Unexplained Mysteries of Jagannath Temple Puri in Odisha, India
It was sometime in the 14th Century that a member of the Order of Friars Minor that was founded by St. Francis of Assisi, carried to Europe the story of the image of a Hindu God named Jagannath or Lord Vishnu being pulled across the streets of India in a mammoth carriage as part of a religious procession. The story exaggerated the actual events and even mentioned that many devotees threw themselves in the path of the carriage to be crushed under its wheels in an act of self-sacrifice. This story, though an exaggeration, seemed to catch the imagination of Europe and spread like wildfire and by the turn of the 19th century the word Juggernaut was born into the English Lexicon and referred to any massive vehicle or powerful entity with the power of crushing everything in its path.
Given this intriguing association of the word Juggernaut, Jagannath Temple, Puri, and the Rath Yatra, it is no wonder that the temple and the Rath Yatra is famed throughout the world. Apart from the Rath Yatra, the Jagannath Temple Puri is one of the Char Dham or four destinations which hold a prime place as pilgrimage centers for the Hindus. Puri, Dwarka, Rameshwaram, and Badrinath are the Char Dham destinations located at the cardinal points of India. The mystery and history of Puri Jagannath Temple have always been a source of fascination and this only increases with the passage of time.
The history of Puri Jagannath Temple is quite ancient. The Jagannath Temple Puri has its origins somewhere between 1078 to 1148 CE. However, the temple as we see it today was built in the year 1174 CE by an Oriya king known as Ananga Bhima Deva. There are multiple legends associated with how the temple came into existence and how the images of Lord Jagannath – another form of Lord Krishna, and his siblings Balabhadra and Subhadra were built. These add to the mystical allure of the temple and contribute to its enigmatic appeal. However, there are some really incredible facts about Puri Jagannath temple that remain unexplained. These continue to be conundrums waiting to be deciphered and explained. They continue to pose a question mark to the intellect of mankind. Here we look at these fascinating facts that my dear readers are sure to inspire incredulity and awe. Let me tell you that in addition to these there are many more interesting mysterious stories about Lord Jagannath Temple.
1. A Natural No-Fly Zone
When we were at the Jagannath Temple Puri, a couple of months ago, I looked up at the Gopuram and as is my want waited for a bird or two to fly around it. I like to capture photos of tall structures like towers and temple Gopurams with the backdrop of flying objects, I had captured images of a plane flying past the Qutub Minar and now wanted to capture the Gopuram of the famed Jagannath Temple Puri with maybe an eagle swooping across it. But I was disappointed, no birds flew around the Gopuram. It was surprising as usually, birds flock around tall structures. It was explained to me later that the Gopuram at the Jagannath Temple Puri was an exception and no birds ever flew around it. I was spellbound by this discovery! It seemed that the area was a No-Fly zone, not declared so by the powers of State, but it seemed like it was through a divine decree. There seemed to be no other explanation for this phenomenal fact. Probably yet another of the Puri Jagannath Temple miracles.
2. Defying the Power of the Wind
As I looked up at the triangular flag fluttering in the wind atop the Gopuram, its saffron and yellow colors creating a kaleidoscopic effect against the bright colors of the sun’s rays, I noticed another strange phenomenon. The flag was flying not in the direction of the wind, but opposite to it. Yes, the flag that flies atop the Jagannath temple Puri defies the direction of the wind and flies against it!
3. A Shadowy Fact about the Jagannath Temple Puri
As we explored the Jagannath Temple Puri, afternoon slipped into the evening and the shadows started lengthening. But there was one structure that cast no shadow. The main dome of the Jagannath Temple, Puri cast no shadow as if by a supernatural force that had exempted it from this terrestrial phenomenon. Is this an architectural marvel, an engineering feat or a phenomenon that can only be attributed to a greater force. There are no answers, only conjectures, and more questions. The shadow of Jagannath Temple or rather the absence of it continues to be one of the unsolved mysteries of the Lord Jagannath Temple.
4. Food For Thought
The Kitchen of the Jagannath Temple Puri is considered to be the biggest and largest kitchen in the world. The kitchen consists of 32 rooms having 250 earthen ovens and over 600 cooks with 400 assistants prepare the food that is offered to the Lord and partaken off by the devotees as Prasadam. One of the interesting facts about Sri Jagannath Temple that defy explanation is the fact that though the same quantity of food is cooked every day in the kitchen, it is able to feed the devotees irrespective of the variation in the number of visitors that may range from 2,000 to 20,000. What is remarkable is that never is there a shortage or surplus of food. Indeed food for thought!
5. The Mystery of the Cooking Pots
The food in the kitchen of the Jagannath Temple Puri is cooked in earthen pots. The pots are placed one, on top of the other on firewood in the hearth. The food in the pots are cooked uniformly and what is amazing is the fact that the food in the topmost pot is cooked first while the ones below get cooked in the order of their position with the bottom-most pot getting cooked last! This is yet another of the amazing and unbelievable facts about Jagannath Temple
6. Defying the Laws of Geography
It is a known geographical fact that the breeze from the sea blows towards the land during the daytime and the breeze from the land blows towards the sea during night times. However, it is a remarkable fact that these laws of Geography are reversed near the shores of the Jagannath Temple Puri, where the breeze from the sea blows during the night and the breeze from the land blows towards the sea during the daytime. The action of the winds that blow near the coast where the temple is situated remains as one of the scientific mysteries of Lord Jagannath Temple in Puri.
7. An Ancient Sound Proof Chamber
The Jagannath Temple Puri has four doors, one in each direction. As we stepped into the temple through the Singhadwara, the main entrance to the temple located in an easterly direction, the sound of the ocean suddenly ceased and was completely shut off. However, when we exited the temple, the sound of the waves crashing on the sands was unmistakably audible. Another engineering marvel? Another unexplained mystery? Another divine manifestation? No answers, only an enduring enigma on the sands of time. Another one of the unexplained facts about Puri, Jagannath.
As we walked out of the Singhadwara my eyes fell on a tall pillar known as Arun Stambha, the statue of Arun, the mythical charioteer of the Sun God graces the top of the pillar. My thoughts moved to another enigmatic temple not far away from here, the Konark Sun Temple. This Pillar originally stood in the precincts of the Konark Sun Temple.
8. The Mystery of The Nila Chakra
The Nila Chakra is a wheel made of 8 alloys that is mounted on the top of the longest Shikhar or Gopuram of the Jagannath Temple Puri. The circumference of the wheel is about 36 feet. What is intriguing is the fact that the wheel seems to face you irrespective of the position that you are standing in.
How to get to Puri
- You can travel by road from Bhubaneswar to Puri. Puri is at a distance of about 68 Kilometers from Bhubneshwar
- Nearest airport is Bhubaneswar
- You can also reach Puri by rail from Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Tirupati etc.
- You can reach Bhubaneswar by Road, Rail, and Air and then travel to Puri by road
- Bhubaneswar is 442 kilometers from Kolkata
The Jagannath Temple, Puri continues to be a source of wonder and intrigue. The Puri Jagannath temple story continues to hold spellbound millions. The Unexplained Mysteries of Jagannath Temple Puri in Odisha, India, continue to baffle visitors with their enduring enigma and intrigue. It is a place that holds many an untold secret in its bosom, a temple that is revered and looked up to as the divine abode of the Lord. These were the mysteries of Puri’s Jagannath Temple which are still unexplained. As I left the precincts of the grand temple I still wondered about the secrets of the Jagannath Temple, Puri.
Have you visited this amazing temple in Odisha, an eastern state of India and did you observe these intriguing facts? Did you know these amazing facts about Jagannath Puri Temple, Odisha? The Jagannath Temple myths and facts have over time become interwoven and it is hard to differentiate one from the other, however, there is no denying the mysterious allure of the temple.
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