On being requested by mother Saci, Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu ,who by then had already accepted sannyasa, decided to make Jagannatha Puri instead of Vrindavana, His headquarters. Nityananda Prabhu, Gadadhara Pandita, Mukunda, Govinda, Jagadananda and Brahmananda accompanied the Lord in His travel to Nilachala dham. The Lord asked them whether any of them had any possession along with them. They replied that all they had with them was the treasure of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s association. Mahaprabhu was very pleased to hear this.He wanted His associates to depend entirely on Krishna for their own subsistence.
Atharnala Bridge is a marvel of medieval Orissan architecture. This historic laterite stone bridge was constructed by King Bhanu Dev of the Ganga dynasty in the thirteenth century. It is a combination of two words – ‘Athar’ which denotes ‘Eighteen’ and ‘Nala’ which signifies ‘Passage’. Hence ‘Atharnala’ literally translates to ‘eighteen passages’. The original bridge is said to have been constructed by King Indradyumna in Satya Yuga. He was initially unsuccessful when he commenced construction. But later he offered the head of his eighteen sons to the river. Only then he was successful in building the bridge. This bridge is situated on the Musa River at the entry point of the city of Puri. Local people refer to it as the ‘Hulhuliya Bridge’.
Alarnath, also known as Brahmagiri, is situated about 25 Kilometers from Jagannath Puri. The history of this place dates back to Satya Yuga when Brahma worshiped Lord Vishnu here at the top of this hill. Being satisfied with Lord Brahma, Lord Vishnu appeared and instructed him to carve His four-handed deity form out of black stone. Lord Vishnu also added that the place would come to be known as Brahmagiri as Lord Brahma had worshiped the Supreme Lord at that place. The present temple was built by King Madan Mahadeva about eleven hundred years ago and the worship was previously performed by South Indian Brahmins. Because the priests were in the disciplic line of the great spiritual teachers known as the Alvars, the deity became known as Alvarnatha (“Lord of the Alvars”), which in time became Alarnath.
When Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu reached the town of Cuttack, He went to visit the temple of Sakshi Gopal. While there, Nityananda Prabhu narrated to Him the story of the enchanting deity. Once, there were two brahmanas who were residents of the town of Vidyanagar. One of them was elderly while the other was young. The two brahmanas made an extensive tour to see different places of pilgrimage. After visiting Gaya, Kasi and Prayag, they finally reached Mathura. Thereafter they saw Govardhan hill, the twelve forests, and finally arrived at Vrindavan. In the village of Panchakroshi in Vrindavan, there was a great temple where gorgeous worship of Gopal was conducted. After taking baths at the different bathing places across the Yamuna, such as Kesi Ghat, Kaliya Ghat, the two pilgrims visited the temple of Gopal. The beauty of Gopal enchanted their minds. They stayed for a few days. Later the older brahmana, being impressed with services rendered by the young one, promised to give him his daughter in marriage. The young brahmana was taken by surprise and exclaimed that such an arrangement was unusual as the elderly brahmana belonged to a rich aristocratic family while he, on the other hand, was without a decent education or wealth. Hence he requested the elderly brahmana to reconsider his words as the young brahmana was not a suitable bridegroom for his daughter. The young brahmana also warned the elderly brahmana that he had a large circle of family and relatives whom he should discuss before concluding. However, the elderly brahmana remained stubborn. He insisted that the young brahmana should accept his proposal. Thereafter, at the request of the young brahmana, the elderly brahmana promised in front of the deity of Sakshi Gopal, that he would give him his daughter in charity.
Jagannath temple, Puri is located about 60kms from Bhubaneswar, on the coast of the Bay Of Bengal, in the state of Orissa, India. Jagannath Puri is addressed by various names. Some of these names are Sri Kshetra, Purushottama kshetra, Nilachala dham, Jagannath dham, Samanik tirtha, Uddiyan pith, Marta-Vaikuntha, Nilgiri, Niladri, Sankha kshetra, Bhu-svarga, and Nrsimha kshetra. Jagannath Puri is one of the most prominent spiritual sites of India (Bharat). It is said that the Supreme Lord bathes at Badrinath (situated in North India), He changes His clothes at Dwarka (situated in West India), accepts His food at Jagannath Puri (situated in East India), and then proceeds to take rest at Rameshwaram (situated in South India). Here at Jagannath Puri, the Supreme Lord resides in His deity form. Anyone who takes His darsana attains liberation from this material world. By visiting Jagannath Puri, one attains the pious credit of visiting all the other places of pilgrimage. Puri is about 2 km wide and 4 km long.
In the previous article, we explained how Lord Neela Madhava disappeared from the general view being totally covered under the sand. We also came to understand how King Indradyumna was pacified learning that the Supreme Lord Vishnu would soon manifest Himself in the form of Daru-Brahma. Request you to browse through the earlier article for a detailed description of these mysterious events surrounding Jagannath Puri dham. This article is a humble attempt to present the subsequent developments.
#1 Narada Muni instructed King Indradyumna to install the deity of Lord Narasimha deva that was uncovered from under the Aguru tree. King Indradyumna did likewise. Sughata, the son of Viswakarma (the celestial architect ), created a beautiful temple within four days. Lord Narasimha deva was installed in that temple as per the directions of Narada. Deities of Bhu-devi and Lakshmidevi were also installed along with Narasimha deva.
Chakratirtha or Chakra Narayana temple is an important spiritual site of Jagannath Puri. Chakratirtha is situated on the Chakra Tirtha Road at the Puri beach on the east side of Jagannath temple. There are three main deities in this temple – Narasimha, Chakra Narayana, and Adi Narayana. There is also a small temple devoted to Varuna deva, who is the father of Lakshmi devi and father-in-law of Lord Jagannath. Deities of Jagannath, Baladeva, and Subhadra are also worshiped in this temple.
Lord Narasimha is the fearsome half man-half lion form of the Supreme Lord Krishna, who had manifested Himself out of a pillar to protect His devotee Prahlada from the hands of demon Hiranyakashipu, his father. Hiranyakashipu was a mighty demon who had almost become immortal having been granted boons by Brahma. Hiranyakashipu wreaked havoc by conquering all of the three worlds in this material universe. No one could dare stand up against him in any war. The demigods were overthrown from their kingdoms in heaven and were made to bow at the demon’s feet. Hiranyakashipu was finally killed by Lord Narasimha deva who placed the demon on His lap and ripped open his body with His fingernails.
When Namacharya Srila Haridas Thakur passed away in Jagannath Puri, Lord Chaitanya led a procession carrying the body of Haridas to the sea. Chanting and dancing, Mahaprabhu bathed the body of Haridas Thakur. He then proclaimed that the sea (Mahodadhi) had become a great site of pilgrimage from then on as it had touched the transcendental body of Haridas.
haridase samudra jale snana karaila prabhu kahe – “samudra ei ‘maha-tirtha’ haila” (Chaitanya Charitamrta, Antya, 11.64)
Like the holy Ganga and Yamuna rivers, the ocean at Puri (Mahodadhi) is a purifying sacred place of pilgrimage. The ocean here is deemed a great pilgrimage site (Maha-tirtha). Every day, Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu would take bath in the ocean and take darsana of the Nila-chakra of Lord Jagannath’s temple, offering His obeisances to it. He also instructed His devotees to follow His example.
How to Reach :
The sea lies to the south of the Jagannath temple at Puri. Puri beach or the Golden beach lies on the shores of the Bay of Bengal.
Accommodation – One can choose to stay in any of the prominent hotels of Jagannath Puri.
Bedi Hanuman, as the name suggests, is the chained Hanuman temple and is a small temple by the sea on the east of the Jagannath Puri temple. It is also called the Daria Mahavir Temple; Daria means ‘sea’ and Mahavir is an alternate name of Lord Hanuman. The temple is not far from Chakratirtha. The deity of Hanuman who is worshiped here is about four feet in height and faces towards the east. Here Hanuman is also worshiped by other names like Chari-Chakra Hanuman and Ashta-bhuja Hanuman.
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