Vishnu as Nila Madhava and asked them to trace the place where Nila Madhava stayed. All the Brahmins went in different directions to search for the Lord. After a few days, all of them failed to locate the place of Nila Madhava, and they came to the capital city of the King and informed their disability of tracing the presence of God. But among the Brahmins, one of the priests named Vidyapati did not return and disclose any information.
Vidyapati Search For Lord Jagannath
Vidyapati’s search did not come to an end. Finally, he went to a village called Sabara, where the non-Aryan population was. He enquired about a holy priest, Visvavasu, who wanted to take shelter in his house. When Vidyapati arrived at the priest’s house, only a woman named Lalitha stayed lonely, the daughter of Vivvavasu. Vidyapati waited for Visvavasu to beg for shelter in his house. In a short time, the master of the house returned, knew the guest’s desire, and instructed his daughter to render all service needed for hospitality to the brahmana guest. Vidyapati stayed there for some time in search of Nila Madhava. The humble nature of Vidyapati infused Vishvasu to request him to marry his daughter Lalitha.
The host, Visvavasu, would go out every day and return to the house with sandalwood fragrances. Vidyapati noticed the peculiar behaviour of Visvavasu and his wife Lalitha for the cause. Lalitha, with love for his husband, made to reveal the secret about her father’s worship to Nila Madhava. Then Vidyapati requested Visvavasu to see Nila Madhava. First, Visvavasu was not agreed to take him to the place of Nila Madhava. But the repeated requests of Vidyapati made Visvavasu take him to the area of Nila Madhava. While going to the site, Visvavasu blindfolded Vidyapati; in the meantime, Vidyapati secretly carried some mustard seeds in his cloth and dropped them onto the path. When they reached Nila Madhava, the blindfold was removed, and Vidyapati saw Lord Nila Madhava. Then Visvavasu went out to collect some forest flowers from worshipping, and VIdyapati stayed near the Deity. In the meantime, a crow fell into a lake from a nearby tree branch and drowned. It immediately took a four-armed Vaikuntha form and returned to the spiritual world. Vidyapati saw all these events, and then he climbed onto the tree and was about to jump into the lake. Then he listened to a voice from the sky and said: “since you have seen Nila Madhava, you should inform King Indradyumna.”
Visvavasu returned as standard and paid the offers to Nila Madhava. During his prayers, the Lord spoke to him and said, Till I accept the simple forest flowers and roots offered by you. Now I desire the royal worship offered to me in devotion by King Indradyumna. Then Visvavasu got angry with Vidyapati, bounded him up, and kept him in his house for his cheating. His daughter repeatedly requested his father for her husband’s release. Then Visvavasu agreed for him to be free.
Later Vidyapati met King Indradyumna and told the whole story. As soon as the King heard the story started to see Nila Madhava and followed the mustard seeds, which had grown into tiny plants. Finally, they reached the place where Vidyapati saw Nila Madhava. But they could not find the God there, and the King got angry at their failed attempt and ordered them to besiege the village Sabara and arrest Visvavasu. Suddenly a voice came from the sky, ‘Release this, Sabara. On top of Nila hill, you should construct a temple. There I will manifest as Daru-Brahman, the absolute truth displayed in a wooden form.
After listening to the words, the King released Sabara and constructed the Jagannath temple for Lord Vishnu. He covered the Puri Jagannath temple with sand and travelled to Brahmaloka to invite Lord Brahma to consecrate the Jagannath temple. While he was gone, Suradeva and Galamadhava became King of the area. King Galamadhava uncovered the temple from the sand and declared he had constructed the temple. Shortly afterwards, King Indradyumna returned from Brahma’s abode, found the story, and felt sad. When Lord Brahma came and listened to the two advocates of the kings. Lord Brahma saw an old crow sitting nearby a banyan tree, constantly singing the glories of Lord Rama. Lord Brahma went to the crow and asked who constructed the temple. The crow had seen the construction of the Jagannath temple and said that Indradyumna had built the temple and that Galamadhava had just uncovered it. Then Lord Brahma ordered Galamadhava to live outside the Jagannath Mandir compound on the western side of Indradyumna Sarovara lake.
Then Indradyumna asked Lord Brahma to consecrate the Jagannath temple and the surrounding area, called Sri Kshetra, which gives the highest type of liberation. Lord Brahma told him that Sri Kshetra manifested by the Supreme Lord’s internal potency and that the Supreme Lord manifests Himself. Therefore, he could not install the Lord here; instead, he would establish the flag on the Jagannath Mandir, who sees this flag and offers prostrated obeisance and would easily be liberated.
After a while, Indradyumna became frustrated with not seeing Nila Madhava. He decided to fast until death, so lie on a bed of Kusa grass. With his effort, one night, Lord Jagannath came to him in a dream and told him I should come floating from the sea in my wooden form as Daru-Brahman at the place called Bakugan. The next day the King went to Bakimuhan and saw a massive piece of wood with the marks of a conch, club, disc and lotus. But Daru-brahman was unable to move from there with many men and elephants. That night in a dream, Lord Jagannatha spoke to Indrayumna and instructed him to bring Visvavasu, who served Nila Madhava, and a golden chariot in front of Daru-brahman. The next day the King brought Visvavasu and a golden chariot. Visvavasu offered his prayers when Daru-brahman quickly placed them onto the chariot. Lord Brahma then performed a sacrifice and established a Deity of Narasimhadeva on the raised platform of the sacrifice arena, which is now on the western side of the Mukti Mandapam.
Now King Indradyumna called many expert sculptors to carve the Daru-brahman. None of them was able to touch Daru-brahman. If anyone tried to cut, their chisels broke and fell into pieces. Finally, the Supreme Lord Himself came as an old artist and introduced himself as Ananta Maharana. He promised to carve the Deity in 24 days if allowed to work behind closed doors. Ananta Maharana directed other sculptures to make three chariots, took Daru-brahman into the temple and closed the doors. After fourteen days, the King could not hear the sound of the artist’s tools. So with over anxiety, the King opened the temple door with his hands.
The King did not see the sculptor. Instead, he saw the three forms of Lord Jagannath, Subhadra and Lord Balarama. Their fingers and toes were unfinished. The King felt deep trouble himself and decided to give up his life, then lay on a bed of Kusa grass and began to fast. Again Lord Jagannath appeared to him in a dream and told the King that, He is eternally situated here in Nilachala in the form of Lord Jagannath as Daru-brahman. In the material world, I descended in 24 deity incarnations along with my abode. I have no earthly hands and feet, but with my metaphysical senses, I accept all the items My devotees offer. And they also said that those in the sculptor’s family who manifested your form would continue to assist in constructing three carts. The descendants of Vivavasu who served Me as Nila Madhava should do Me one generation after generation. They are called fajitas. The descendants of Vidyapati and his brahmana wife should perform the Deity, and the descendants from another wife, Lalita, should cook My food. They are now called sugar.
Jagannath Temple At present:
Then King Indradyumna requested Lord Jagannath that the doors of the Jagannath temple should be closed only 3 hours a day. He would not have any descendants so that no one in the future would claim the temple of Lord Jagannath as their property.