Jagannath Temple, Puri - an interesting pilgrimage center with old photos

Jagannath  temple, Puri, Odisha.  .talkpundit.com

Jagannath  temple, Puri, Odisha. talkpundit.com

Above images: The 12th century Jagannath temple of Puri, Odisha  is an important  pilgrimage center for the Hindus across India One of the 'Char Dhams' (four divine sites) and centers of the cult of Sri Jagannatha,  a form of Krishna, this temple is built in Nagara style architecture  is well-known for its grandeur, beauty, fascinating sculptures both outside and inside.  The main shrine, with a towered sanctuary and mandapa with a pyramidal roof, is attributed to Anantavarman Chodaganga of the Eastern Ganga dynasty (r.1077-1147).  Other mandapas were added in the 13th and 15th Centuries.

 The rectangular  massive complex (spread over a 10 acre land - over 400,000 square feet  and is built on a mammoth raised platform) has many other minor shrines and is within a high 20 ft double-walled enclosure with four gates at the cardinal points..   over 400,000 square feet (37,000 m2),

Dola-mandapa, Jagannath  temple, Puri en.wikipedia.org

Dola-mandapa, Puri temple. alkpundit.com

Above mages: The massive free-standing torana / Hindola of the dola-mandapa in the Jagannatha Temple complex at Puri. This torana has beams with carved figures of seated lions at the end. The location is not identifiable, The wall in front of it has  sculptural panels set in niches and a large carved elephant. The annual Dol yatra is held here. photo credit: Poorno Chander Mukherji in 1890. (from the ASI) collections.....
1892, Jagannath temple, Puri, Odisha. talkpundit.com

Above image: outer  facade of the Jagannatha Temple at Puri taken by William Cornish in 1892......

.Jagannath temple and 3 wooden deities talkpundit.com

Above image: The  inner sanctum of the temple has three  deities  carved from sacred neem logs (Margosa wood) known as daru. They are   Lord Jagannath (Lord of the Universe), an incarnation of lord Vishnu along with his brother Shri Balabhadra (Balarama) and sister Subhadra Devi . They are placed on the bejeweled  platform or ratna bedi, along with other  deities of Sudarshana Chakra, Madanmohan, Sridevi and Vishwadhatri. The deities are adorned with different clothing and jewels according to the season. Unlike many south indian temples, where the moolavar, is made of rock worship of these deities suggests the link with ancient tribal shrine, pre-dating  the temple. Every 12 years, they are replaced by fresh wooden idols. Every year in June-July these idols are in seclusion for 15 days, supposedly due to fever because of frequent abhishekam. Once it is over following day there will be famous Rath yatra.  
.Rath yarta Puri temple, Odisha. talkpundit.com

Above image: The annual rath yatra  festival of puri jagannath temple is attended by a million plus people and it marks the annual visit of Lord Jagannath with his elder brother Balabhadra and sister Subhadra to Gundicha Temple via his maternal aunt’s home (Mausi Maa Temple) located near Balagandi Chaka in Puri. Hence in the rath yatra there are three chariots each carrying the idol of  Lord Jagannath, Lord Balarama and Devi.After 9 days stay the rathas will return to the main temple. 

construction of rathas (chariots), Puri temple, Odisha.talkpundit.com
Above image: Construction of the Ratha chariots of Lord Jagannatha taken by Asutosh Sinha in 1960.

The three rathas are built each year and work will star a few months before the grand rath yatra in June or July. There was no temple worship after 1558 during the occupation of  Muslim  rulers of Afghan region.  Later when Ramachandra Dev established an independent kingdom at Khurda in Orissa the Jagannath temple was sanctified and the deities were reinstalled. Since that period Rath yatra has become an important annual event.

 ruler Gajapati Maharaja Dibyasingha Devtalkpundit.com

Above image:   Among the rituals associated with rath yatra, the fascinating one is Chera Pahara. Gajapati King (ruler of this land) with a golden-handled broom will clean the street - path of the rath yatra. It implies the ruler is a humble servant to the lord.  here in the photo  ruler Gajapati Maharaja Dibyasingha Dev during the cherapahanra, on the Nandigosh chariot. Ritual Bath (Snana Yatra): The idols will be given a ritual bath 18 days before the festival on the full moon day  of Jyeshtha month.After the bath the idols are isolated  in a separate place away from public until the Ratha Yatra festival.  Photo credit: Asutosh Sinha - 1971.

1800-1900 Puri jagannath temple w.talkpundit.com

Above image:  Singhadwara is the main gate among the four  facing east  and opening on to the Bada Danda or the Grand Road. There are 22 steps (baisi pahacha in odiya) to enter the temple and they have spiritual connotations. They symbolizes 22 weaknesses of humans. In order to be united with the lord and reach his holy abode  a person has to suppress twenty two weaknesses such as kama, abamaya. himsa,ahankar, etc  a person elevates himself to the status to be united with the God. Pilgrims touch these steps in hand with reverence before entering the temple...............

Puri jagannath temple centuries ago had been invaded and plundered 18 times. The second invasion by Illias Shah the   sultan of Bengal in 1340 A.D, the  fourth invasion by commander  Ismail Ghazi (under 
 the Sultan of Bengal in the year 1509 A.D, the fifth invasion by  Kalapahara in the year 1568 AD and n 1692 A.D and Aurangzeb the Moghul  emperor invasion in 1602 caused considerable damage to the temple. Aurangzeb wanted the Jagannath temple destroyed.
Lord Jagannath. Every time, like Phoenix bird the temple emerged with more grandeur and beauty.