India is a vast country rich in culture and traditions. Here none of the religion is considered sacrosanct and not a single religion is considered insignificant and given less importance. Among all these there is a small city located on the eastern coast of India inside the state of Odisha called Puri. It is one of the four dhams or abodes that are located in four different directions. These four dhams are: Badrinath, Jagannath Puri, Dwaraka and Rameswaram. Jagannath Puri has got its name from the temple situated here called the Jagannath temple and for this it has gained worldwide popularity. Behind the foundation of this temple there is a very interesting story. This story is of 12th century A.D.
Once upon a time ruled a king named Indradyumna. He was a very rich king and during his reign everybody led a prosperous life. Nobody had any problem. Even then, the king was not satisfied. He was very sad. He used to think that something is still incomplete and he has to do it. He was a great devotee of Lord Vishnu. One day a pilgrim informed him that Lord Vishnu is being worshipped in its truest form as Neel Madhava in Odisha. Then, the king jumped with joy and immediately ordered the head priest to visit Odisha and enquire about Neel Madhava. The head priest had a very helpful brother named Bidyapati. The priest asked his brother to go Odisha. Then, Bidyapati started the journey on his horse. After about a month Bidyapati reached Odisha and got to know that the tribal chief secretly worshipped Neel Madhava. He humbly requested him to take him to Neel Madhava but the tribal chief but Biswabasu denied. Bidyapati continued to live in that village. In a few days, he fell in love with the daughter of Biswabasu, Lalita. Soon they were married. One day, Bidyapati said his wife to convince her father to take him to Neel Madhava. Lalita followed Bidyapati’s instructions and convinced her father. Biswabasu was convinced but had a condition that he had to walk all the way blindfolded. Bidyapati agreed and they proceeded. Even, Bidyapati was blindfolded but he was very intelligent. He took some mustard seeds and dropped them all the way he would walk. Soon, they reached their destination. Bidyapati was spellbound to see the iconic image of Lord Neel Madhava. After this, they returned back. Biswabasu was in a fear that Bidyapati would inform Indradyumna and he would take away the God and his years of hard work will go waste. So, he tied Bidyapati with a rope in his house and stopped him to go. But Lalita secretly unbuttoned the rope. Bidyapati immediately rushed to King Indradyumna and informed him about Neel Madhava and without wasting time, the King and Bidyapati went on a journey to Neel Madhava.
You would be thinking that if Bidyapati was blindfolded then how was he able to guide the way to Neel Madhava? Well, I have the answer. As I have mentioned Bidyapati dropped some mustard seeds while he was walking. Between the long gaps, it was monsoon season and at the time these seeds became plants and it was easy to identify the way. After reaching the point they were astonished to see that Neel Madhava was disappeared. Again, King Indradyumna became sad. They thought that the tribal king, Biswabasu would have hid Neel Madhava. So, they asked him but Biswabasu disclaimed. When the King was alone, Narad Muni, the knower of everything, appeared in front of him and said,” you should not be disappointed. Rest assured that the desire of a great Vaishnava like you never goes unfulfilled. For your sake, the Lord will incarnate on the earth. Lord Vishnu is fully independent. He does not depend upon anyone whereas the other desires, such as Lord Shiva and Goddess Durga, are dependent upon Lord Vishnu. In spite of that, Lord Brahma has sent me to you.” That night while the King was sleeping, the divine appeared in his dream and said,
“My dear Indradyumna, don’t be harassed. Go to Puri and wait near Chakra Tirtha and you will mark a large, fragrant, reddish log coming afloat. You have to take that log and carve the images of four deities and then you will be able to worship me.” Listening this, the next morning, he ran with his soldiers to Chakra Tirtha and as he was informed in his dream, a large, fragrant, reddish log came afloat. He took that log to his court but nobody was able to carve through it. Then, Visvakarma, the architect of gods, took the form of an old carpenter and said Indradyumna, “I am able to carve through it but you should not disturb me for 21 days.” Indradyumna was convinced but had a doubt that if I will not disturb him then how will he take food or water and if he will not take food and water for 21 days, then, how come he could stay alive. But, Visvakarma denied strictly. Indradyumna, however, agreed. After the 15th day, Indradyumna’s wife could not control her curiosity and persuaded him to open the door. After opening the door, they saw that the carpenter was disappeared leaving iconic wooden statues of the four deities but they were in their incomplete form and it is believed that the same form of these idols are housed in the Jagannath temple in Puri and Lord Brahma, himself has incarnated on this earth to inaugurate it. So, it is a very sacred place.
Beside this story, there are many mysteries about the architecture of the temple which do not have any scientific explanation and hence prove the architects of that period to be the brainiest. The Nil chakra located above the main dome appears like facing towards us wherever we stand.
The flag located above the main dome defies the direction of the wind. This flag is changed every day. A priest climbs up the main dome and changes the flag and if the flag is not changed for a single day then, the temple remains closed for about 18 years. The food in the temple does not get wasted any day and even if the food is cooked for thousand people then also millions of people get fed up.The area over the main dome is a no flying zone. Neither an aero plane nor a single bird is seen flying over it. Either it is because of the divine power or because if, we calculate the top view of the temple it will look like the Sudarshana chakra.
To enter inside the temple there are four gates or dwaras. Among these all there is a Singhadwara. There is a big mystery about it. That is, when we enter a step inside the dwara or gate we will not be able to hear the sound s of the sea beach but when we take a step outwards we can hear the sounds of the beach clearly. This is easily noticeable during evening time.
The Puri beach also has a mystery and it too does not have any explanation scientifically. The mystery is, normally during daytime the wind blows from sea to land and at evening, the wind blows from land to sea but in case of Puri, it is reversed.
For every 12 years the old idols are buried below the new idols manually, mystery is that they disintegrate on their own and the idols are masked until the task gets completed.
In spite of these all, Puri also has many other beautiful temples and as it is a small city it can be covered in 4 days. It is believed that the soul of Lord Jagannath is present in this city. Once we visit Puri our heart will stick to it and we will wish to be settled there.
Author: Subhalaxmi Sahoo, 12 Year old, Odisha