Archive for category Orissa

The unfinished Jagannath idol at Puri

Among the most exalted of all Vishnu temples is the one at Puri, in Orissa, where the deity is called Jagannath – the Lord of the Universe. Jagannath is an incarnation of Lord Vishnu himself and he is worshipped throughout India. Since time immemorial, millions and millions of people have offered worship to Lord Vishnu in Puri. Even the Brahma Purana (one of the 18 major Puranas, the ancient sacred texts that were composed prior to 1500 BCE) mentions Puri as a pilgrimage center for Vishnu devotees. The temple itself is built with typical Orissa style architecture and it has been rebuilt quite a few times in the past, and historians date the current temple back to about 1100 CE. Here, Jagannath is the principal deity; his brother Balarama and sister Subhadra are the ancillary ones. And, the most interesting thing about these deities is that they are made of wood, instead of the traditional stone and they have been unfinished for centuries. There is a story behind why they are always left unfinished even though they are re-carved from time to time.

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