The festival of Jagannath Rath Yatra

‘Jagannath Puri’, Rath Yatra get organized every once in a year. Jagannath Puri is one of the four ‘DHAMs’ in the Hindu Culture. It is situated in the holy town of ‘Puri’ within the state of Orissa, on the eastern part of  India; remaining three ‘DHAMs’ are situated:

original1.2406073.2Dwarika in the west, Badrinath in the north and Rameswaram in the southern part of India and today I will share some interesting facts about ‘The Jagannath Rath Yatra’.

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The Jagannath temple has a long and rich history. On the second day of the bright fortnight of Asadha (june) month, the pilgrim town of Puri celebrates the festival of Jagannath Rath Yatra. It is the day when Gods come out on the Royal Chariots and visit the Gundicha temple.

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The embodiment’s of 3 deities, Jagannath, and his siblings Balabhadra and Subhadra, have brought out off the temple on the streets of the Puri. Devotees use their combined strength to pull the chariot to Gundicha temple using ropes.

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During this there is a ritual call “Chedaphahra”, which involves the king of Puri, Sweeping the floor before Jagannath. He sweeps all 3 chariots with the gold handled groom and sprinkle sandalwood water on the very first and last days of the Yatra.

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After 9 days, these Deities are brought back from the Gundicha temple to the main  Shree Jagannath temple. On the way back in the mid of the return journey, the 3 Deities hop on a temple called Mausi MAA temple and get the feast of ” Pada Pitha”  (a kind of baked cake).

 

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GUNDICHA  Temple

 

When we were kids, we usually used to watch the Jagannath Yatra on our television set. But we never tried to get to know why this ritual is happening?Why is a king sweeping around chariots? Why these Gods come out every year?

Let’s know these facts today!! Recently I came across some very interesting facts about Jagannath Puri. So, I thought, let’s share them with you.

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Legendary account as found in the Skanda-Purana, Brahma Purana, and other Puranas that the original image of Jagannath (a deity form of Vishnu), at the end of Treta Yuga, manifested near a banyan tree, near seashore in the form of a Blue Jewel. That blue jewel came out from Lord Krishna’s feet. After death, his body got disappeared, but this Padma (Blue Jewel) remained on earth. It was so dazzling that it could grant instant Moksha, so the God Dharma and Yama wanted to hide it in the earth, and was successful. In Dvapara Yuga Lord Jagannath was originally worshiped by a Savar king (tribal chief) named Viswavasu. On hearing about the deity, King Indradyumna sent a Brahmin priest and his brother Vidyapati to locate the deity, who was worshiped

secretly in a dense forest by Viswavasu.

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INDRADYUMNA

Vidyapati tried his best but could not locate the place. But at last, he managed to marry Viswavasu’s daughter Lalita. On multiple requests of Vidyapti, Viswavasu took his son-in-law blindfolded to a cave where Lord Neela Madhava was worshiped.

Vidyapati was very intelligent. He dropped mustard seeds on the ground on the way. The seeds germinated after a few days, which enabled him to find out the cave later on. On hearing from Vidyapati, King Indradyumna proceeded immediately to Odra Desha (Odisha) on a pilgrimage to see and worship the Deity. But the deity had disappeared. Actually, the Deity was hidden in the sand. The king was disappointed and he determined not to return without having a Darshan of the deity and observed fast unto death at Mount Nilgiri.The King Indradyumna was apprised of the message of Brahma by Narada: that the King must worship the deity with one thousand Ashwamedha yajnas.(yug).

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OVER one thousand Aswamedh yug: the divine voice of Neela Madhav instructs Indradyumna as:

“In this world, I will not give you Darshan in the form of Neela Madhava, but I will manifest in four forms: Jagannatha, Balabhadra, Subhadra, and Sudarshan chakra. Wait near the river bank, and a Daru (log of Neem tree trunk) would come afloat.I will manifest in the form of very large, fragrant, reddish log, and the signs of Sankha, Chakra, Gada, and the Padma will be seen everywhere in that form. Go there and take me out and make four deities from that log. Then you will be able to worship me”.

When this log, radiant with light, was seen floating over the sea, Narada told the king to make three idols out of it and place them in a pavilion.

brahmaIndradyumna got Visvakarma, the architect of the Gods, to build a magnificent temple to establish the idols and Vishnu himself appeared in the guise of a carpenter to make the idols on the condition that he was to be left undisturbed until he finished the work.

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But just after two weeks, the Queen became very anxious. She assumed the carpenter to be dead as no sound came from the temple. Therefore, she requested the king to open the door. Thus, they went to see Viswkarma at work at which the latter abandoned his work leaving the idols unfinished. The idols were devoid of any hands. A divine voice told Indradyumana to install them in the temple. And hence the inception of ‘The Jagannath Temple’ happened.

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Following the same pattern, every once in a while, Jagannath presides deity temple in the Puri dies and then come back to the life. Jagannath’s sister Subhadra and brother Balabhadra also undergo the same change. This tradition, known as NOBHAKODA, has been taking place from last 4000 years. It happens when an extra month gets added to the traditional calendar year.This happens to every 14 to 19 years. 2015 was one such years.

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It’s a pretty interesting phenomenon by which how Lord Jagannath’s rebirth takes place.  A Special Neem tree called Darubramh; which doesn’t have a nest, ant hills and snake lives near these and contains symbols of Vishnu. These are cut and transported to the pilgrim town of the Puri where they are carved as with the specific ritualistic guidelines. Then on a specific night the government declares a complete blackout in the Puri and the special blindfolded priest transfers something mysterious from the old image of Jagannatha to the new one. That substance is called “Bramh Pradarth” but no one really knows exactly about it. People believe that it is the same Blue Jewell which is worshiped as Neela Mahadev.

brahmaAfter the rituals, Jagannath’s old image is buried in the special ground barrier of the temple.

Although the Jagannath temple faced several invasions,  through all these adversities Puri temple has continued to thrive. Invasions happened, religious adversities came and went, but the divinity that lives in deformed and smiling deity of Puri passes from one form to another and blesses the entire mankind…

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for more detail plz visit:  www.handmadetoys.in

 

 

 

 

Lord Jagannath and his siblings, Balabhadra and Subhadra, deities smile at me :)

jagananth_1413021999We covered many heritage toys stories from north, south and west, how could we forgot to Raghurajpur . On the mapping of traditionally rich heritage places, you will found Raghurajpur painted with bold strokes. Raghurajpur heritage craft village is in Odisha, 14 km away from Hindu pilgrimage town of Puri. Raghurajpur renowned to produce different varieties of handicrafts.

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This is the only village in India, where each family is engaged in one craft or the other such as patta paintings, palm leaf engravings, papermache toys and masks, wood carvings, wooden toys, cow dung toys and so on. Raghurajpur a place where arts and crafts have reached its stage of excellence.

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Photo credit: Abhimanyu Biriki

There are barely a hundred homes in this village. Narrow houses located on either side of narrow lanes, a temple on each lane, a sit out area in front of each house, total wooden interiors (beams, pillars, doors and the likes) and traditional decor is how Raghurajpur looks at first glance. but once u enter u will found every home is an studio and every another person is an artist or a chitrakar, creating and preserving the traditional art form of Pattachitra and other carft painted with Pattachitra. In this village you will found fascinating murals painted on the outer walls of every home.

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photo credit; Abhimanyu Biriki

The reigning theme is the portrait of the three faces that fill up every space on the walls: the triad deities of Puri – Lord Jagannath and his siblings, Balabhadra and Subhadra. Almost every art form in this village is inspired by them.

As I always talks about cultural art toys and artifacts over my blog, here also we will talk upon those features only.

Coconut n betel nut painting-  

coconut shell called  nadia are inexpensive in Orissa, given its long coastline where coconut trees grow in abundance. Decorative and utility items crafted from coconut shells work out cheaper on account of the low cost of raw material,and less labour involved in comparison to betel nut carving.

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photo credit: Abhimanyu Biriki

on these shells, where the triad deities smile at me.

Cow dung toys

From centuries, toys made from cowdung have severed as cheap substitutes to wooden and metal toys, especially for marginalized communities. The raw material is free and production cost is negligible almost. They are mostly made by womens of stone carvers community, these brightly painted toys are rustic in design. Birds, animals are popular motifs as are statuettes of lard jagannath and his companions.

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These are sold in local markets . cowdung enjoyed a great deal of value in india and is thought of as holy as well as having antiseptic property.

Papier-mâché masks

Like other handicrafts linked with Raghurajpur, this handicraft made from wet waste paper too has its origin at this heritage village. Local pattachitra artists uses natural colours & mythological figures to make this masks.

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Photo credit: Abhimanyu Biriki

It can be used as wall hanging, toys & as puja idol. Masks of demons can also be used in front of houses to ward off evil eyes.

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Photo Credit: Abhimanyu Biriki