|| Jaggannatha ||

Jagannath ( जगन्नाथ) is a Hindu deity, a form of Vishnu. The oldest and most famous Jagannath deity is in the city of Puri, in Orissa. Jagannath is worshipped by Hindus all over India.

Puri is an ancient town on the east coast of India most famous for the ancient temple of Lord Jagannath, (another name for Lord Krishna) his brother Balbhadra and sister Subhadra. There  are many anecdotes relating to the shape of the deities, once there was a king by name Indradyumna who had lost his cherished deity while carrying it from one place to another, but later he had a dream that his Lord would come to him again sailing in the sea. After a few days they found a huge log coming to the shore and the king desired that the log be carved into the original forms of his deities. Two craftsmen named Vishnu and Vishvakarma started the job in a closed and hidden area, they made a condition that no one will look at he figures before it was completed.

At one point the craftsmen wished to relax for a while and temporarily stopped the task, as no noise was forthcoming from the area of their work the king and his wife thought the work was completed and so peeped into the area. At this point the craftsmen suddenly vanished without finishing the work. Thus as we see today the faces of the deities are well formed but not have no
hands or feet. Religious literature have indicated several symbolic aspects of the shapes and colors of the deities, and several anecdotes exist, all leading to the one concept of Eternal Truth (Sanathana Dharma) and the existence of one Supreme God. There are many annual rituals performed in the temple with great religious fervor from many generations and from devotees from many parts of the world, amongst them the Rath Yatra is the most important. All the deities are dressed and decorated with leaves roots, pulp and twigs for the occasion and carried in  special chariots for a distance of three kilometers in about twelve hours. Part of the path is cleaned with a golden broomstick by the descendents of the old rulers of Puri. There are many other popular ceremonies which according to legend signify the great attachment of Lord Krishna to his devotees, some of whom claim to be blood relations of Krishna. The ISCON movement has established various centers and spread the activities world wide with great religious fervor.

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