Alarnath Dev temple and strange ritual, Odisha

Alarnath Dev temple,Brahmagiri.
It has been a tradition to keep Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra and Lord Subhadra  of Puri,Odisha away from public view, after Snana Purnima in the month of  Jeyshta normally for  a period of fifteen days - during Krishnapaksha of Ashada.  During this two week period  in the Shreemandira the daily puja protocol and other rituals are not done. This period is popularly known  as 'Anasara' or 'Anabasara' (literally meaning 'improper time for worship). So, literally ritualistic worship is suspended at Puri Jagannath temple. According to Skanda Purana Raja Indradyumna  in order to install the wooden deities, he had arranged for a  bathing ceremony, hence, it was not the right time to have darshan. Instead of having darshan in Jagannath Temple, it is believed in this region, that Lord Jagannath during this time manifests as Alarnath Dev at the Alarnath temple in Brahmagiri, which is about 23 km from Puri.

Alarnath Dev temple.dandavts
An interesting fact that emerges from this strange tradition is that on account of  ritualistic bathing using 108 vessels (suna garas) of water, the deities  may get fever and the the wooden idols get discolored. The assumption is that the Lord of the universe and others take rest in 'Anasara Ghara'. Further, it is believed that they are being  taken care of by the Raja Vaidya (King's Physician) using Dasamulas (medicine).

During this period of rest -  fifteen days the Daitas (descendants of Viswavasu, the Savara) have the right to  repaint and restore the wooden  deities of Jagannath temple.  On the sixteenth day, 
called 'Netrotsava'(festival for the eyes), the deities sporting  new appearance give the 'Navayauvana' darshan to the devotees. The Shilpa Shastras and Agamas elaborate that temple deities are most  suitable for worship only after the rite of 'Chakshurunmilana' (opening of the eyes).The place gets sanctified when the eyes on the idols are open. During this period  people in thousands visit the temple to have a darshan of Lord Jagannath as Alarnath Dev. They also get a delicious prasad called  Kheer bhog at the Alarnath temple. According to temple priests of Puri  Alarnath is  a form of Lord Jagannath who blesses the people in this region.

 According to the Sthalapurana  during the 'Anasara' period, the ardent devotee  Prabhu Chaitnya Dev had the Darshan of Lord Jagannath as Alarnath. Likewise, he never failed to have darshan of the lord at  Jagannath Temple. But after Snana Purnima was over, Sri Prabhu Chaitanya Dev was not able to see Mahaprabhu in the temple and asked the temple priests  where was my  lord Jagannath. When the priests replied politely  that the Lord was suffering from fever and was taking rest, so, darshan was impossible, then Sri Prabhu Chaitanya Devji told them that if he would not get darshan today itself,  then he would kill himself by plunging into  the ocean. Lord Jagannath himself told  Sri Prabhu Chaitanya Dev -  O Chaitnya, I am doing a 'leela'- sort of miracle in the form of Brahma in Brahmagiri, now you come  to this place to have  my Darshan, It is believed that devotees get the same 'phal' here as they desire from a darshan of lord Jagannah in Puri.

idol of Alarnath Dev temple,
Ever since Sri Chaitanya came to see Alarnath in the 16th century, this place has gained popularity. Hence the place is known as the temporary abode of Lord Jagannath. During these days, same amount of Prasad is offered to Alarnath everyday as it happens in Jagannath Temple in Puri.
Puri-Brahmagiri location map.
 Lord Alarnath temple in Brahmagiri, is a famous religious place for all Krishna devotees. This temple gains much importance when Puri temple is closed for Anavasara, during which period Lord Jagannatha takes rest in privacy from the rest of the world after suffering from fever due to the annual bathing festival (Snana Yatra). During this time lakhs of people go to Brahmagiri to worship Lord Jagannath (Alaarnath 

It is believed that the darshan of  lord Alarnath, during this period - 15 days is important and whoever worships here with devotion and faith will be absolved of all sins. The main offering to the deity here is  'Payas' or 'Kheer' Bhog prepared with milk and rice. This temporary abode of lord Jagannath is believed to be a source of spiritual bliss for the ardent devotees. 

It is needless to point out that here Lord Vishnu is in the form of Lord Alarnath and he has four arms, He holds chakra in his upper right hand, Lotus in his lower right hand, Conch (sanghu) in his upper left hand and a club in his lower left hand, Lord Vishnu's mount eagle, known as Garuda, kneels at the feet of the deity with his hands in supplication. Besides, there are  deities of Lord Krishna's consorts Rukmini and Satyabhama  inside the temple. There is an idol of  Lord Chaitnya inside the temple. There is a stone slab in front of the deity bearing the impression of  Lord Chaitnya's body. When Lord Chaitanya prostrated in front of Lord Alarnath, the stone below Lord Chaitnya melted from His blissful touch. There is a lake behind the temple where Chandan Yatra is celebrated for 21 days in every year.

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