Modern Indian History-Events and Personalities

Places in news: Jagannath Puri Temple


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Jagannath Temple and its architecture

Mains level: Not Much

Odisha Governor’s suggestion that foreigners and non-Hindus should be allowed to enter Puri’s famed Jagannath temple has not gone down well with traditionalists and political leaders alike.

Why in news?

  • 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 foreign invaders 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.
  • In 1984, the servitors famously opposed the entry of Indira Gandhi inside the Temple, saying she had married a non-Hindu.

About Jagannath Temple

  • The Jagannath Temple is an important Vaishnavite temple dedicated to Jagannath, a form of Sri Krishna in Puri in Odisha.
  • The present temple was rebuilt from the 10th century onwards, on the site of an earlier temple, and begun by Anantavarman Chodaganga Deva, the first king of the Eastern Ganga dynasty.
  • The Puri temple is famous for its annual Ratha Yatra, or chariot festival, in which the three principal deities are pulled on huge and elaborately decorated temple cars.

Its architecture

  • With its sculptural richness and fluidity of the Oriya style of temple architecture, it is one of the most magnificent monuments of India.
  • The huge temple complex covers an area of over 400,000 square feet and is surrounded by a high fortified wall.
  • This 20 feet high wall is known as Meghanada Pacheri.
  • Another wall known as kurma bedha surrounds the main temple.

The temple has four distinct sectional structures, namely:

  1. Deula, Vimana or Garba griha (Sanctum sanctorum) where the triad deities are lodged on the ratnavedi (Throne of Pearls). In Rekha Deula style;
  2. Mukhashala (Frontal porch);
  3. Nata mandir/Natamandapa, which is also known as the Jagamohan (Audience Hall/Dancing Hall), and
  4. Bhoga Mandapa (Offerings Hall)

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