Puri’s Jagannath Temple
2023 JAN 23
Art and Culture > Architecture > Temple architecture
Why in news?
- Odisha Governor Ganeshi Lal has backed the entry of foreign nationals inside the world-famous Jagannath Temple in Puri, wading into a debate that has lasted for decades and periodically triggered controversy.
About Jagannath Temple:
- The temple is dedicated to Jagannath, a form of Sri Krishna in Puri in the state of Odisha.
- It is believed to be constructed in the 12th century by King Anatavarman Chodaganga Deva of the Eastern Ganga Dynasty (as suggested by the Kendupatna copper-plate inscription of his descendant Narasimhadeva II).
- The temple was built on the basis of Kalinga architectural style - a distinct sub-style of the Nagara style.
- It has around 120 temples and shrines inside. The main temple has curvilinear shape with a chakra of Lord Vishnu on the top.
- Jagannath Puri temple is called ‘Yamanika Tirtha’ where, according to the Hindu beliefs, the power of ‘Yama’, the god of death has been nullified in Puri due to the presence of Lord Jagannath.
- This temple was called the ‘White Pagoda’ and is a part of Char Dham pilgrimages (Badrinath, Dwaraka, Puri, Rameswaram).
- There are four gates to the temple- Eastern ‘Singhdwara’ which is the main gate with two crouching lions, Southern ‘Ashwadwara’, Western 'Vyaghra Dwara and Northern ‘Hastidwara’. There is a carving of each form at each gate.
- In front of the entrance stands the Aruna stambha or sun pillar, which was originally at the Sun Temple in Konark.
- The temple is famous for its annual Rath Yatra, or chariot festival.
- Many great Vaishnava saints, such as Ramanujacharya, Madhvacharya, Nimbarkacharya, Vallabhacharya and Ramananda were closely associated with the temple.
- Ramanuja established the Emar Mutt near the temple and Adi Shankaracharya established the Govardhan Math, which is the seat of one of the four Shankaracharyas
Why no non-Hindus?
- It has been the practice for centuries — even though there is no clearly articulated reason for it.
- Some historians believe that multiple attacks on the Temple by Muslim rulers might have led the servitors to impose restrictions on the entry of non-Hindus. Others have said that this was the practice from the time the Temple was built.
With reference to ‘Jagannath Puri temple’, consider the following statements:
1. It is constructed in the 12th century by King Anatavarman Chodaganga Deva of the Eastern Ganga Dynasty
2. The temple was built on the basis of Kalinga architectural style
Which of the statements given above is/are correct?
(a) 1 only
(b) 2 only
(c) Both 1 and 2
(d) Neither 1 nor 2