Lord Jagannath Temple of Puri is a sacred Vaishnava temple dedicated to Lord Jagannath the famous temple is located on the eastern coast of India, at Puri in the state of Odisha.
The temple is one of the Char Dham pilgrimages that anyone is expected to make in one’s lifetime.The temple is an important pilgrimage destination of India.
The major construction of Jagannath temple was initiated by king chodagangadeva (known for also building the Sun temple of Konark and several major Shaivism temples). And was completed by his grandson Anangabhimadeva in the late 12th century.
The temple is famous for its annual Rath Yatra, or chariot festival,in which the four main temple deities – Lord Jagannath,Lord balabhadra,Goddess Subhadra and Sudarshan are hauled on huge and elaborately decorated temple cars.
Since medieval times, it is also associated with intense religious fervour.
The image of idols in Lord Jagannath temple is wooden, though the icons of most Hindu deities that are worshiped are made out of stone or metal.
Every twelve or nineteen years these wooden figures are ceremoniously replaced by using sacred trees, that have to be carved as an exact replica.The festival is known as Nabakalebara.
Histrory of Lord Jagannath Temple , Puri : The traditional story about the origins of the Lord Jagannath temple is that here the original image of Jagannath (a deity form of Vishnu) at the end of Treta yuga manifested near a banyan tree,near seashore in the form of an Indranila mani or the Blue Jewel.It was so dazzling that it could grant instant moksha, so the God Dharma or Yama wanted to hide it in the earth, and was successful.In Dvapara Yuga King Indradyumna of Malwa wanted to find that mysterious image and to do so he performed harsh penances to obtain his goal.Vishnu then instructed him to go to the Puri seashore and find a floating log to make an image from its trunk.
The King found the log of wood. He did a yajna from which God Yajna Nrisimha appeared and instructed that Narayana should be made as fourfold expansion, i.e. Paramatma as Vasudeva, his Vyuha as Samkarshana, Yogamaya as Subhadra, and his Vibhava asSudarsana. Vishwakarma appeared in the form of an artisan and prepared images of Jagannath, Balabhadra and Subhadra from the tree.
When this log, radiant with light was seen floating in the sea, Narada told the king to make three idols out of it and place them in a pavilion.
Indradyumna got Visvakarma, the architect of Gods, to build a magnificent temple to house the idols and Vishnu himself appeared in the guise of a carpenter to make the idols on condition that he was to be left undisturbed until he finished the work.
But just after two weeks, the Queen became very anxious. She took the carpenter to be dead as no sound came from the temple. Therefore, she requested the king to open the door. Thus, they went to see Vishnu at work at which the latter abandoned his work leaving the idols unfinished. The idol was devoid of any hands. But a divine voice told Indradyumana to install them in the temple. It has also been widely believed that in spite of the idol being without hands, it can watch over the world and be its lord. Thus the idiom.