Jagannath temple in Puri- a Hindu pilgrimage
The Jagannath temple is located in Puri in the state of Orissa and is one of the char dham after Badrinath, Rameshwaram, and Dwarka. So it is of great importance to the Hindus who believe Lord Jagannath as one of the incarnations of Lord Vishnu. Every day thousands of devotees visit the temple which is regarded as the most important pilgrimage to visit at least once in one’s life. The temple is very large as been built by King Ananga Bhime Deva. Due to great significance, only Hindus are allowed to enter inside the temple. There are 3 deities on the throne of the temple – Jagannath who is regarded as the king of the world, his brother Balabhadra and their sister Suvadra.
The significance of traveling there
Every year the annual Rath Yatra is celebrated and a huge number of people are seen gathering in the highway. Rath yatra means the journey of the chariot. Three chariots are designed and decorated beautifully for the three Hindu deities and after travelling a certain distance they reach their masir bari or aunt’s house and again returns from there after seven days along the same route. Thousands and thousands of devotees and travellers gather on the day of Ratha yatra which is held at the month of June in every year. Other than a pilgrimage visit it is also believed that if couples visit the temple after marriage and starts their journey of life after taking the blessing of Lord Jagannath then their life is fulfilled.
What to see inside the temple
Rasoighar, the divine kitchen
The most important thing of the temple is the kitchen or the rasoighar. It is believed that Puri Jagannath temple is the dining place of lord Vishu and so the kitchen is given so much importance. Every day 56 menus are cooked and devotees take care to cook it in a much disciplined and pure manner. If any tourists wishes to see the kitchen then they have to pay a fee of rupees five to enter there. The food in cooked in pots kept over pots and an interesting fact about it, is that the topmost pot gets boiled first. There are many mysterious facts about this temple that proves prevailing of divinity. The water used for cooking is taken from a well with river water. It is said that if the food is not cooked in a pure manner then a shade of dog is seen beside the rasoighar.
Kalpataru, the banyan tree in Jagannath temple
Certain rituals are maintained to offer mahaprasadam to lord jagannath. And the prasadam never falls short even safter erving thousands of devotees. The prasadam is sold between 3p.m to 5 p.m everyday. There are other temples inside the main temple premise that is a must visit before entering the main temple. Also a divine ancient banyan tree is present there which is known as kalpataru means if you wish something with pure mind standing under the tree, then the wish comes come. That is the significance of the tree. Lots of crowds gather everyday to get blessing of the lord and sins are washed away with just a glimpse of the idol.
Niladri Vihar, the flag
At the western gate of the temple is the Niladri Vihar which is a museum related to the 12 incarnations of the lord. And there is a flag tied at a height of 165 feet which is changed every day between 5 p.m to 6 p.m. It was first started 800 years ago by the Chola family and till now the ritual goes on. The flag is then sold to few lucky devotees.
Before entering the temple you need to submit your phone, shoes, valuable belongings, cameras to the maintenance committee and then take it back after your visit is complete. Taking photographs is prohibited inside the temple. Another thing you must be aware of is the pandas. You need to strongly avoid them otherwise you are going to fall a victim. They would charge you randomly for guiding you inside the temple, so decide the rate beforehand. Other than this it is a renowned pilgrimage visited by devotes once in their life. Besides Jagannath temple, there are 30 other temples in Puri which you would find pleasure to visit.