Around 3000 years ago, there lived a king who ruled the present-day Puri district in Odisha. Named Indradyumna, he was destined to build an abode for Lord Jagannath himself which is now widely visited and worshipped as The Puri Jagannath Temple.
King Indradyumna was an ardent devotee of Lord Vishnu and wished to have a darshan (vision) of him. One fine day, he came to know of the Nila Madhava which is said to be an incarnation of the Lord and sent brahmins in all directions in search of it. Each one of them returned unsuccessful expect one named Vidyapati. Priest Vidyapati gained the knowledge of the Nila Madhava through his wife whose father, Vishvasu worshipped the incarnation but kept it in secrecy. When Vishvasu came to know of this, he immediately bound his son-in-law forbidding him from informing the same to King Indradyumna in the fear of not being able to worship Nila Madhava anymore. He however had to set him free at the request of his daughter and King Indradyumna was thus informed.
With much hope and excitement, the king set out to reach Nila Madhava but was unable to find it in the location that Vidyapati gave him. Just then, a voice claiming to be Lord Vishnu’s directed him to construct a temple atop the Nila Hill saying he will manifest himself in a wooden form as Daru-Brahman there.
As directed the King constructed the temple. One night, Lord Vishnu appeared in Indradyumna’s dreams and asked him to collect the Daru Brahman from the shore near a place called Bankimuhan. With the help of Vishvasu and Vidyapati, the king installed the Daru-Brahman in the temple.
A skilled sculptor called Ananta Maharana was appointed to sculpt idols out of the wood. He however had a strange request to be left alone inside the temple for twenty-one days and that no one should open the doors until then. Fourteen days down the line, the king grew anxious and broke his promise thus opening the doors. To his astonishment, he found no sculptor but three idols- each of Lord Jagannath, Lord Balram and Devi Subhadra. As a result of the broken promise, the sculptor vanished without carving the hands and legs thereby proving that the sculptor was none other that Lord Vishnu himself.
Every year in the month of Ashadha, the three idols at the Puri Jagannath Temple are taken on a grand procession called the Rath Yatra. This is a festive event in Odisha which involves the idols being mounted on elaborate and richly decorated chariots which are pulled through the streets of Puri on a three kilometres journey to Gundicha temple where they are kept for nine days and then taken back to the Shri Mandir.
This year, the Rath Yatra took place on 4th of July and saw a number of devotees taking part in the event. On 24th of next month, we celebrate the birth of Lord Krishna- Janmashtami. Bring home an idol of little Krishna to mark the festival and to bring peace, love and the blessings of the Lord to your doorstep.
Find some exquisite paintings, sculptures and more of Lord Krishna in our collection of the month- “Glimpses of Krishna”.