Who is Lord Shri Jagannath? Lord Jagannath Puja Online
Who is Shri Jagannath?
Bhagwan Jagganath is considered the lord of the universe and is the most important deity of the Indian state of Odisha. He, along with his sister Subhadra and brother Balabhadra is worshiped sacredly in the state and all over India. Shri Jagganath is the supreme God in Hindu mythology. The temple of Puri is one of the largest and oldest among the famous temples across the country. He is also considered as the avatar of Lord Krishna himself.
He is known as the bearer of the Sudarshan Chakra and Panchajanaya, and the symbolism is depicted through the wooden idols worshipped in the Jagannath Puri Temple that hold the sacred Rathyatra festival every year to mark respect to the triad. The origins can be traced back to the Rigveda; wherein there is a description of a wooden log adrift in the sea, which inspired Acharya Sayana to carve out the wood into an idol of the Purushottam.
The Shri Jagannath Puri temple was built by Anantavarman Chodaganga Deva, the first king of the Eastern Ganga dynasty. It has been rebuilt since the 10th Century by the king on the site of an earlier temple. It is one of the Char Dham (four religious sites) considered the most important places of worship for Hindus. Unlike any other temple, the deity is depicted in the form of wooden idols replaced every 12 years or 19 years by exact replicas. The idols are carved out of sacred neem logs and sit right in the inner sanctum at the center of the temple. The platform on which the idols sit is adorned with jewels and is known as ratnabedi.
The Jagannath Puja is an elaborate combination of Vedic, Puranic, and Tantric practices, since Lord Jagganath is considered the Vedic Par Brahm, the Puranic Narayana or Vishnu, and the Tantric Bhairava.
The puja starts with Dwaraphita (opening of the doors), which is the first ‘Niti’ and is performed in the presence of the five Sivakasi, i.e., Bhitarchha Mahapatra, Pratihari, Muduli, Akhand Mekap, and Palia Mekap. The doors are examined and opened at 4.30 am every day. The puja ends with the Kata Seja Lagi and Pahuda, which are performed at 11.30 pm. During the day, various pujas are performed in front of the deities to appease them and pray for world peace and harmony. The deities in Jagannath Puri temple are treated daily by nearly 80 to 90 Sivakasi working daily. The rituals include Mangal Arti, Madhya Arti, and Sandhya Arti, which are auspicious lamp offerings during the different durations of the daily cycle.