Jagannath temple at Puri is one of the greatest religious monuments in
the India. Situated
on the sea coast, the abode of Lord Jagannath is popularly known as
‘Srikhetra’ or Purusottama khetra on the basis of its religious
sanctity. The historical records says the temple was originally built by Yayati II of Somavamsi dynasty on the site of the present shrine. Historians, however, differ on this
issue. Some of them of that the temple was built by Anangabhimadeva
Chodagangadeva, the grandson of Anantavarman Chodaganga .The
records however, fully
confirms that it was Chodaganga who built the temple.
The temple of Lord Jagannath was built according to Kalingan style of
Pancharatha type. Orissan temple architecture, which made an humble
beginning before the 6th century A. D reached
Its perfection by the time the present temple of Lord Jagannath was built. The idea of
building the huge temples with three sections (Jagamohana, Bhogamandapa and Natyamandapa) before the Vimana, the main temple has already gained ground in Orissa. Jagannath temple is the first expression of full
fledged Pancharatha type of Kalingan style of
The pancharatha style consists of
two konakas and one raha. The idea of constructing a temple is to install a deity in it and to
offer all comforts divine as well royal. The deity is regarded
to be a royal personage and therefore
he is provided with all
facilities to live in a
palace-like building with a huge audience hall (Jaqgamohana),
dining hall (Bhogamandapa) and a dancing hall (Natyamandapa).
Besides, he is further provided with
horses, gold, jewellery, silken clothes and a lofty abode (Vimana) for his residence.
Jagannath temple is build on a highly raised
platform, compared to Lingaraj and other temples
belonging to this type. Jagannath temple was the first temple
in the history of
Orissan temple architecture where
all the chambers like Jagamohana, Bhogamandapa and Natyamandapa were build
along with the main temple. There were miniature shrines on the
three outer side of the main temple.
Jagannath temple is a pancharatha
with well developed
pagis. ‘Gajasimhas’ (elephant lions) carved in recesses of the
pagas, the ‘Jhampasimhas’(jumping lions)
are also found in
their proper places. It is the perfect pancharatha temple
which developed into a Nagararekha temple with unique Orissan style of
Pada, Kumbha, Pata,Kani and Vasanta. The Vimana or
the apsidal structure consists of several sections
superimposed one over other tapering to the
top where great Amalakasila and Kalasa are placed.
Among the existing temples in Orissa, the hight of temple of Lord
Jagannath is highest (214 ft.8inches from road level).
The temple has four gates and two very big concentric walls. The outer wall of Jagannth temple is
known as Meghanada Prachira (665 ft.by 650 ft.) and the inner one as Kurma beda (420 ft. by 315
ft). The outer wall is not uniformly high, its height varying from 20 to 24 feet. Jagannath temple is the only temple in Orissa which has four gates both in inner and outer walls.
main entrance on the east is called Simhadwara or the Lion gate, which is the symbol of strength. The southern gate is the next important one where symbol of horse shows the military power of the king. The western gate is called
Baghradwara or the tiger gate which signifies energy and the northern gate called Hastidwara indicates prosperity. But according to local traditions the four gates represents Dharma (lion), Artha (Elephant),Karma (Horse)and Moksha (tiger). According to Madala Panji the outer prakara was built
by Kapilendradeva (1435-1497).The inner prakara called the Kurma beda was built by
Purusottamadeva (1467-1497) who also built the Bhogamandapa
of the temple.
Over centuries the subsidiary temples were built and
the existed were repaired and renovated. The Aruna stambha now in the front of the
eastern Simhadwara was brought from Konark in the later half of the 18th century. The architectural and the
sculptural features of this world famous temple
did not receive due importance as they
remained hidden under the successive coats
of plaster. Due to its white washed exterior
, the temple was called White Pagoda by the European sailors in contrast to
Black Pagoda, the Konark temple.