16 September, 2006

Deities in Jagannatha temple

Sri Mandira Parikrama

There is a prescribed order that a piligrim should follow while at Lord Jagannatha temple. There are a little over 40 deities at the Sri mandir. The "Parikrama" or the circumambulation should be in the following order:

  1. Standing behind the "Aruna Sthamba" look at the temple sphere (Nila Chakra) and the flag and pay respect to them.

  2. Enter through the Lion's gate and pay respect to Patitapvan-- a replica of Lord Jagannath on the right and Fate-Hanuman on the left.

  3. Visit Kasi Visvanatha, Ramachandra and Narasimha on the left

  4. Climb 22 steps and enter the inner enclosure. Keep to the left and visit Agniswar Mahadeva temple (the protector of Agni of the Lord's Kitchen)

  5. Satyanarayana

  6. Bata (my friend from Orissa says you should pronounce it as "Batta") Gopal, Bata Krishna, Bala Mukunda (tiny image of Krishna sleeping on a banyan leaf sipping his toe to check whether it is Nectrine)

  7. Hari Sahadeva (supervisor of Lord's cattle stock)

  8. Bata Vihari Jagannath (Bata Abakash)

  9. Siddha Ganesha, Siddha Vinayak, Swetha Ganesha

  10. Bata Mangala on the right

  11. Pancha Pandav Shiva: Markandeya, Lokanatha, Kapala Mochana, Nilakantha, Yameshwara

  12. Bata Mangala

  13. Ananta Vasudeva

  14. Kuttam Chandi

  15. Aadi Narasimha and Mukteshwara temple

  16. Rohini Kunda

  17. Ganesha with eight hands in dancing form in front of Vimala Temple

  18. Goddess Vimala

  19. Venu Madhava

  20. Shri Nanda Maharaj

  21. Shri Rama Padapadma

  22. Shri SakhiGopal (also known as Sakshi Gopal)

  23. Bhadra Ganesha and Kanchi Ganesha (brought by Purushottama Deva from Kanchi)

  24. Ekadashi Devi

  25. Khirachora Gopinatha

  26. Pancha Shakti temple -- Bhuvaneshwari, Saraswathi, Sashthi, Savithri, Gayathri

  27. Nilaa Madhava

  28. Bedha Kali

  29. Lakshmi

  30. Navagraha

  31. Suryanarayana

  32. Shri Rama

  33. Paataaleshwar

  34. Then approach the temple through the northern gate, climb seven stairs, stand behind the Garuda pillar and have a quick glimpse of the Lord. Enter the Garbhagruha and see the lord from near

  35. Come back to the same same gate, and see Satyanarayana and Mahalakshmi

  36. Enter Ananda Bazaar, take prasada and leave the temple through Simhadvaara

  37. Note: There are many more deities that I haven't mentioned in the list above.

    A man who probably was a Brahman priest standing near the Aruna Sthamba approached us as we were entering the temple and offered to take us around the temple and also describe the greatness of each deity in the temple premises of the Lord for eleven rupees. He took us around the temple and also narrated a few legends. Since I have returned from Puri, I have been trying to verify the legends that he narrated. But I haven't found any similar legend on the net. So I presume none of what he said was true. But he did tell us some really interesting legends :).

    You will need the help of one such person if you have to get into the sanctum sanctorum of the lord. With large number of devotees visiting the temple every day and with absolutely no discipline maintained by these devotees in entering the temple, it becomes very difficult to enter without the help of these people. They not only take you around the temple in the prescribed order, but also surprisingly push all the other devotees and make way for you to enter the temple. But we weren't very fortunate on that day as the man who took us around the temple showed us the counter where we could buy the ticket and left. Since people in Puri were celebrating "Janmashtami" on that particular day, there were more devotees than there are on other days. The ticket counter was also closed and we decided to eat the "prasadam" and then buy the ticket later.

    Though there are a lot of deities and other interesting things in the temple premises, I will only update this post with what I find interesting.

    Nila Chakra

    The Nila chakra is made of an alloy of eight different metals known as "Ashta Dhatu". A flag is tied every day on a mast attached to the Nila Chakra. The wheel is comprised of two circles. Eight bars connect the inner and the outer circles. According to shwetaswatar Upanishad, the whole universe is a wheel and the bars of the wheel are mind, wisdom, selfness, sky, earth, sun, wind and water. These eight factors compose the human body. 'Pashupata Darshan' describes that the universe is a wheel and lord Shankara is moving around sitting on this wheel.
    When the sense of a yogi culminates upto Sahasrara Chakra, it is Sudarshana Chakra on the temple where the Yogi attains Brahma, losing his personal identity. In Shri Mandir when a devotee's soul reaches 'Nilachakra' he elevates to infinity and attains salvation. So a 'darshan' of the Chakra on the top of the temple is equal to reaching the 'Sahasra Chakra' in the body through meditation and enjoying the ecstasy of achieving eternity.
    A yogi visualises the supreme effulgence when his soul is united with Param Brahma. The yogi views the blaze is his sahasra Chakra atop the body. But to a common devotee in Shri Mandir, on every "Ekadashi" day a lamp lit at the NilaChakra is the symbol of viewing the balze of Param Brahama (Deepam Jyothih Param Brahma) .

    There are lots of legends associated with this temple There is a legend associated with the chakra too. Hazuri Balabhadra, the grand son of Chakhi Kuntia-- who was a great hero and worshipper of Lord Jagannatha, was standing on the roof of his house at 5A.M. in the month of July, in the year 1940. He saw strange light coming from the Chakra like a clear line of brilliant light leaving the temple at high speed. This lasted for more than 10 minutes. Out of curiosity, he asked father, who replied that Hazuri Balabhadra had seen the vehicle of devas coming to Lord Jagannath's temple.

    Patitapavan (Redeemer of the fallen)

    This deity holds both historical and religious importance. It is a small replica of Lord Jagannath. Historians believe that the deity was installed by Raja Ramachandra Deva-II to enable the non-hindus to have a darshan of the Lord.

    RamaChandra Deva, succeeded Gopinatha Deva in 1732. By this time, Muhammad Taqui Khan, the illegitimate son of Sujauddin, the Nazim of Bengal, was made the Naib Nazim in Orissa and he invaded the temple of Jagannatha being attracted by its wealth. The worshippers of Jagannatha apprehending his motives had taken away the idols of the lord and concealed on an island in Chilka lake. Taqui Khan defeated and imprisoned Raja RamaChandra Deva II in Cuttack. He forcibly converted Ramachandras Deva to Islam and named him Hafiz Qadar Muhammad. After Taqui Khan's death in 1734, Murshid Quli Khan II became the Naib Nazim of Orissa. He was a good administrator and helped reinstall the idol of Jagannatha and restored the worship in the temple. He also gave his daughter in marriage to Hafiz Qadar (Ramachandra Deva). Ramachandra Deva was ousted from the hindu society and was also deserted by his own family because of his change of religion.

    Rama Chandra Mishra in his book "Purushottama Kshetra" writes that Raja Ramachandra Dev married Taki Khan's sister to protect the temple from muslim invasion. Whether this is true or not, the fact remains that he married a muslim woman and he was outcast from the religion.


    It is believed that Hanuman was placed here by Ramananda acharya in the 14th C. Lord Hanuman here is depicted as having 12 hands. Hanuman is an eternal devotee of the lord who guards the temple at all the four entrances.
    According to a legend, Kamadev entered the temple without Hanuman's permission. When Hanuman stopped him, Kamdev engaged him in a battel and he had to flee the place when he was defeated. Hanuman is considered as a caretaker of the garden in Puri temple. It is believed that Jagannatha visits the garden on "Akshaya thritiya" day with the permission of Shri Hanuman.

    Kasi Vishwanath

    As per the tradition, devotee has to pay his respects to lord Vishwanatha before praying to Lord Jagannatha. Legend says that, Lord Vishwanatha appeared at this place by virtue of devotion named Chakrapani Kuntia. It is believed that devotees get the benefit of worshipping Vishwanatha of Kashi (Varanasi) by worshipping him at this place. This temple brings harmony between Vaishnavas and Shaivas.


    Ramachandra temple is situated very near to Kasi Vishwanath temple. Ramacharita manasa says that Lord Shiva is fond of hearing Ramayana and hence Ramayana is recited before Shiva in this temple. I haven't read Ramacharita manasa and I am not sure if this is true. I shall probably read the book sometime and verify this.

    Kalpabata tree

    It has been mentioned in the puranas, that the huge banyan tree -- Kalpabata, was there when the entire world sunk under water. It is belived that the tree fulfills wishes of the devotees if expressed under it.

    The king of Nepal, the only Hindu king in the world, enjoys special previliges in the Lord's temple. The Puri shrine has special Sevayat designated to attend the royal family during their visit to the shrine. The king of Nepal is the only person who has the right to enter the temple on a paliquin through the Southern gate upto Kalpabata. From there on, he goes to the sanctum sanctorum on foot.

    There is a legend associated with this tree. King Indradyumna built a temple and went to heaven to invite Brahma to perform purification ceremony. Lord Brahma was praying and asked his royal guest to wait. Hundreds of earthly years passed. The temple was concealed under hills of sea sands. Galamadhava became the ruler of Orissa. One day while riding his horse, the hoof of his horse struck against the flag post of the temple. The king noticed a magnificient temple on clearing the sand, and claimed it as his own. Meanwhile, Brahma descended to the earth with Indradyumna. There ensued a dispute between Indradyumna and Galamadhava.

    The four headed immortal crow god Bhushandi was meditating on the banyan tree known as Kalpabata. He acted as Indradyumna's first witness. Galamadhava did not bow to this decision. They then approached a tortoise of the tank. The tortoise said that he was once a labourer employed by King Indradyumna but had turned into a tortoise due too much of work. He was afraid that the king might employ him to finish up the remaining work of the temple. It was thus proved that Indradyumna was the real the builder. Galamadhava was proved to be a liar and his statue was installed outside the temple premise. The statue was not paid any respect.

    Brahma was asked to perform the purification ceremony but he replied he was incapable of doing it. He tied a flag at the top of the temple, the sight of which could free men in bondage.

    Kuttam Chandi

    It is said that, originally the image of dog that is found here was found in the sanctum sanctorum of the main temple. According to the tantric worship, when Goddess Bhairavi is invocated, the food is offered to her and a part of it to a dog. Sometime later history, when Vaishnavas dominated, the image of the dog was removed from the sanctum sanctorum and brought here. The tantrics say that Jagannath in Puri is not Vishnu, Narayana or Shri Krishna. He is believed to be Bhairava (Shiva), and goddess Vimala is Bhairavi. The body of Kuttam Chandi resembles a dog, but her head is human.

    Significance of the 22 steps in the temple
    One has to cross 22 steps to realise Lord Vishnu. As per Yogashastra a man possesses 5 kinds of mana and 25 types of prakriti. Out of the 25 prakritis 3 are apara and 22 are para prakriti. A yogi has to cross 22 para prakritis like kama, ahankar, mada etc. to see the lord.
    Another iterpretation is that Vaikuntha is situated above 7 lokas, 7 patalas and 8 vaikuntha. One has to cross all these to reach Vishnu.
    It symbolises pancha matra, pancha bhuta, pancha vija, pancha deva and both jiva and parama.
    It symbolises 22 tirthas of shrimad bhagavatha with 10 Gods (Vasudeva, Narayana, Madan Mohan, Rama Krishna, Sridevi, Bhudevi, Vimala, Bhubaneshwari) and Pancharasa Ashta Sattika Bhaba, Tribhija, Trisakti, Triguna.

    Four Dham Lord
    There is a small temple situated near the western gate of the temple that has the deities of the four dhamas Bhadrinath, Dvarakanath, Jagannath and Rameshwara. It is believed that if you visit this temple, it is equivalent to visiting all the four dhamas. On the way to this temple is the temple of Mahavir Hanuman, who is the protector of the four dhamas.

    Sitala Temple
    It is believed that all the deities who come to see Lord Jagannatha meet here. Water is drawn from the holy sona-kua (Golden well) in front of this temple for the bathing ceremony of Lord Jagannatha, Balabhadra and Subhadra.

    Koili Vaikuntha
    This is the burial ground of the lord. During Nava Kalebara the old image of the lords are burried here and new images are carverd at this place. The burial ground is covered by malati tree (creeper). It is belived that the Pandavas set fire to Lord Krishna's body here.

    Devotees worship Satyanarayana on the occasion of the birthday of their children. It is believed that the Lord here is a synthesis of Hindu and Muslim religion. This was perhaps installed during the frequent Muslim invasion. Hindus worship Satyanarayana as Lord Vishnu and Muslims worship him as Satyapira (Alla the truth). The prayers are in Urdu and Bengali.

    Bata Ganesha
    The face of the lord is white and his body is red. A small stone mouse is installed in front of him. You can feel thorny projections on the body of the mouse when you run your hand on its body.

    Pancha Pandava temple
    A reference from Mahabharatha says that the pancha pandavas stayed here for a night during their year of disguise. They prayed to Lord Vishnu here for a favourable journery. As a symbol of this yatra, Pancha Mahadeva (Lokanatha, Yameshwar, Nilakantha, Markandeya and Kapalamochana) have been installed here.

    Markandeya Temple
    Skanda purana describes that Rishi Markandeya was advised by the Lord to stay here during the pralaya (destruction)

    Indra temple
    Perhaps the temple has been built here to prove that Indra performs the function of a gate keeper in the temple of the Lord.

    Dikpalaka temple (Digpala temple)
    According to Hindu mythology, there are 10 directions and they are guarded by 10 Gods. These guardian Gods are worshipped in this temple.

    Mukti Mandapa (Brahmasana)
    It was the seat of Lord Brahma. It is belived that Lord Brahma sat here and instructed the demi gods to perform the incarnation ceremony. This is where the Brahmini pundits of Puri now settle the disputes that arise in the temple or give dirctions to the common man to relieve them from the sins they have committed.

    Goddess Vimala (Pada Pitheshwari)
    As per the description of Devi Bhagavatha, Sati the daughter of Daksha prajapathi married Shiva. Once during a yajna arranged by her father, she could not tolerate the disrespect that was shown to her husband. She jumped into the yajna fire and died. Lord Shiva was so disturbed by this incidence that he carried the dead body of his wife and roamed all over the world (some authors mention that he roamed over India). Lord Vishnu then released his Sudarshana Chakra to cut the body of Sati into pieces to relieve Lord Shiva from his attachment to Sati. The chakra cut her body into pieces and fell at places that now form the Shakti pitas. It is believed that her feet (pada) fell here and hence Puri is known as Pada pita.

    Pancha Shakti
    Goddess Bhuvaneshwari is placed in the main temple. Besides her we find
    Saraswathi -- Goddess of learning
    Sasti -- Goddess of children
    Savithri -- legend says that Savitri took back the life of her husband Satyavaana from the clutches of Yama.
    Gayatri -- Goddess of Veda.

    Mahalakshmi Temple
    Mahalakshmi is the Shakti of the lord. She is associated with the lord at all times; during creation, destruction and perseverance. She is also associated with the lord during all the festivals. As per Lakshmi purana, Lakshmi had been to the house of Sriya Kandaluni, a low caste lady to accept her offerings. Jagannatha banished her from the shri mandira as per the advice of Balabhadra. But they later realised their mistake and pacified Lakshmi to return to the temple. The lord visits her temple on every thursday except on Ekadashi.

    On the third day of the car festival (HeraPanchami) Lakshmi goes to Gundicha temple and breaks a part of the car as the lord had not taken her with him while he was on the car. When he returns to the temple, she shuts the door on him to show her supremacy and anger. Jagannatha then consoles her with sweet words and she finally concedes and allows him to enter the temple.

    Lakshmi is also the cook of Jagannatha's temple. She prepares food for the lord everyday. During her absence from Dhanu sankranthi to Makara Sankranthi, Jagannatha's mother prepares the food for him.

    Pataleshwara temple
    Half of this temple is submerged in the soil. Legend says that when Lord Vamana placed his foot on Bali Chakravarth's head, he stayed here by becoming Pataleshwara Shiva.


Vinutha and Lingaraj said...

hmmm.. intresting legends... too well writeen...

Unknown said...

Puri, on the east coast of India, in the state of Orissa is a hoary pilgrimage center,

enshrining Jagannath, in a colossal temple. Puri is well connected by rail and road with

Calcutta and with Bhubaneshwar. Puri is an ancient shrine, enshrining Krishna -

Jagannath in the form of a wooden image. Also enshrined are wooden images of

Balabhadra (Balarama) and Subhadra brother and sister of Krishna respectively.
Please Visit For More Detail

raje said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
raje said...

Very Good Article, Thanks for Shairing