Puri Jagannath temple is very famous for Jagannatha Radha Yatra. The temple is one of the oldest temples in India. The Ratha Yatra festival is attracted not only the Hindu devotees but also other religious people all over the world. The Ratha Yatra festival 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 Puri temple appears very different. There is an interesting story behind why Jagannath appears like that. King Indradyumna, the puranic king was a great devotee of Lord Vishnu and want to meet Him face to face. One day a Brahmin who was also a great devotee of Lord Vishnu arrived in 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 was failed to inform the place where Nila Madhava stayed. Then king Indradyumna with great enthusiasm called the Brahmins who had good knowledge in the religious spirit and inform 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 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 informed any information.
Vidyapati Search For Lord Jagannath
Vidyapati’s search did not come to end, finally, he came to a village called Sabara, where the non-Aryan population was more. He enquired for a holy priest named Visvavasu and wanted to take shelter in his house. When Vidyapati arrived the priest’s house there was only a woman named Lalitha stayed lonely, who was 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 and known the desire of the guest and instructed to 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 back to the house with fragrances of sandalwood. Vidyapati noticed the peculiar behaviour of Visvavasu and his wife Lalitha for the cause. Lalitha with love on 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 to take him to the place of Nila Madhava. While going to the place Visvavasu blindfolded Vidyapati, at 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 to worship and VIdyapati stayed near the Deity. At the meantime, a crow fell into a lake from a branch of a nearby tree and drowned. It immediately took a four-armed Vaikuntha form and started back to the spiritual world. Vidyapati saw all these events and then he climbed up onto the tree and was about to jump into the lake. Then he listens to a voice from the sky and said: “since you have seen Nila Madhava, you should inform King Indradyumna.”
Visvavasu returned as common and paid the offers to Nila Madhava. During his prayers, the Lord spoke to him and said, Till I accepted 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 on Vidyapati and bounded him up and kept in his house for his cheating. His daughter requested repeatedly his father for her husband’s release. Then Visvavasu agreed on him to free.
Later Vidyapati met the 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 small 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 fail attempt and ordered to besiege the village Sabara and arrested 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, means the absolute truth manifested in a wooden form.
After listening to the words the King released Sabara and constructed 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, first Suradeva and then Galamadhava became king of the area. The king Galamadhava uncovered the temple from the sand and declared he constructed the temple. Shortly afterwards, King Indradyumna return from Brahma’s abode and find the story and felt sad. When Lord Brahma came and listen to the two advocates of the kings. Lord Brahma saw an old crow sat nearby a banyan tree by 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 of 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, which was called Sri Kshetra and 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 of on that he would install the flag on the Jagannath Mandir, who sees this flag and offers prostrated obeisance 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 shall come floating from the sea in my wooden form as Daru-Brahman at the place called bakimuhan. Next day the King went to Bakimuhan and saw a huge piece of wood which had the marks of a conch, club, disc and lotus on it. 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 golden chariot. Visvavasu offered his prayers as soon as Daru-brahman easily placed 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 carve, 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 he were allowed to work behind closed doors. Ananta Maharana directed other sculptures to engage in making three chariots and he took Daru-brahman into the temple and closed the doors. After fourteen days had passed, the King was unable to hear the sound of the artist’s tools. So with over anxiety, the king opened the door of the temple with his own 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 to 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 material hands and feet, but with my transcendental senses, I accept all the items offered by My devotees. And also said that those in the family of the sculptor who manifested your form will continue to assist in constructing of three carts. The descendants of Vivavasu who served Me as Nila Madhava should serve Me one generation after generation. They are called dayitas. 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 called now as suyaras.
Jagannath Temple At present:
Then the King Indradyumna requested Lord Jagannath that the doors of the Jagannath temple should be closed only 3 hours a day and he would not have any descendants so that no one in the future would claim the temple of Lord Jagannath as their own property.