The Jagannath Temple is a sacred Vaishnava temple dedicated to Shree Shree Jagannath Mahaprabhu and located at Puri in the state of Odisha, on the eastern coast of India. The name Jagannath is a combination of Sanskrit words Jagat means “Universe” and Nath means “Lord of”. The three deities namely Jagannatha, Balabhadra and Shubadra are worshipped here.
Adi Shankaracharya established four mathas in four corners of India. The place where matha is established is called dhama means sacred place. Govardhan Mutt of Puri is the dhama of eastern India. There is a traditional belief in Hinduism that one should visit four dhamas atleast once in his/her lifetime. There is also existing practice is that, after visiting the other three dhamas, one must visit Puri Dhama.
The temple is famous for its annual Rath Yatra, or chariot festival, in which the three main temple deities are hauled on huge and elaborately decorated temple cars. For every twelve or nineteen years, the wooden figure of Lord Jagannath is replaced by using some sacred trees, which is carved as a exact replica.
The Nila Chakra (Blue Discuss) is mounted on top shikar of the Jagannath temple. As per the tradition prevailed, everyday different flag is waved on the Nila Chakra. The flag is called “Patita
Pavana” (Purifier of the fallen).
Some Mysterious facts about Puri Jagannath
- The flag atop the temple flaps in the opposite direction of the breeze.
- Irrespective of place you are in Puri, it appears like the Sudarshana Chakra on top of the temple is always facing you.
- Usually in coastal areas during the day-time, the breeze blows from the sea towards the land and during evening hours it blows from the land towards the sea. But in the case of Puri it is the reverse.
- No birds fly above the Jagannath temple in Puri.
- The main dome of the temple does not cast its shadow in any part of the time.
- The food for the lord as Mahaprasadam does not go waste, irrespective of the number of devotes whether in small or large number. But the quantity of food cooked remains same everyday.
- While entering the temple through Singh dwara, one cannot hear sound of ocean. But when one exits, the sound can be heard clearly.
- The ratha yathra is initilally performed with two sets of chariots (3 Plus 3), from temple to Gundhicha (Mausi Maa) temple, since it needs to cross the river flowing between Shrimandira and Gundicha temple. The first set is used to transport till the river, then deities cross the river in three wooden boats, then board to the other set of Chariots.
- Every year the procession comes to stop by itself at a place ahead of the Gundicha temple. This is a mystery.