Jagannath Puri Rath Yatra: 5 Fast Facts about the temple.

One of India’s biggest festivals, Rath Yatra begins today, July 12 and that is celebrated all across the world by millions of Indians. The festival has its primary significance in Indian states like Odisha, Jharkhand, West Bengal and Assam.

Picture Credits: India TV. Location: Puri Jagannath Temple.

As everyone has their eyes on Puri Jagannath Temple’s grand celebration for this festival, let us know some of the important facts about the temple.

1) Formation of Temple.

The temple was first built by the Ganga Dynasty ruler Anantavarman Chodaganga in 12 Century CE and was further developed by several other kings including that of the Ganga Dynasty as well as the Suryvamshi Dynasty.

2) Deities Worshipped

Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra and Goddess Subhadra are worshipped inside the temple. The deities are adorned with different jewelleries and accessories according to different seasons.

3) Structure of the Temple.

The Temple has four distinct structures:

a) Deula, Vimana or Garba Griha where the triad deities are kept on the ratnavedi, the throne of pearls, in Deula Style.

b) Mukhashala, the frontal porch

c) Nata Mandir, Natamandapa which is known as Jagmohan, the audience hall or the dancing hall.

d) Bhoga Mandapa, the offerings hall.

The main temple is a curvilinear temple and crowning the top is the Srichakra, an eight spoked wheel of Lord Vishnu. It is also known as Nilachakra which is made out of Ashtdhatu and is considered sacrosanct.

4) The Food Offerings:

The food is offered to the Lord six times a day. The breakfast that is offered early morning is called Gopala Vallabha Bhog, the next offering at about 10 am is known as Sakala Bhog and another offering after some time is called the Sankhudi Bhoga which consists of Pakhala with curd and Kanji Payas.

The noon offering is known as Madhyanha Dhupa and that is followed by evening food at 8 pm known as Sandhya Dhupa. The last offering to Lord is called the Bada Simhara Bhoga.

5) Rosaighara- Temple’s Kitchen.

The temple’s kitchen is considered to be the largest in the world. About 56 varieties of food are produced which are purely vegetarian and prepared without the use of onions, garlic or chilies as prescribed by some Hindu Texts. Cooking is done only by using earthen pots with some water that comes from two nearby tube-wells known as Ganga and Yamuna. The most awaited food offering is known as Kotho Bhoga, offered during Mid-Day. After being offered to Lord Jagannath and other deities, the food is sold in a nearby market.