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Astonishing facts about Shree Jagannath Temple and the ceremonial Rath Yatra

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The Jagannath Rath Yatra took off in a majestic way on July 23rd. The unreal facts and legends of the Jagannath Rath Yatra and the Puri temple cannot be deciphered with science and logic legends explain why the 9-days-long yatra is of immense significance for the Hindu Dharma that it had to be continued with, despite the Covid-19 situation.

The Jagannath Rath Yatra commenced with the permission of the Supreme Court and all health advisories were observed. Lord Jagannath is merciful and wouldn’t want His devotees to suffer. Here are more fascinating facts and legends of the merciful Jagannath.

  • Lord Jagannath is seated at his abode at the Shree Jagannath Temple since 1161. Three deities that are worshipped in the inner sanctum are Jagannath, Balbhadra, and Subhadra. The statues are carved out of a sacred neem log, called Daru.  These statuses are replaced after 8, 12, or 19 years from the installation of the former. The ritual is known as Nabakalebara.
  • A week preceding the Rath Yatra every year, the main gate of the temple is closed and entry of devotees or outsiders are restricted. The sanctum sanctorum is shut as well. They say, the deity gets a fever during this time, so he is put to take rest in quarantine. After a week, he recovers from his fever, needs a change, and plans to visit his aunt’s place.
  • The ceremonial Yatra starts when the Gajapati King sweeps the road with a gold-handled broom and cleans the road by sprinkling a sandalwood powder and water on it. Three different chariots are constructed for the three deities. The chariot for Lord Jagannath has 18 wheels, the one of Balbhadra has 16, and the one for Subadra has 14 wheels. They are built newly every year.
  • The magnificent Yatra is attended by millions of devotees from all over the world, eager to pull the chariot of their beloved god. They say Lord Jagannath refuses to move for hours despite the unrelenting efforts of the devotees who start turning irate. They request Prabhu Jagannath to co-operate, some even show their anger and frustration to their God. And then, finally, He smiles at their effort kindly and the journey commences.
  • The deities stay at the Gundicha Temple for 9 days. Then they visit the temple of Mausi maa where they are served the Poda Pitha. This is a specialty of this region and is a favorite not only of Jagannath but of most Odiya people as well. The Poda Pitha is a kind of baked cake made with rice, black gram, jaggery, and coconut.
  • Much like the Rath Yatra, the Jagannath Puri temple is also full of legends and astonishing facts that remain unexplainable to date. It is believed that the temple is the richest shrine in the country and has gold worth billions. But no one has ever been able to get the way into this temple.
  • Where there is Jagannath, there is no darkness. This is not rhetoric, this is astonishingly true. The 214-feet-tall abode of Lord Jagannath casts no shadow. Whichever angle to view it from, irrespective of the time and position of the sun, the Temple has no shadow. This could either be the architectural prowess of workers or divine intervention – we still don’t know.   
  • There are mysteries of the Jagannath Temple that fail every scientific reasoning there is. Flags always fly in the direction of the wind, but the flag placed atop the Jagannath Temple always flutters against the wind, proving that even the wind possesses no power in front of the Supreme power.
  • The Temple flag is changed every day; a priest scales the steep walls of the temple with the fresh flag in hand in unbelievable speed; it’s a spectacle that can take your breath away. He reaches the pinnacle with no external or added assistance and then changes the flag. It is believed that skipping this practice will keep the temple shut for 18 years.
  • Hindus consider wasting food a bad omen, an insult of Goddess Annapurna, and the Temple crew of the Jagannath Dham follows this principle to the T. The Mahaprasad is prepared in the temple kitchen, known as Ananda Bazar, in earthen pots. This kitchen prepares for at least 20,000 devotees every day and for 50,000 devotees on special occasions, but not a grain of food gets wasted.

Hope you have found these facts engaging and enlightening.

Jai Jagannath!

Pic Credits: Featured Image: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Jagannath_Temple,_Puri_(1).jpg

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