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  1. The Legend of Jagannath, Puri is an English documentary aired on Nat Geo. Rajeev Khandelwal takes us to Puri, Odisha to watch the famous Rath Yatra of Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra and Devi Subhadra. With him explore the magnificent architecture of the Jagannath Temple and learn how this yatra brings diverse cultures, faiths and mythology together. Jagannath Rath Yatra at Puri involving moving the deities of Jagannath, Balabhadra and Subhadra to the Gundicha temple, three kilometres away, for a period of seven days. The National Geographic Channel will air tonight an hour-long documentary The Legend of Jagannath showcasing this yatra while bringing to fore the legends and stories connected with the Jagannath temple (one of the char dhams sacred to Hindus), the gods housed in it and the devotional fervour of the faithful. The narrator, Rajiv Khandelwal, a self-declared atheist says, the film helped him understand the faith the people have, their fear of god and beliefs. “Seeing people coming from across the world on a hot and humid day, chanting, dancing, playing instruments and swaying, awaiting for a mere glimpse of the deities and touching the chariot is an amazing experience in itself.” He is right because you can see and feel the deep sense of devotion among the men and women, cutting across all barriers, in their eyes and gestures. Describing himself as an explorer, Rajiv plays the part to the hilt, displaying eagerness to learn while taking the journey of discovery forward. The journey featured in the film is special as it depicts the custom of replacing of old idols of the deities with new ones –– nabakalebra (new body) –– after 19 years, the very first this millennium. It conveys the message that death is inevitable, says Paramahamsa Prajnanananda, Master Kriya Yoga. “We live with pride, arrogance and stubbornness but here the Lord is saying, ‘I came and I am going. Get ready!’” What makes the documentary interesting is Rajiv showcasing behind-the-scene preparations while providing analysis of unique aspects and nuggets of information. Craftsmen who build the three chariots by shaping the wheels, axle and upper structure and carving intricate motifs rely on handspans for measurement and oral knowledge received from forefathers. Similarly the right of first service to yatra –– sweeping the floor of the chariot –– is vested in the King of Puri. Gajapati Maharaja Dubyasingha Deb, the present king says, “It symbolises that before the Lord there is nothing high or low and even the smallest of our acts should be dedicated at his feet.” Likewise, we gather that the sudarshana atop the temple is not just symbolic but protects the structure from lighting. Nicely woven into film is the legend and history connected with how the god worshipped by tribes became Lord Jagannath (lord of the Universe). Tracing the efforts of a central India king Indradymna in making the tribal god, Nila Madhava, a public deity, this story is shown in pictures making it distinct. Mythologist and author Devdutt Pattanaik’s insightful explanations make the proceedings interesting. Observing that Lord Jagannath belongs to the Vaishnavite tradition, he says, “This deity celebrates life and lives like a king. Getting up in the morning, bathing, wearing different clothes, he is served food.” Believed to visit Puri for lunch, the god is served an array of food items prepared from indigenous ingredients. That is how one of the biggest kitchens in the world came into being. Using 1000 earthen pots just once, 600 cooks prepare 56 dishes on wood-fired traditional stoves which after offering to the god, is distributed as mahaprasad. What is noteworthy is that even though the quantity of food remains the same, there is neither shortage nor wastage irrespective of the number of devotees. The documentary presents a larger than life spectacle in all its colour, customs and culture while emphasising how faith can endure what body cannot.
  2. The Jagannath triad are usually worshiped in the sanctum of the temple at Puri, but once during the month of Asadha (Rainy Season of Orissa, usually falling in month of June or July), they are brought out onto the Bada Danda (main street of Puri) and travel (3 km) to the Shri Gundicha Temple, in huge chariots (ratha), allowing the public to have darśana (Holy view). This festival is known as Rath Yatra, meaning the journey (yatra) of the chariots (ratha). The Rathas are huge wheeled wooden structures, which are built anew every year and are pulled by the devotees. The chariot for Jagannath is approximately 45 feet high and 35 feet square and takes about 2 months to construct. The artists and painters of Puri decorate the cars and paint flower petals and other designs on the wheels, the wood-carved charioteer and horses, and the inverted lotuses on the wall behind the throne. The huge chariots of Jagannath pulled during Rath Yatra is the etymological origin of the English word Juggernaut. The Ratha-Yatra is also termed as the Shri Gundicha yatra.
  3. The deities, after the seven-day stay at Gundicha Temple, their garden house, commence their return journey. It is called Bahuda Yatra held on the tenth day of bright fortnight of Ashadha. The return of the chariots takes place in the same order as in the Rath Yatra. Balabhadra’s chariot moves first, followed by those of Subhadra and Jagannath. On his way back, Jagannath stops for a while at Ardhasani temple, popularly called Mausi Ma temple or the temple of Aunt. He accepts from the aunt His favourite rice cake, Poda Pitha. The three chariots pulled by thousands of devotees, reach back the Simhadwara in the late afternoon of the Bahuda day and the deities remain seated on their chariots. On the next day known as the Bada Ekadasi, the three deities, are attired in costumes of glittering gold and are worshipped by thousands of devotees. This form of the deities is known as the famous Suna Vesa. On the Dwadasi day, the three deities go back to their original place, the Ratna Simhasana, literally the jewelled platform, with the usual fanfare and the Pahandi style. Their arrival into the Sanctum sanctorum marks the end of the Ratha Yatra the grand festival of chariots.
  4. Dedicated to Goddess Lakshmi, Hera Panchami is a unique festival at the Gundicha temple, celebrated with a mixed spirit of love and pangs of a brief separation from the Lord. Popular belief goes like this, before Lord Jagannath visits Gundicha temple with his siblings, he promises his wife Lakshmi Devi that He will return the next day. But Lord Jagannath in the company of his brother Balabhadra and sister Subhadra Devi forgets to go to Lakshmi Devi, as He finds Himself in the midst of millions of loving devotees. Lakshmi Devi after waiting for His return for 5 long days becomes impatient and a little agitated. On the instruction of Vimala Devi, her elder sister, at night she sets out to Gundincha temple looking for the Lord and sees His ratha waiting outside the temple. She breaks down a piece of the wooden wheel of Nandigosha (Jagannath’s Ratha) to teach Him a lesson. After the damage is done, Lakshmi Devi goes back to her temple through Hera Gouri Sahi.
  5. The Jagannath triad are usually worshiped in the sanctum of the temple at Puri, but once during the month of Asadha (Rainy Season of Orissa, usually falling in month of June or July), they are brought out onto the Bada Danda (main street of Puri) and travel (3 km) to the Shri Gundicha Temple, in huge chariots (ratha), allowing the public to have darśana (Holy view). This festival is known as Rath Yatra, meaning the journey (yatra) of the chariots (ratha). The Rathas are huge wheeled wooden structures, which are built anew every year and are pulled by the devotees. The chariot for Jagannath is approximately 45 feet high and 35 feet square and takes about 2 months to construct. The artists and painters of Puri decorate the cars and paint flower petals and other designs on the wheels, the wood-carved charioteer and horses, and the inverted lotuses on the wall behind the throne. The huge chariots of Jagannath pulled during Rath Yatra is the etymological origin of the English word Juggernaut. The Ratha-Yatra is also termed as the Shri Gundicha yatra. The most significant ritual associated with the Ratha-Yatra is the chhera pahara." During the festival, the Gajapati King wears the outfit of a sweeper and sweeps all around the deities and chariots in the Chera Pahara (sweeping with water) ritual. The Gajapati King cleanses the road before the chariots with a gold-handled broom and sprinkles sandalwood water and powder with utmost devotion. As per the custom, although the Gajapati King has been considered the most exalted person in the Kalingan kingdom, he still renders the menial service to Jagannath. This ritual signified that under the lordship of Jagannath, there is no distinction between the powerful sovereign Gajapati King and the most humble devotee. Chera pahara is held on two days, on the first day of the Ratha Yatra, when the deities are taken to garden house at Mausi Maa Temple and again on the last day of the festival, when the deities are ceremoniously brought back to the Shri Mandir. As per another ritual, when the deities are taken out from the Shri Mandir to the Chariots in Pahandi vijay, disgruntled devotees hold a right to offer kicks, slaps and the derogatory remarks to the images, and Jagannath behaves like a commoner. In the Ratha Yatra, the three deities are taken from the Jagannath Temple in the chariots to the Gundicha Temple, where they stay for seven days. Thereafter, the deities again ride the chariots back to Shri Mandir in bahuda yatra. On the way back, the three chariots halt at the Mausi Maa Temple and the deities are offered Poda Pitha, a kind of baked cake which are generally consumed by the poor sections only. The observance of the Rath Yatra of Jagannath dates back to the period of the Puranas. Vivid descriptions of this festival are found in Brahma Purana, Padma Purana, and Skanda Purana. Kapila Samhita also refers to Rath Yatra. In Moghul period also, King Ramsingh of Jaipur, Rajasthan has been described as organizing the Rath Yatra in the 18th Century. In Orissa, Kings of Mayurbhanj and Parlakhemundi were organizing the Rath Yatra, though the most grand festival in terms of scale and popularity takes place at Puri. Moreover, Starza notes that the ruling Ganga dynasty instituted the Rath Yatra at the completion of the great temple around 1150 AD. This festival was one of those Hindu festivals that was reported to the Western world very early. Friar Odoric of Pordenone visited India in 1316-1318, some 20 years after Marco Polo had dictated the account of his travels while in a Genovese prison. In his own account of 1321, Odoric reported how the people put the "idols" on chariots, and the King and Queen and all the people drew them from the "church" with song and music.
  6. A very special and sacred festival of Lord Jagannath held in the full-moon day of the month of Jyestha. This festival is known as 'Devasnan Purnima' or 'Snana Yatra' (Bathing Festival). There is a general belief that the devotee washes away all his sins if he gets a vision of the Lord on this day, therefore, it attracts thousands of pilgrims from all over the world. According to Skanda Purana when King Indradyumna installed the wooden deities he arranged this bathing ceremony. On the previous day of Snana Yatra the images of Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra and Goddess Subhadra along with the image of Sudarshana are ceremonially brought out from the inner sanctum of the main temple in a procession (called 'Pahandi' in local language) to the Snana Mandapa (Bathing pandal). This bathing platform is situated to the north-east of Ananda Bazar and besides the outer wall of the temple (called Meghanada Pacheri in local language).The length and breadth of this bathing platform is 76 feet. It is at such a height that visitors standing outside the temple also get a clear view of the Deities. On this auspicious day the Suaras and Mahasuaras go in a ceremonial procession to fetch 108 pots of water from the Golden well (called 'Suna Kua' in local language). The holy water drawn from this well once a year. During the entire process all of them cover their mouths with a piece of cloth so as not to contaminate it even with their breath. Then all the pots filled with water are preserved in the Bhoga Mandap. Then the priests purify the water with Haladi (turmeric), Java (whole rice), Sandal (Chandan), flowers and perfumes. The filled and purified water pots then carried from Bhoga Mandap to the bathing platform by the Suaras in a long single line queue. This ritual is called 'Jalabhisheka'. 'Jalabhishek' consists of two words 'Jala' and 'Abhisheka'. In local language 'Jala' means water and 'Abhishek' means Bath. This Abhiseka is accompanied by chanting of vedic mantras by the priests, kirtana and blowing of conch shells. At evening, after the bath ritual, the Deities assume the special elephant form which is otherwise known as 'Hati Vesha'. Lord Jagannatha and Lord Balaram dressed like elephant, and Goddess Subhadra wears a lotus flower vesha. After Snana Yatra, the deities are supposed to fall ill (fever) and do not return to their pedestal. The Deities are kept on a special sick room called the 'Ratan vedi' inside the temple. They stay away from the public view for a period of 15 days. This period is known as 'Anabasara'. During 'Anabasara' the Deities offered only fruits and water mixed with cheese and Dasamula medicines to cure from fever. The Deities are treated by the Raj Vaidya (the King's physician) with specific medicines (Dasamulas). During all these days the daily rites of the temple remain suspended. Due to the sacred bath with 108 pitchers of water, the colours painted on the images fade out. The Daitas repaint the images with new colors and on the 16th day the Deities appear in their new forms after colouration become ready for the public view. The festival of the first appearance of the Lord Jagannath to his devotees is called 'Netrotsava' (festival for the eyes) or 'Nava Yauvanotsava' (festival of the ever new youth).
  7. Site Admin

    Shalila Vihara

    Salila Vihāra (for 21 days Śrī Jagannātha deva and Madan Mohan are taken on a boat at Narendra Sarovar in Jagannātha Purī)
  8. The Hindu believes in the festivals of Lord Jagannath as the source of giving entertainment to the human society, So the festivals relating to Lord Jagannath are the occasions of great religious experience and devotional favour. In the metaphysical system the festivals are known as 'Yatra'. Many festivals of Puri are related to Lord Jagannath and the Jagannath temple , out of which one most important festival is 'Chandan Yatra'. This summer Festival of Lord Jagannath falls in April-May on Akshaya Trutiya i.e, the 3rd day of the bright fort night of the oriya month of Baisakha. This auspicious day also marks the beginning of the construction of the Rathas, chariots for the ceremonial sojourn of Jagannath,Balabhadra and Subhadra to the Gundicha Temple on the day of car festival. 'Chandan Yatra', literally, Sandalwood paste festival, indicates the worshiping of the deities with sandal mixed water. Chandan yatra is devided into two periods i.e, Bahar chandan or outer chandan(21 days) and Bhitar chandan or inner chandan (21 days). The outer chandan lasts for 21 days. Everyday the representative images of the deities i.e, Rama, Krishna, Madan Mohan, Laxmi and Saraswati(Biswadhatri) are taken in a procession to the famous Narendra tank or chandan pokhari. The five shivas known as Pancha Pandavas, namely Lokanath, Yameswar, Markandaya, Kapal Mochan and Nilakantha, accompany Madan Mohan(the representative of Lord Jagannath) to the narendra tank. In a gorgeously decorated boat Madan Mohan, Laxmi and Saraswati are placed and in another are placed Rama, Krishna and the Pancha Pandavas(five shivas). The deities enjoy an evening cruise and various models of worship in the pictureseque narendra tank with the accompaniment of music and dance. On the last day of the festival 'Bhaunri Yatra' is performed. The procession start up from Singhadwara to Narendra puskarini amid Hymn, bhajan, kirtana, mridanga, ghanta etc. wich site a pictureseque panaroma worth seeing. The traditionaly decorated royal elephant takes the lead followed by two gigantic decorated palinquies or vimana carrying the deities to their destination. The sacred vimanas takes rest on the shoulders of the professionally earmarked viman badus.Throughout their journey thousands of devotees throng to cover the glimpse of the yatra,offering puja & pankti bhoga to the deities. All along the way to narendra tank the conventional huge wooden sheds or chamundiya were erected enabling rest for the deities. Besides these, devotees carry chatris or the umbrellas made by the skilled pipili people projecting there of the rich art and craft of the city. Thousand of people are seen taking a dip in this holy tank considering to be auspicious in this part of the year. After the completion of the outer chandan yatra,the inner chandan yatra starts inside the temple and lasts for 21 days.Various rites are performed inside the temple, out of view of the public. Narendra tank is built by Narendra Dev, son of Kapilendra Dev. Being shouldered the responsibility of the kingdom in the hand of Purrosottam, Narendra devoted his time and energy and spent a lot to the all round development of this holy tank. Situated about three quarters of a mile north-east of the Jagannath temple,the Narendra tank covers an area of over 3.240 hectares(8 acres). It is 834 feet by 873 feet in size. The tank has an island in its middle bearing a small temple, connected with the south bank with a bridge, to which Madan Mohan, the representative deity of Jagannath, is brought during the chandan yatra. According to the opinion of Puri people this chandan yatra was contemplated perhaps to impact training to our youngmen in the field of sea-voyage. In this support the history says that the people of Orissa had maritime commerce with several countries in the Eastern region. So now-a-days many young men swim in narendra sarovar in this regard.
  9. Golden attire (Suna Besha) of Lord Jagannath, July 2007. Прекрасное золотое облачение (Суна Беша) Господа Джаганнатха, июль 2007.
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