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Puri is one of the four holy dhamas of India (The others are Dvaraka, Badarinath and Rameshvaram). It is located 60km from Bhubaneshwar, on the coast of the Bay Of Bengal.
Puri is called Sri Purushottama Dhama, the abode of the Lord Vishnu on earth. Other names are Sri Kshetra, Nilachala-dhama, Jagannatha-dhama, Yamanika-tirtha, Martya Vaikuntha, Nilagiri, Shankha-kshetra, Dasha-avatara-kshetra and Narasimha-kshetra. Puri is about 2 km wide and 4 km long.
The name Jagannath literally means the Lord of the Universe. King Indradyumna first established the temple of Lord Jagannath here on the Nilachala hill with the Deity being installed by Lord Brahma himself.
The present temple was begun by King Chora Ganga deva and finised by his descendant Ananga Bhima Deva during 12th century. The temple complex comprises an area of 10.7 acres and is enclosed by 2 rectangular walls. The outer enclosure is called Meghanada Prachira. The walls are 20ft high. The inner wall is called Kurma bheda. The walls were built during 15th or 16th century.
This temple has the largest kitchen in the world, and feeds thousands of devotees daily. The kitchen can prepare food for 1, 00, 000 people on a festival day and 25, 000 is not unusual on a normal day.
There are 36 traditional communities who render a specific hereditary service to the Deities. The temple has as many as 6000 priests. There is a wheel on the top of the Jagannath temple made of an alloy of 8 metals. It is called Nila-Chakra (blue wheel). Everyday a different flag is tied to a mast attached to the Nila-Chakra. Every Ekadashi a lamp is lit on the top of the temple near the wheel.
Thirty different smaller temples surround the main temple. The Lord Narasimha temple adjacent to western side of the Mukti-Mandapa, was constructed before the present temple. In front of the main gate is an 11 m pillar known as Aruna Sthambha. This pillar was once in front of the Sun Temple in Konark. It was bought to puri during 18th Century. The figure on the pillar is Aruna, the Sun god's charioteer.
In the passage room of this gate is a Deity of Lord Jagannath known as Patita Pavana (Savior of the Fallen). This deity is visible from the road, so non-Hindus may take His Darshan.
There are 4 gates:
The Eastern Simhadwara (Lion Gate).
The Southern Ashwadwara (House Gate).
The Western Vyaghradwara (The Tiger Gate).
The Northern Hastidwara (Elephant Gate).
There is a carving of each form by the entrance of each gate. The Lion gate, which is the main gate, is located on the Grand side of the road.
The main Deities in the temple are Lord Jagannath, His brother Lord Baladeva, and his sister Subhadra. Some of the other temples within the walls of the temple house Deities of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Lord Rama Chandra, Sakshi Gopal, Hanuman, Lord Narasimha, Lord Varaha and others.
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Nabakalabara Grand Festival of Lord Jagannath
The word Nabakalebar denotes the new body in Odia language and the deities of the grand temple Jagannath, Balabhadra, Subhadra and Sudarshan undergo exactly the same on the great occasion.
The new wooden idols are carved and old ones are cremated by following the prescribed rites as mentioned in the centuries old scriptures.
This change-over of bodies takes place once every 8 to 18 years depending on the almanac positions as per the Hindu calendar. It is usually held in a year when the month of Asadha is followed by another Asadha. Accordingly the previous 'Nabakalebars' took place in the years 1969, 1978, and 1996; and the forthcoming one will be held in the year 2015.
“Just as one gives up worn out clothes and puts on new ones, even so does the embodied self give up decrepit bodies and enter new ones, ” says the Geeta. Lord Jagannath is but a reflection of human existence encompassing all its facets.
With the forthcoming Nabakalebar slated to be held in the year 2015, the preparations for the same are on war footing. Both age-old complicated religious ritual leading to preparation of wooden idols to huge preparation on infrastructure front keeping in view massive turnout of devotees. Crowd management, law and order, health issues, transport, parking and many more, Odisha Government is working overtime to meet the deadline well in advance.
On religious front the temple priests have to identify the holy tree with a group of search team members as prescribed in the temple records, tracing the trees with support of divine dream during their stopover at Kakatpur, the abode of Goddess Mangala, Carving of the idols, transfer of Bramha from old to new idol and finally the sacred burial happens to be major rituals leading to Nabakalebar of Lords.
The most arduous part of the rite is to identify the appropriate trees out of which the idols of the deities are to be carved out.
Only Neem tree is suitable to be used for the purpose. The log of the Neem tree out of which the idol of Lord Jagannath is to be carved out should be dark in colour, while the remaining trees which are to be used for the other deities should be of normal whitish colour.
Stringent Norms for Neem Log
The tree to be used for the idol of Lord Jagannath should fulfill many conditions. It should have four principal branches symbolizing the four arms of Vishnu. There should be no nest of birds in that tree. Any water body such as a river or a pond should exist nearby. There should also be a cremation ground in the vicinity. Also there has to be a snake pit and ant hill near the root of the tree. No creeper should have mounted on it. There should be a natural impression of sankha (conch shell) and chakra (wheel) on the trunk of the tree.
However the interesting part of it is that the location of such a tree is indicated to the head of the search team by Goddess Mangala in a dream and accordingly the logs are collected after performing of rituals prescribed.
The Transfer of Soul
After the idols are carved a holy mass representing the divine spirit lying at the navel of the old idols is taken out and shifted into the new idols. This is the same mysterious holy mass that has remained with the idols since time immemorial.
After the newly carved idols are carried into the sanctum sanctorum the transformation rite takes place in the presence of the Daitapatis only. They are the authorized ones to transfer 'Brahma' from the old idols to the new. Even the head priest is not allowed to remain present on that occasion.
The daitapati who carries 'Brahma Pinda' from one idol to the other is also blindfolded so that even he cannot see what he is carrying.
On the very day of transfer of Bramha old idols are cremated in the Koli Baikuntha garden of the temple.
Lords Appear with New Body
After the burial of the old idols the new deities are immediately seated in the Ratna Singhasan. The next day the rite of coronation of the Lord and his siblings takes place by following the directions mentioned in ancient scriptures of the temple.
On the third day of the coronation the grand Rath Yatra takes place and millions of devotees are able to see the Lord in the new form.
Konark Sun Temple ([koɳarkə]; also Konârak) is a 13th-century Sun Temple (also known as the Black Pagoda), at Konark, in Odisha, India. It is believed that the temple was built by king Narasimhadeva I of Eastern Ganga Dynasty around AD 1250. The temple is in the shape of a gigantic chariot with elaborately carved stone wheels, pillars and walls. A major part of the structure is now in ruins. The temple is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is also featured on NDTV's list of Seven Wonders of India and Times of India's list of Seven Wonders of India.
Konark Sun Temple is a 13th-century Sun Temple (also known as the Black Pagoda), at Konark, in Odisha, India. It is believed that the temple was built by king Narasimhadeva I of Eastern Ganga Dynasty around AD 1250. The temple is in the shape of a gigantic chariot with elaborately carved stone wheels, pillars and walls. A major part of the structure is now in ruins. The temple is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is also featured on NDTV's list of Seven Wonders of India and Times of India's list of Seven Wonders of India.
Lingaraj Temple is a Hindu temple dedicated to Harihara, a form of Shiva and is one of the oldest temples in Bhubaneswar, the capital of the East Indian state of Odisha (formerly Orissa). The temple is the most prominent landmark of the Bhubaneswar city and one of the major tourist attractions of the state.
The Lingaraja temple is the largest temple in Bhubaneswar. The central tower of the temple is 180 ft (55 m) tall. The temple represents the quintessence of the Kalinga Architecture and culminating the medieval stages of the architectural tradition at Bhubaneswar.The temple is believed to be built by the kings from the Somavamsi dynasty, with later additions from the Ganga rulers. The temple is built in the Deula style that has four components namely, vimana (structure containing the sanctum), jagamohana (assembly hall), natamandira (festival hall) and bhoga-mandapa (hall of offerings), each increasing in the height to its predecessor. The temple complex has 50 other shrines and is enclosed by a large compound wall.
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