Jagannatha Of Puri (Amar Chitra Katha)
Jagannathapuri in Orissa is one of the four major centres of pilgrimage in India. Built nearly eight centuries ago, during the reign of Chodagangadeva, the gigantic temple of Lord Jagannatha enshrines wooden idols of Lord Krishna, his brother Balabhadra and sister Subhadra. A divine dream ordained a life-long passion in King Indradyumna to enshrine Lord Krishna in a temple whose legend would live through the ages.
The annual festival of the temple is called Ratha Yatra or Gundicha Yatra, in which the three idols are taken out in chariots in a large procession. New chariots are built every year. However, new idols are carved only every 12 years. The image-making is governed by many traditions. The images must be carved from the trunk of a neem tree that grows at a crossroad; there should be no marks on it, no birds' nests built on it and there should be a snake-hole at the foot of this tree.
When the log from such a neem is brought to Puri, the heads of the families bearing the names Vishvavasu, Vidyapati and Vishvakarma (celebrated personalities whose contributions to King Indradyumna's quest were invaluable) symbolically strike it with axes of gold, silver and iron. After this, the images are carved out. Symbolically, the ratha or chariot is supposed to represent the human body; the horses, human desires; and the charioteer, judgement. The legend of the unusual deities and customs of the Jagannathapuri Temple is unfolded in this Amar Chitra Katha.
Age: 8+ years
Number of Pages: 32
Publisher: Amar Chitra Katha
Author: Gayatri Madan Datt