30 March 2010

Purana Sthalams - Sri Mushnam - Sri Bhoovaraghaswamy Temple,

About the Temple

Srimushnam stalam is one of the eight Svayam Vyakta Kshetrams. It is located about 24 miles west of Chidamabaram. 16 miles southeast of this stalam is Kattu Mannar Kovil.

•Perumal: Adhi Varaha Perumal - Standing, Facing West

•Thayar: Ambujavalli Thayar
•Theerththam: Nithya Pushkarini
•Vimanam: Vamana Vimanam
•Prathyaksham: Asvaththa Narayanan
•Location: Near Chidambaram

SriMushnam is a very sacred place to Hindus as well as Buddhists and it is one of the eight Svayam Vyakta shrines of Vaishnavas. The famous Vasihnava Temple of Bhuvaraha is located here. The image in the temple is self created [Swayam Vyakta] representing Varaha Avator.

On the pillars in the centre of the hall, there are carved royal portraits of the Nayak family who were responsible for the building of the temple. The original image in marble is said to have been taken away by Krishna Devaraya Wodeyar of Mysore and installed it at Srirangapatanam.


The Moolavar of this sthalams is Bhoovaragha Murthy and he is giving his seva in Nindra Thirukkolam. This thirukkolam of the Perumal needs to be explained because his body is facing towards west direction but his thirumugham [face] is facing towards south direction. This is one of the rare thirukkolam given by the Perumal.

The Thaayar who reside in this sthalam is Ambujavalli Thaayar. The utsavar is Ashvatha Narayanan, also called as "Yagna Varaghar".

The temple houses separate shrines for Andal, Srinivasan, Venugopalan, Vishvaksenar, Vedanta Desigar, Nammalwar and Anjaneya. The Purushasukta Mandapam of 17th century resembles the shape of a chariot with stylishly carved figures of warriors riding the horses and elephants.

The Sthala Vriksham [sacred tree] is Arasu and the sacred teerthams are Agni, Chakara, Brahma, Bhoomi and Mrithyunjaya theertham. Legends have it that Lord Vishnu, while answering the prayers of his devotees assumed the Varaha incarnation and vanquished the demons. 'Bhu' refers to Earth and 'Varaha' refers to Boar. Hence, the Lord is called `Bhuvaraha'.

It is said that Lord Vishnu resides in this particular place in three forms. First, in the form of 'Ashwatha tree'; second,in the form of 'Nithya Pushkarani'; and third in the form of 'Bhoovaraha Swamy'. The temple tank, called Nithya Pushkarani', is known for its medicinal values, which is a panacea. The 'Ashwatha tree', stands like a colossus near the sacred tank. It is believed that it has a beneficial effect of blessing sterile women with progeny. Meditation and chanting of 'Gayathri Mantra' under the tree after bathing in the holy tank vouchsafes a place in the heavens.

It is accepted by all that the Lord transcends all religions here. The Muslim brethren welcome the presiding deity with grandeur. He criss-crosses Thaikkal and accepts the offerings of Muslims. It is indeed unique that the Lord stops in front of the mosque and accepts garlands and candy from the chief kazi. After lighting the camphor in the mosque, the kazi recites verses from the Holy Koran.


The Tamil New Year heralds the oncoming festivals in Srimushnam temple. During the month of April-May 'Chitrai Utsavam' is celebrated. The utsava murthy, 'Yagna Varahan', along with His consorts Sri Devi and Bhoomidevi, go around all the four mada streets around the temple. This culminates in the celebration of 'float festival-'Theppotsavam-in the 'Ashwatha Pushkaram'. The Lord with his two Lakshmis has a boat ride in the temple tank, which is illuminated for the purpose, accompanied by a retinue.

During the Brahmotsavam, the car festival attracts people from the neighbourhood. During Masi Maham [full moon during February to March], the Lord and His consort visit the neighbouring hamlets and towns to give darshan to the devotees.

The 'Navarathri' festival is conducted with gaiety and exuberance. The Goddess, Hemambujavalli, is decorated with silk sarees and flower garlands. She is carried in a palanquin festooned with fragrant flowers on the last Friday of the Tamil months Aadi and Thai. The 'Navarathri' festival is conducted with gaiety and exuberance. The Goddess Hemambujavalli is decorated with silk sarees and flower garlands. She is carried in a palanquin festooned with fragrant flowers on the last Friday of the Tamil months Aadi and Thai.

Special worship is performed on Fridays, Saturdays and on Ekadasi. Being Varaha, the Lord Bhuvarahan likes to eat 'Gorai kizhangu'. Therefore, a sweet dish [laddu] made out of Gorai kizhangu is presented as prasad.

How to get there

SriMushnam is connected to other parts of Tamil Nadu through a very good rail and road network from Cuddalore. Frequent buses run from near by towns like Pondicherry, Chidambaram, Panruti and Villupuram. Buses to major cities of Tamil Nadu like Chennai, Tiruchirapalli, Salem, and Cuddalore are also available.

National Highway NH-45A and many state highways (SH) passes through Cuddalore. It has two railway stations, Thirupadirippuliyur and Cuddalore Port Junction which are connected to major parts of India.

Purana Sthalams - Simhachalam - Sri Varaha Narasimhaswamy Temple,Near Visakhapatnam,Andhra Pradesh

About the Temple

SIMHACHALAM [the lion hill], which rises to about 800 feet about the sea, stands just north of Visakhapatnam. Near the top of the north side of it, in a wooded hollow surrounded by a wide circle of higher ground, is the temple to Narasimha, the man-lion incarnation of Vishnu, which gives the hill its name.

This is the most famous, richest, and best sculptured shrine in Visakhapatnam, and in its honour number or the people of the district are named Simhachalam, Simhadri, Narasimha and so on. From the hollow in which is stands, a deep glen, watered by a rivulet and clothed with many trees in striking contrast to the bare flanks of the rest of the hill, runs down to the foot of the northern slope, where, about ten miles be road from Visakhapatnam, is a rose-garden which is traditionally declared to have been planted by the well-known Sitarama Raju of Vijayanagaram and is watered from the rivulet.

The Rajas of Vijayanagaram have been wardens of the shrine for over two centuries and have endowed it with land of 11,000 acres for its maintainance. The way up to the temple runs along the glen from near the rose-garden, through terraced fields of pineapples dotted with mango, jack and other trees. It passes up a broad flight of wellkept stone steps, over a thousand in number, on either side of which trees have been planted to give shade and a rill runs in a stone channel to refresh weary pilgrims. At frequent intervals are images of the various. Hindu gods in little niches, and on festival days the steps are lighted from top to bottom, The steps eventually reach the narrow mount of the glen, and here the path is barred by a bold portal called Hanuman's gate, by the side of which the rivulet which passes down the glen is led in to two pools where pilgrims bathe before they continue the ascent. This gate was apparently part of the fortifications which on former days guarded the temple and other remains of which may be traced on the high ground surrounding it. Tradition says that these included as many as 24 bastions.Passing through Hanuman's gate, the pilgrim traverses a narrow part of the glen where the rivulet is led through pipes and channels over several artificial cascades surrounded by more sculptures of the gods, and at length reaches the amphitheater in which, on a terrace partly cut of the hill-side, stands the temple itself.

Sthala Puranam

The local Sthala purana contains a mythical account of the foundation of the building which relates the well-known story of how the demon Hiranya-Kasyapa,furious with his son Prahlada's devotion to his petaversion Vishnu, had the boy thrown into the sea and Simhachalam hill placed on top of him ; how Vishnu in his man-lion incarnation went to the youth's rescue, stood on one side of the hill and tipped it up so that the boy could crawl out on the other : and how Prahlada in his gratitude founded this shrine.

The exact age of the temple is not known, but it contains an inscription, dated as far back as 1098-99 A.D.,of the Chola king Kulottunga I who conquered the Kalinga territories, and it must thus have been a place of importance even then.

Another inscription shows that a queen of the Velanandu chief Gonka III (1137-56)covered the image with gold : a third says that the Eastern Ganga king Narasimha I built the central shrine,the mukhamandapam, the natyamandapam, and the enclosing verandah in black stone in 1267-68 : and the many other grants inscribed on its walls (the Government Epigraphist's lists for 1899 give no less than 125 of these) make it a regular repository of the history of the district.The Simhachalm temple still contains in inscriptions left here by Srikrishna Devaraya of Vijayanagara empire recounting his successes and relating how he and his queen presented the yod with necklace of 991 pearls and other costly gifts Architecturally the temple apparently deserves high praise. But this is said to contain a square shrine surmounted by a high tower, a portico in front with a smaller tower above it, a square sixteen pillared mandapam (called the mukhamandapam) facing this, and an enclosing verandah, all made of dark granite richly and delicately carved with conventional and floral ornament and scenes from the Vaishnavite puranas.These are doubtless the work of the Narasimha I referred to above. Much of the carving is mutilated (by Muhammadan conquerors, it is said). One of the pillars is called the kappam stambham or 'tribute pillar'. It is credited with great powers of curing cattle-disease and granting children, and in olden times the right to collect the numerous tributes paid to it in consequence is annually sold by auction. In the verandah is a stone car with stone wheels and prancing stone horses.

The image of the god is small and is kept covered with an unctuous preparation of sandal pasts. Once a year, in May, this is removed with much ceremony at the festival called Chandanayatra.Outside this inner enclosure there is little worthy of note except the excellent natyamandapam on the north side of the temple, where the god's marriage is performed and which is also to work of Narasimha I. This is supported by 96 pillars of black stone, arranged in sixteen rows of six each, which are more delicately carved than any others in the temple, are all different in the details of their design, and yet avoid incongruity of effect by adhering to one general type - especially in their capitals, which are usually of the inverted - lotus shape.

Hiranyakasipu was a Rakshasa king. He was in fact one of Vishnu's Dwarapalakas or gate keepers in Vaikuntha, Jaya and Vijaya. They had to take birth in the mortal world thrice because of a curse given by Sanaka, Sanandana, Sanathana and Sanathkumara, who were not allowed to take darshan of Mahavishnu by them. The other palaka was born as his brother Hiranyaaksha. Hiranyakasipu wanted to become immortal and hence performed austerities (tapasya) to propitiate Lord Brahma. However, Lord Brahma said that was not possible so Hiranyakasipu asked Lord Brahma to grant him a boon so that he could not be killed by any animal or a man neither in the morning nor in the night, by any weapons, neither in sky nor on the earth.
Hiranyakasipu wanted the entire world to worship him. But, Prahalada, his son, was a devotee of Lord Narayana and always expressed his bhakti towards Him. In spite of warning him several times, Hiranyakasipu could not alter Prahlada's devotion. This made Hiranyakasipu angry and he made numerous attempts to get Prahlada killed. One of them was to throw him off the top of a mountain. However, Vishnu rescued him by moving the mountain and made a small path for Prahaladha. It is said that in the place where the Lord stood to protect Prahaladha is the place where the temple is built.

"KAPPASTAMBHAM" situated in the temple as token of their respect towards God for blessing their children and for their prosperity. There is another practice also in existence from time immemorial that some of the devotees will also observe pradakshanam along with the calf around the prakaram with faith as they get salvation. Most of the devotees coming from Orrissa State and North coastal districts of Andhra Pradesh are observing this practice during their pilgrimage.

This pillar was infused with only Godly and Miraculous powers. Since the devotes who aspire some desires to get fulfilled put forward offerings(Kappam) to this pillar, this pillar assumed the Name KAPPASTHAMBAM, At the bottom of this pillar Santhana Gopala Swamy image (Yanthram) was installed. So the devotees are of the belief that if the childless couples embraces this pillar, they will be blessed with children erelong. The devotes also believe that for whatever desires to get fulfilled they extend offering and hug this Kappasthambam all those desires will surely get fulfilled forthwith.

*Astothara satha naamaarchana Rs 100
*Sahasra Naamaarchana Rs 200
*Nithya kalyanam Rs 1000
*AmmaVaariki Astothara satha naamaarchana Rs 50
*Amma vaariki Sahasra Naamaarchana Rs 116
*swarna pushpaarchana (only on Thursday 7:00 A.M) Rs 1,116
*Laksha Tulasi Pooja Rs 1,116
*Laksha Kunkumaarchana Rs 1,116
*Garuda Seva Rs 200
*saaswatha Nithya kalyanam Rs 10,000
*Saaswatha Laksha Kunkumaarchana Rs 10,000
*Saasvatha laksha Tulasi Pooja Rs 10,000
*Saswatha Garuda Seva Rs 2,000
*saaswatha sahasra naamaarchana Rs 2,000
*saaswatha astothara sathanaamaarchana Rs 1,000
*Nitya pooja Bhoaga Kainkaryamu Rs 10,000
*Go Pooja Rs 50
*Kappa stambham alinganam Rs 25

*Pratyeka Darsan Rs 20
*Seeghra Darsan Rs 100
*Suprabhaatha seva Darsan Rs 100
*Suprabhaatha seva Darsan Rs 100
*Nithya Dhupa seva Rs 100
*Aaraadhana seva Rs 100
*Pavalimpu seva Rs 100

*Lorry / Bus Rs 300
*Car /Jeep Rs 200
*Two Wheeler Rs 100
Ugaadhi [TELUGU NEWYEAR]-Pandhiri paata utsavam,making SRI Swamy as bride groom.
"RADHOTSHAVAM" Also there before Swamy going to marriage.

SrI Swamy vaari Vaarsika THIRUKALYAANA MAHOTHSAVAM [From Chaitra sudda dasami to Chatra Pounami)(march/april]

Will be Celebrated on these day SWAMY VARI JAYANTHYUSTHAVAM [Vrushabha Sukla Chathurdasi].The Narasimha Jayanti festival, which occurs on the Fourteenth day of the first half of month of 'Vaisakha' is celebrated as Birthday of the Lord. 

[Vaisaakha sudda thadiya,Akhsara Thruthiya][april/may].It is the one of the holy days in temple festivals.
It comes on "AASHADA POURNAMI" generally at june/july months.on this day the people walk around the simhachalam hill which was in distance 34 kms.

On the full moon day in the month of 'Ashadha', June, the devotees of the Lord, hailing mainly from the countryside, observe a fast on this day and go around the hill over a distance of about twenty miles. They eat their dinner after completing the Pradakshina and after having ' Darshan ' of the Lord. Those, who cannot undertake this, satisfy themselves by making 108 rounds in the temple itself.
It is also called "NIZAROOPA DARSANAM",Usually comes in the month of april/may.
On this day lot of people were try to have darsan of lord NARASIMHA from early morning.On this day the swamy gave darsan without chandana layer on his body called NIZAROOPA DARSANAM
Route Map
* Simhachalam is a hill temple that is almost 18 KM away from Vizag or Visakhapatnam.
* It is just 13 KM away from Vizag International AIRPORT.
* It is 19 KM away from Visakhapatnam Railway station.
* It is 20 KM away from R.T.C complex, Visakhapatnam.
[Bus no's:6,6A,6a/H,28 z/h,28s,28V,60]

Accomodation :

The Devasthanam of Simhachalam provides accommodation facilities for pilgrims. There are choultries, cottages and guesthouses with all facilities.

26 March 2010

Purana Sthalams - Puri Jagannatham - Sri Jagannathar Temple, Puri,Orissa

Nestling on the eastern coast along the blue waters of the Bay of Bengal the unique State of Orissa offers to her guests a 'tourism capsule' containing magnificent temples, sunny beaches, colourful wildlife, traditional tribal culture and a rich heritage.To her credit, it has housed the important pilgrimage center for the Hindus - Puri, the 13th century magic carved on sand stone - Konark, the largest brackish water lake of the continent - Chilika, the wonder greenland of the white tigers - Nandankanan, and many more caves, Chaityas, Stupas. temples, forts and palaces. Statistics suggests,most of the visitors frequent this place for Lord Jagannath and the blue bay.

While several temples have vanished or have declined in importance, the great temple of Lord Jagannath at Puri is still a living and vibrant temple. Over the centuries it has attracted kings, conquerers, religious teachers, devotees and pilgrims. In the minds of the millions of Indians, Orissa is the land of Jagannath. This temple of Lord Jagannath ['Lord of the Universe'] at Puri is one of the most sacred pilgrimage spots in India, one of the four abodes [dhamas] of the divine that lie on the four directions of the compass.


The Orissan temples broadly pertain to three orders locally known as the Rekha-deul, Pidha-deul and Khakhara-deul.

The sanctum with the curvilinear shikhara [rekha] is called the rekha deul and the mandapa with the (jagamohana) with a pyramadical roof of tiers(pidhas) is known as pidha deul. In a typical Orissan temple the latter two form the component parts of a single architectural scheme.

The later Orissan temple adds in front two more mandapas known as the nata mandapa [dancing hall] and the bhoga mandapa[hall of offering] in the same axis. It is however to be noted that in the earliest group of Orissan temples the Pidha deul is wanting and the mandapa is a rectangular pillared hall covered by a low flat roof of two sloping tiers with a clerestory in between. Temples of the third order viz Khakhara deul are are only six being known from Bhubaneshwar. An oblong plan and a wagon–vault roof, characterize them.

The temple of Jagannath Puri is a rekha deul with curvilinear tower on a pancha ratha plan and was built by Ananta Barma Chodaganga Dev during 12th century A.D. and was completed by Ananga Bhima Dev. This temple is one of the tallest monuments in the country, height is about 214 feet from the ground level. It stands on an elevated platform of stone measuring about 10 acres, which is located in the heart of the down town and presents an imposing sight. The temple is bounded by two enclosures. The inner enclosure is 400' x 278' and is known as kurma bedha.

The outer enclosure is of 665' x 644' with the height varying from 20'to 24' is popularly known as Meghanad Prachir. The temple has four gates at the eastern, southern, western northern midpoints of the Meghanad Prachir and are called Lions gate, Horse Gate, Tiger Gate and the Elephant Gate respectively. The temple has got four halls in a row such as Viman [main temple where Lord Jagannath is worshipped with brother Balabhadra, sister Subhadra and Sudarshan, Jagamohan (Audience hall], Natamandap (Dance hall ) and the Bhoga Mandapa [offering hall].

The Dieties

Lord Jagannath, the symbol of universal love and brotherhood is worshipped in the Temple along with Balabhadra, Subhadra, Sudarshan, Madhaba, Sridevi and Bhudevi on the Ratnabedi or the bejewelled platform.

The Deities, Lord Jagannath, Balabhadra, Subhadra and Chakra Sudarshan are made of margosa wood. When one lunar month of Ashadha is followed by another lunar month of Aashadha, the deities change their bodies during such a leap month. This is known as Navakalebar or New Body Ceremony. Last four new body ceremonies of the Lords were celebrated in the year 1950, 1969, 1977 and 1996. On such occasions, Puri witnesses the largest crowd in her fold.

The Deities are adorned with cotton and silk fabrics, Gold Ornaments studded with precious stones, flowers of different varieties, Tulsi leaves, sandal paste, camphor. These articles are used in the daily and periodical rituals. Some important Veshas or costumes of the deities are mentioned below.

1. Abakasha [Tadapa uttari] Vesha
This Vesha is done everyday after Mangal Aarati for the Abakash rituals. The clothes which are worn by the deities for this purpose are known as "Tadapa" and "Uttariya".
2. Sadha Vesha
This Vesha are the normal costumes of deities which they wear five times in a day, especially after each food offering. This Vesha comprises silken clothes and flower garlands.
3. Bada Sringar Vesha
This the last Vesha of the deities done everyday before the night "Pahuda". Bada Sringar Vesha is mostly of flowers of different colours and species. The deities wear silk clothes called 'Khandua'.
4. Chandan Vesha
This vesha is done for 42 days starting from Akshayya Tritiya day.
5. Ganapati or Hathi vesha
On the full moon day in the month of Jyestha, after the bathing ceremony is over, the deities are dressed like elephants. Lord Jagannath and Lord Balabhadra appear like Ganesh[the Elephant God].
6. Suna(gold) vesha
On the 11th day in the bright fortnight of Ashada, Suna Vesha takes place, when the deities are in their respective chariots near the Lion's gate of Sree Jagannath temple. The deities are decorated with many gold ornaments. This vesha is also known as 'Bada Tadhau' vesha and Raja Vesha is also done on Dashahara, Kartik Purnima,Pousha purnima and Dola purnima.
7. Banabhoji Vesha
It is done on the 10th day of the dark fortnight of Bhadraba. The deities are dressed as if going for a picnic, like cowherd boys.
8. Kaliyadalana Vesha
On the 11th day of the dark fortnight of Bhadraba, Lord JAGANNATH is dressed like Lord Krishna killing the Kaliya Serpent.
9. Pralambasura Badha Vesha
It is done on the 12th day of the dark fortnight of Bhadraba[September], Lord Balabhadra's killing of the demon Pralambasura is depicted in this Vesha.
10. Krishna Balarama Vesha
This Vesha is done on the 13th day of the dark fortnight of Bhadraba. Lord Jagannath and Balabhadra are dressed like Lord Krishna and Balaram.
11. Bali Baman Vesha
On the 12th day of the bright fortnight of Bhadraba, Lord Jagannath is dressed like "Bamana"[dwarf]. Bamana is the fifth incarnation of Lord Vishnu.
12. Radha-Damodara Vesha
From the 11th day of the bright fortnight of Ashwina to the 10th day of the bright fortnight of Kartika, this vesha takes place.
13. Thiakia[Laxmi-Narayan] Vesha
It is done on the 11th day of the bright fortnight of Kartika.
14. Bankachula Vesha
It is done on the 12th day of the bright fortnight of Kartika.
15. Adakia[Tribikrama] Vesha
This is done on the 13th day of the bright fortnight of Kartika.
16. Dalikia Vesha
On the 14th day of the bright fortnight of Kartika, this is also known as Laxmi-Nrisimha Vesha.
17. Nagarjuna Vesha
This vesha is occasionally done in the month of Kartika, when there are six days of "Panchaka". The lords are dressed like warriors. In the recent past, this besha has been done on 16.11.1994. The previous four dates were 26.11.1993, 3.11.1968, 16.11.1967 and 26.11.1966.
18. Ghodalagi Vesha During the period from the 6th day of the bright fortnight of Margasira to the 5th day of the bright fortnight of Magha[Basanta Panchami], the deities wear winter clothes.
19. Jamalagi Vesha
From Basanta Panchami to Dola Purnima, the deities wear modified Ghoda(Winter dress).
20. Padma Vesha
This vesha is done on any saturday or Wednesday between the new moon day of Magha and Basanta Panchami. "Padma" means lotus. The dress materials made of lotus, "Sola" lace and paper,gum etc.
21. Gaja Uddharana Vesha
This Vesha is done on the full moon day of Magha. This Vesha depicts a story in the puranas as to how Lord Vishnu saved an elephant from the attack of an Alligator.

Besides these, there are other veshas like Shradha and Chacheri veshas are done in the month of Margasira and Falguna respectively. The sevaks of temple who dress the deities with clothing and flowers are known as Puspalaks or Singharis.


                                            Temple in 1870[Singha Dwara]

Sculpture of the Temple
Legendary account as found in the Skanda-Purana, Brahma Purana and other Puranas state that Lord Jagannath was originally worshipped as Neela madhab by a saver king(tribal chief) named Viswavasu. Having heard about the Deity, King Indradyumna sent a brahmin priest, Vidyapati to locate the Deity, who was worshipped secretely in a dense forest by Viswavasu. Vidyapati tried his best but could not locate the place. But at last he managed to marry Viswavasu’s daughter Lalita.

                                            View of Dol Mantapa in 1890
At repeated request of Vidyapati, Viswavasu took his son-in-law blindfolded to a cave where Neelamadhab was worshipped. Vidyapati was very intelligent. He dropped mustard seeds on the way. The seeds germinated after a few days,which enabled him to find out the cave later on. On hearing from him, King Indradyumna proceeded immediately to Odra desha [Orissa] on a pilrgimage to see and worship the Deity. The king was disappointed at the sudden disappearance of the Deity. The Deity was hidden in sand. The king was determined not to return without having darshan of the Deity and observed fast unto death at Mount Neela, when a celestial voice cried 'thou shalt see him'.

                                                 Temple Entrance - 1870
                                      South Side of Jagannath Temple-1890

Afterwards the king performed a horse sacrifice and built a magnificient temple for Vishnu. Narasinmha Murti brought by Narada was installed in the temple. During sleep, the king had a vision of Lord Jagannath. Also anastral voice directed him to receive the fragrant tree on the seashore and make idols out of it. Accordingly the king got Lord Jagannath, Balabhadra, Subhadra and Chakra Sudarshan made and installed them in the temple.


There are festivals celebrated at the temple all throughout the year.
*Chandan yatra - chaitra Masarambha
*Sneha yatra - Jyestha Paurnima
*Rath yatra - shravan shukla
*Jhulan yatra
*Dashami to chaturdashi
*Karkat or dakshinayana sankranti
*Chitalagi amabashya - Shravana
*Rahurekha lagi - Bhadraba
*Krishnana janma
*Saptapuri amabashya - Bhadraba
*Ganesh chaturthi - Bhadraba
*Rishi Panchami - Bhadraba 5th day
*Radhastami - Bhadraba - 8th day
*Parswava Parivartan - bhadraba 11th day
*Bamam janma or sunia - bhadraba - 12th day
*Anant chaturdashi - 1st sep bhadraba,14th day
*Indra govinda puja - 2nd sep bhadraba full moon day
*Sahasra kumbha mela - ashwina 8th day
*Dasahara - ashwina
*Kumar purnima - ashwina

The Rath Yatra

The Rath Yatra is the biggest festival celebrated each year in Puri – one of India’s holiest cities located on the eastern coast in the state of Orissa. The word rath means ‘chariot’ while yatra means ‘pilgrimage’ or ‘journey’. Every year, Lord Jagannath makes the journey along with his brother Lord Balabhadra and his sister Devi Subhadra, from their home at the Jagannath temple to the Gundicha temple three kilometres away where they visit their aunt for nine days.
 Lord Jagannath is on the right, with his sister Subhadra in the middle and his brother Balabhadra on the left

Elaborate preparations start months before the festival day. 150 carpenters work for a two-month period on building the three huge chariots – one for each of the three deities. 20 sculptors then create the intricate wood carvings which decorate the chariots.

                                                      Carvings on the Chariot

The chariots are painted in bright colours and decorated with appliqué work. A whopping 8 million rupees (145,000EUR / 210,000CAD / 198,000USD) are spent on the preparations for the event.

Every year approximately 700,000 devotees from all over India and different parts of the world come to Puri on July 16th to witness the Rath Yatra. This is the only time of the year that non-Hindus have the chance to catch a glimpse of Lord Jagannath [as they’re not allowed into his temple] As Jagannath is a manifestation of Lord Krishna, this is a particularly important event for Hare Krishna devotees.

On the morning of the Rath Yatra, Puri beach is crowded with pilgrims who are busy taking an early morning dip in the Bay of Bengal.

                                      The Three Chariots are Ready
Grand Road, the wide thoroughfare in front of the Jagannath temple where the three chariots  stand, ready for the journey, already crowded with devotees by early morning. There are long lines at stalls offering breakfast and prasad.

There is a festive air as devotees sing and dance, playing drums and cymbals, chanting ‘Jai Jagannath!’ or ‘Hare Krishna’.

A series of elaborate rituals prepare the deities for their journey. The idols are fed 20 dishes specially prepared for them by cooks, dressed in elaborate and colourful clothes and decorations, and swayed rhythmically as they were carried out of the temple by priests and placed in their respective chariots. The police, dressed in their distinctive khaki uniforms and wielding extra-long lathis [wooden sticks], control the crowd and keep Jagannath fans from getting too close to the idols.

                 Chariots protected by the Police Officers during the Procession

The 200-foot long ropes attached to the chariots are pulled by devotees and mostly police officers, who try to maintain security as thousands surge forward and try to pull or at least touch the ropes which are believed to wash away sins and bring good fortune.

Balabhadra’s chariot is the first to make the trip, followed by Devi Subhadra’s chariot and then Lord Jagannath. They stay at their aunt’s place for nine days before making the trip back to their home in the Jagannath temple.

Daily Rituals 
1.Dwarpitha and Mangal Aarati at 5 a.m
The door opens early in the morning in the presence of five specific sevayats after verification of the “seal” given by a particular sevayat in the last night. Soon after the opening of the door, Mangal Aarati is performed.

2.“Mailam” at 6 a.m.
“Mailam” is a word used in Sri Jagannath Temple, which means change or removal of dresses and flowers etc. At this time some specific sevaks change the clothes, flowers, Tulasi leaves of the deities worn on the previous night. After removal of clothes, the clothes known as “Tadap” and “Uttariya” are worn by the deities.

3. “Abakash” – 6 a.m. to 6.30 a.m.
Purificatory rites like brushing of teeth and bath is known as “Abakash”. At this time, Temple Jyotishi [Astrologer] reads out the tithi[day and date] and other astrological details of the day and according to that, that day's rituals are performed.

4. “Mailam” 6.45 a.m.
At this time deities change their clothes [Tadap and Uttariya] and wear another set of clothes. A sevak known as “Akhanda Mekap” keeps in the sanctum Akhanda Baitha i.e. one lamp which burns till “Pahuda” or the time of the retirement of the deities to bed.

5. “Sahanamela” – 7 a.m. to 8 a.m.
Though this is not a part of the rituals, but about one hour is spent to facilitate pilgrims to go up to “Ratnavedi” or inner sanctums to have a Darshan, without paying fees for it. On certain festive days, Sahanamela is held after “Sandhya dhupa” [Evening Puja or Sandhya Aarati in the month of Kartik] and after Sakaldhupa [in the month of Pausha]. Some times this darshan is not allowed for some special rituals of the deities.

6. “Beshalagi” – 8 a.m.
After Sahanamela the deities are again dressed up which can be witnessed from a little distance i.e.” Bhitara Katha”. At this time, Deities are also adorned with gold and precious stones to suit different festive occasions.

7. Rosha Homa Surya Puja and Dwarapal– 8 a.m. to 8.30 a.m.
While some sevayats are busy with vesha lagi or the Deities, Pujapandas at that time perform “Rosha Homa” [Fire Sacrifice] at the kitchen and “Surya puja” at the surya temple near “Mukti Mandap”. Then the images of two gate keepers named Jaya and Vijaya on the entrance of the Jagamohan of the Temple are worshipped.

8. Gopala Ballava Puja– 9 a.m.
The prescribed time is 9 A.M. This is the time for breakfast of the deities. At this time sweet popcorn [Khai], Khualadus, Coconut sweets [Kora], Ripe banana, Curd, and chipped coconuts etc. are offered as bhogas. Puja is performed in a brief manner with pancha upachar only.

9. Sakala Dhupa(Morning food offering) 10 a.m
At this time puja is performed by three Pujapandas with 16 Upachars or Sodasha Upachars. Three Pujapandas used to sit on Ratnasinhasana to worship three deities Shri Balabhadra, Subhadra, and Lord Jagannath. The Pujapanda who worships Lord Jagannath also worships Sri Devi, Bhudevi, and Sudarshan. The morning bhoga or food offered to the deities contains Rice, Kanika, Khechudi, Green leaves, Cakes etc. The local names of the Bhog are Pitha Puli, Hansakeli, Kanti, Enduri, Matha Puli, Kakatua Jhili, Bundia, Kadali Bhaja, Ada Pachedi [ginger tonic] etc.The cost of the dhoop Pujas and Ballavs are borne by the Temple Administration. Previously Raja-Superintendent of the temple born the cost of materials for preparation of Bhoga. So these Bhogas are also called “Raja Bhoga” or “Kotha Bhoga”.

10. Mailam and Bhoga Mandap:
After Morning Dhupa or Puja the Deities change their clothes and again Puja takes places in “Bhoga Mandap”, a place behind the Garuda pillar of Jagamohan. Huge quantity of Bhogas such as Rice, Dal, Curries, Saga and Cakes of different kinds etc. are offered to the Deities. Pujapandas worship this bhog with Pancha Upacharas. The cost of Bhoga Mandap offerings are not borne by the state or Temple Administration. This bhoga is mainly prepared to meet the need of different Mathas[Monasteries] and for sale to the general public. According to the demand, Bhogamandap Puja is made twice or thrice a day i.e. after “Madhyanha Dhoop” and “Sandhya Dhup” also.

11. Madhyanha [Afternoon food offering] 11 A.M. to 1 P.M.
Like Sakal Dhupa, this puja is also performed with Shodasha Upachar in the afternoon. The Bhoga items are more in number than that of Morning Dhupa. One can go near to the “Ratna Simhasan” for darshan by paying special Darshan fee of Rs. 10/- after Madhyanha Dhupa and Sakal Dhupa.

12. Madhyanha Pahudha - 1 p.m. to 1.30 p.m
If rituals have been performed in time and if time permits, the Deities retire for the afternoon.

13. Sandhya Aarati
In the evening again aaratis are performed after Madhyana Dhupa Mailam. On Ekadashi day, the deities change their clothes and wear another set after “Aarati” is over.

14.Sandhya Dhupa – 7 p.m. to 8 p.m
After “Sandhya Aarati” again Bhogas are offered to the deities in the same manner like Sakala and Madhyanha Dhupa but this time Bhoga amount is less in quantity and number. After Puja again lamp offering is made which is called as “Jaya Mangala Aarati”.

15.Mailam and Chandana lagi
After “Sandhya Dhoopa” deities change their clothes and are annointed with Sandal paste mixed with champhor, keshar and Kasturi. One can witness this ritual by paying special Darshan fees of Rs. 10/-.

16. Badashringar Vesha
After Chandan lagi, deities are dressed with Baralagi Patta [silken robes on which some portions of Geeta Govinda of Jayadev are woven in to the texture of these robes] and flower ornaments.

17. Badashringara Bhoga
This is the last bhoga of the day. Puja is offered with Pancha Upachar by the Puja Pandas with Pakhal [watered rice], Kadali bada, Kshiri, Kanji etc.

18. Khata Seja Lagi and Pahuda 12.00
The bedsteads of the deities are arranged. The Deity of “Sayan Thakura” is carried from Bhandarghar to Ratnavedi or Ratnasimhasana and place the deity near Lord Jagannath. Then follows offering of green coconut, betels and camphor aarati and then deities retire to their beds. The door is sealed then by the Sevayat [Talichha Mohapatra]. Temple is closed and no visitors or outsiders are allowed to remain inside.

This is in brief the daily rituals observed in the Temple. It is generally not possible to follow the time prescribed for each ritual on account of various practical difficulties. On the specific festive days, additional rituals are performed. As a result, changes in timings and alterations in the routine rituals are made.


As indicated above during Sahanamela, the devotees can go up to the “Ratna Simhasana” and pray to Lords, free of cost. Besides the pilgrims can go up to “Ratna Singhasana” at certain times paying a nominal fee Rs. 10/-, which is known as “Parimanik Darshana”. At other times the pilgrims can have their darshan from a little distance that is in “Jagamohan” and “Vitarakatha”. At the time of Beshalagi, one can have darshan near “Bhitar Katha” by buying a ticket of Rs. 1.50.


The town of Puri is situated along the seashore[i.e. the Bay of Bengal] in the State of Orissa.

By Air
State Capital Bhubaneswar is the nearest Airport otherwise known as " Biju Pattnaik Airport". The distance is 65 Kms. from Puri and can be covered in an hour by car. Indian Airlines operates flights from Delhi, Calcutta, Visakhapatna, Hyderabad, Raipur, Mumbai and Chennai.

By Rail
Being a terminus on the SouthEastern Railway, Puri is directly linked with Delhi, Calcutta, Ahmadabad, Patna, Baidyanath Dham and Tirupati by train. Besides one can go to Khurda Road junction to the state capital Bhubaneswar to rail his way to Hyderabad, Chennai and Mumbai.

By Road
Only 60 Kms. away from Bhubaneswar by State Highway No-8, Puri has got a 35 Kms. Marine drive road way to Konark. The State capital is situated on both sides of Calcutta – Chennai National Highway No-5.

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