Jagannath temple, Puri and Aruna stambha - it was installed to honor the Sun God of Konarak temple, Odisha

 Normally, one would find the Garuda Stambha in front of Vishnu temples, as he is the vahana of the god. In Puri  Jagannath temple dedicated to Vishnu one will find a tall  stone stampha at the Lion gate.entrance.  In the capital of the  25 ft tall pillar there is an image of  Aruna (charioteer of Sun). This monolithic pillar was originally at  Konark Sun temple.  

1870 Aruna stambha, Jagannath temple puri. en.wikipedia.org

Above image: The Singhadwara in 1870 -showing the Lion sculptures with the Aruna Stambha Pillar in the foreground......

Aruna-stambha, Jagannatha Temple, Puri. commons.wikimedia.org

Aruna-stambha (pillar)of the Jagannatha Temple, Puri. .hindu-blog.com

Aruna-stambha (pillar)of the Jagannatha Temple, Puri.wikipedia
Aruna-stambha (pillar)of the Jagannatha Temple, Puri.  talkpundit.com

Located in front of the lion gate -Singhadwara of Jagannath temple, Puri, Aruna Stambha is tall sixteen-sided monolithic well polished stone  ( made of choloritic rock) pillar (on the east side). It is believed to be 700 years old.  Among the four stambhas in the Hindu temples of north India, Dharma stambha, Sakthi stambha, Garuda stambha and  Teja Stambha, the latter  (also called or Aruna Stambha)  is found in front of the Sun Temple whereas  the Prasanna Stambha, also known as Garuda Stambha, is found in front of Vaishnava temples. Daily rituals or pujas are offered to the Aruna pillar by the Churana or garuda sevikas of the temple. It is an elegant creation set on a well-carved pedestal.

Aruna stambha, Puri temple.shreekhetra.com

This pillar has an idol of Arun,  the charioteer of the sun god Surya, on its top forming the capital along with  a floral base with layers of lotus flower petals,  Aruna is  is seen praying with folded hands in a gesture of supplication. Earlier the pillar was  at  the UNESCO World heritage site Konark Sun Temple. During the reign of  Bhoi King Dibyasingha Deva, the Maratha guru Brahmachari Gosain brought it to Puri and had it erected near the Lion gate in the1790s as per the Puri  temple records. In the 15th and 16th centuries, Konarak temple was damaged by Muslim invasion. When  abandoned to despair and worship ceased at Konark temple in the absence of the presiding deity,  necessity arose  to shift  the stambha to a safer place in the 18th century CE. 

It is said the the stone  image of Aruna  and the  platform on which three wooden idols are placed in the garbhagriha (sanctum)   are said to be at the same level. Though garuda pillar is the core of this temple in the Nata mandapa (dancing hall) since its inception, the Aruna stambha is not; however the sun is the vedic god, it is right to install it before the Jagannath temple (a form of Vishnu). It is installed at puri to honor the sun god. ”The pillar is a masterpiece of art that bears eloquent testimony of the impeccable history of Odia sculpture, according to Andrew Sterling, a British administrator and  also the Collector of Cuttack.

Pilgrims before entering the temple  from  Bada Danda (main road). will never miss the 34 ft (including the base and the capital; actual height is 25 ft) free standing tall stone pillar. The diameter of the pillar is 2 feet. The pillar has a wide base  which is carved with many scenes related to war and other figures. 

 Old image - Photo credit:  William Henry Cornish around 1892