The globally renowned Jagannatha Temple in Puri is once again in the spotlight, with the Congress party pushing for the reopening of all four temple gates. The Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee (OPCC) has announced a rally on October 16 in Puri. The primary purpose of this rally is to advocate for the reopening of all four gates of the Jagannath Temple, allowing devotees to access the sacred site. OPCC president Sarat Pattanayak emphasised the temple’s significance as a destination for devotees from all over India and beyond.
“The number of devotees will increase during the holy Odia month of Kartik, which begins on October 29. Respecting the demands of Jagannath lovers, all four gates of the temple should be reopened for public immediately,” he demanded.
The party will submit a memorandum to the chief administrator of Shree Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA) in this regard, he said.
In a statement in the state assembly during the recently concluded monsoon session, Law Minister Jagannath Saraka said entry of devotees to the temple through the four gates has been closed since March 20, 2020, due to COVID restrictions.
“As the Srimandir Parikrama project is still underway, three gates cannot be opened for devotees,” he had said.
Apart from the Singhadwar (Lions Gate), the government has opened the Paschim Dwar (west gate) only for Puri residents to perform daily rituals.
With the temple administration in the news once again, it’s worth exploring the significant cultural, religious, and historical importance it holds for the people of Odisha and India. This revered temple is dedicated to Lord Jagannath, a prominent incarnation of Lord Vishnu in Hinduism, and it plays a central role in the religious and cultural heritage of the region and the nation.
It is one of the fourpilgrimage sites (Char Dham) and is visited by millions of devotees each year. The main deity in the temple is a wooden idol of Jagannath, which is said to be over 1,000 years old. The idol is flanked by the idols of his brother Balabhadra and sister Subhadra.
The present-day structure of the Jagannath Temple is believed to have been built in the 12th century by King Anantavarman Chodaganga Deva.
The Jagannath Temple is known for its unique Rath Yatra festival, which is held every year. During the Rath Yatra, the idols of Jagannath, Balabhadra, and Subhadra are placed on three giant chariots and pulled through the streets of Puri by millions of devotees. The Rath Yatra is one of the largest religious festivals in the world.
The Jagannath Temple is a place of great religious and cultural significance. It is a place where people from all walks of life come together to worship and celebrate their faith. It is also a place where people can learn about Hindu culture and tradition.
The temple architecture:
According to the official website, the temple of Lord Shree Jagannatha is about 214 feet and 8 inches high from the road level. The entire temple premises are enclosed by two big concentric walls. The outer wall is known as ‘Meghanada Prachira’ (665 ft. x 640 ft.), and the inner wall is known as ‘Kurma Prachira’ (420 ft. x 315 ft.). The height of the outer walls varies from 20 feet to 24 feet. There are four gates in the outer enclosure. The eastern entrance is known as Singha Dwara’, or the Lion’s Gate.
The entrances on the southern, western, and northern sides of the outer enclosure are known as Aswadwara (South Gate). “Vyaghra Dwara’ (West Gate) and Hastidwara (North Gate), respectively, have hundreds of subsidiary shrines and Mandapas (elevated platforms) inside the temple premises. Two gardens, namely ‘Koili Baikuntha’ and ‘Nilachala Upabana”, seven wells, Ananda Bazara, the kitchen, and the holy banyan tree (Kalpabata), are also inside the temple premises.