Lord jagannath of puri
Lord Jagannath is worshipped as the supreme lord of universe in the hindu traditions, along with his brother Balbhadra and sister, devi Subhadra . Jagannath is mostly associated with the Vaishnavite traditions and devotees consider him as the manifestation of Shree Krishna in Kaliyuga.The idol of Jagannath is a carved and decorated wooden stump with large round eyes and a symmetric face, and the idol has a conspicuous absence of hands or legs. The worship procedures, sacraments and rituals associated with Jagannath are syncretic and include rites that are uncommon in Hinduism. Unusually, the icon is made of wood and replaced with a new one at regular intervals.
legends of lord jagannath
King Indrayamuna was a saintly king born in Satyayaga who started the construction of a temple of Jagannath but due to some reasons the construction and inaugaration of the temple was left incomplete in Satyayuga.Hence the King took many rebirth (he was the one born as Gajendra, the king of elephants and attained Moksha,by singing the Gajendra Moksha strotam to Mahavishnu).He was also born in Kaliyuga.
King Indradyumna had a dream to find Nila Madhava: the Blue Krishna and make a temple for him. He had no clue where to find him and so sent Brahmins across the country to find Nila Madhava.The hunter Jara, whose arrow had killed Shree Krishna was in deep regret for his act and to seek forgiveness he moved place to place along with his clan(shabar clan).
Once Jara was hunting in the near Kontilo region of Odisha near Mahanadi, where he found the mysterious idol of Nila Madhava, it was blue in colour and was radiating immense amount of energy and it was difficult to see it with naked eyes.His clan started worshipping the idol regularly, and in this way many of his generation passed till Indrayamuna had the dream of finding the idol.At that time the leader of Shabar clan was Vishwabasu and he had a daughter named Lalitha.
Vidyapati was a brahmin who played the main role in finding the idol.As per the tribal rules a girl had to marry the first man she had touched . Once when Lalita was blindfolded she had accidently touched Vidyapati ,and consequently they were married .
When Vidyapati learned about the idol of Nilamadhava was with Vishwabasu he took it to the king .The idol was glorious and it was a blue stone which signified Brahma , the supreme energy which controls the entire universe.It emitted powerful radiations, so a body was required to keep it and also a temple was needed. As the king prayed a large sized wooden log arrived at the seashore. It is said that the log was actually the body of Lord Krishna now converted to wood, to merge with his soul as Nila Madhava. But the wood could not be moved or cut by anyone so the king requested Vishwabasu to move it , who was in deep pain for loosing the idol of his lord. When he touched the log it floated to the shore automatically.This symbolises that Lord can only be controlled by deep devotion and also these tribes were made the caretakers of the temple , officially called Daitapatis .
An old man (The divine Architect Vishwakarma in disguise) came and demanded that he should be locked in a close room with his instruments and the log for 21 days.The king agreed but his wife Gundicha was worried at the health of the old men.
One day there was no sound of cutting of wood,and the queen became anxious and opened the doors of temple . The architect disappeared leaving the statue uncompleted.Indrayumna knew that if his next generations bragged about him for making the Jagannath temple he would loose all the punya of his good Karmas.So he asked lord not to give him any child. The queen was disheartened by this so Lord gave her the title of Mausi.
There is a Gundicha temple which Jagannath and his brother and sister visit every year for 15 days. It’s also called Mausi Maa temple.This is only called the Jagannath Rathyatra.
Some significant facts:-
1.The idol of Jagannath is the total personification of Lord Krishna in Kaliyuga.Nila Madhava signifies his soul and the wooden log signifies his body.
2.The body of Jagannath is changed via a special process called Navakalevar only in a year that has 2 Ashad (Hindi name) months: usually after 12 years. But last time it was after 19 years!
3.The person who changes the Brahma from old body to new is blindfolded at the time. So nobody knows how it looks. Some people had tried in past and became blind due to the energy.
Lord Jagannath is the most merciful form of Mahavishnu and he is the one who forgives everyone if the devotee surrenders unto him with pure devotion and dedication.