Thursday, 26 April 2018

The Geographical Size Of Puri Resembles A Right Oriented Conch Shell - Sri Jagannath Temple - Puri

The holy land of Odisha is divided into four kshetras. These kshetras are named after the four names of weapons of Lord Vishnu such as sankha (conch shell), chakra (disc), gada (mace) and padma (lotus). Puri Dham is known as Sankha Kshetra. Bhubaneswar is Chakra Kshetra, Jajpura is Gada Kshetra, and Konark is Padma Kshetra. Puri is known by various names of which Sankha Kshetra is one. Sankha means conch shell. The geographical size of Puri resembles a right oriented conch shell, the ‘Dakshinavarta Sankha’, which is why it is also called the Sankha Kshetra, a manifestation of the Lord's conch. The sacred section of Puri looks like a conch shell and it is in this section that all the sacred centres like temples, mathas, sacred tanks, trees and various other sacred sites are located. Sankha or conch shell is one of the Aiyudhas of Lord Vishnu, who resides in the naval or the central part of the Conch shell in the form of Lord Jagannath. The Sankha Kshetra covers an area of 10 miles, out of which nearly 40% is submerged under water and the other part which lies above water is of the shape of a conch shell or Sankha.

Lord Puri Jagannath
Lord Puri Jagannath
In describing Jagannath Puri Dham as Shankha-kshetra, a conch-like area comprised of 115 transcendental tirthas, teerthams and shrines, we have begun to describe the seven concentric folds within which all these holy spots are contained. The first, innermost fold is home to the Jagannath Deities Themselves, in the sanctum of Their 12th century shrine. The second fold, a hexagonal shape adjacent to the inner fold, is home to four Devis and contains two tirthas, two sacred trees, and two tanks. The third fold of Shankha-kshetra comprises the central part of its lotus-like structure, which has eight petals, each petal being the abode of Lord Shiva and a Devi. The eight forms of Shiva residing here are Agneswar, Bateswar, Khetrapaleswar, Chakreswar, Baikuntheswar, Pataleswar, Isaneswar, and Lokeswar. The eight goddesses are Dwarabasini, Mahabajreswari, Swanabhairabi, Bhadrakali, Bhubaneswari, Mahakaliaghorea, Sitala, and Jagnyeswari.

All of the Deities in the second and third folds are engaged in guarding and serving the Supreme Lord at the center of the temple complex. The primary entrance into the third fold is through the Lion’s Gate, in the East, known as Singhadwara. On either side of the gate are two massive lions, in a crouching position and wearing crowns. Next to Lord Jagannatha and the Puri Temple itself, the lion sentinels are perhaps the most famous symbols of Puri Dham. When entering through the Lion’s Gate, one first passes by the Aruna Stamba, also known as the Sun Pillar. This beautiful 13th century pillar used to stand before the Sun Temple at Konark, until it was moved here to Jagannath Puri by the Marathas. Made of chlorite, Aruna Stamba has sixteen sides and is 25 feet tall. It stands upon a beautifully carved pedestal, and at the top is a platform with an image of Aruna, the charioteer of Lord Surya, the Sun God. Aruna is kneeling down, offering obeisance.

After passing Aruna Stamba, pilgrims enter the Fumuta, where Lord Jagannath resides as Patitapavana, on the north side. Here, the Lord is visible to all devotees, including those who are not permitted to enter the inner temple premises. A small murti of Garuda sits before Patitapavana. Residing in carved niches in the wall are Sri Sri Radha-Krsna, Lord Nrsimhadeva, and Hanuman. Next one enters an inner enclosure, which is reached by navigating a flight of 22 steps known as Baisipahacha. The steps vary in size, and are carved of feldspar and khondolite. Installed along the southern side of the Baisipahacha are Deities of Lord Ramacandra, Lord Nrsimha, Kasivisvanath (Shiva), and Ganesh. To the left is Kasivisvanath Temple, which is the equivalent of Kasi itself. The Chaitanya Narsimha temple is also here, and a small Ramacandra temple, along with Ganesh.

Shankha Kshetra
Shankha Kshetra
The conch-like shape of Jagannatha Puri is also said to be comprised of seven concentric folds. The first, the innermost fold, is the kshetra's navel, and this marks the place where the sanctum sanctorum of Lord Jagannath, brother Baladeva and sister Subhadra reside. Lord Jagannatha's temple has nine gates, eight being in the four directions, along two boundary walls, and one existing in the etheric realm. The enormous wall surrounding the main temple complex is known as Meghanada Pacheri. Many streets, or sahi branch out from the temple, running in all directions and leading to the other 114 tirthas, thirthams, etc. in shankha-kshetra.

Following is a list of the 115 transcendental sites located in Puri Shankha-kshetra.

01. Lord Jagannatha, Baladeva, Subhadra & Sudarsan
02. Khetreswari Vimala
03. Mahalaxmi
04. Uttar Durga
05. Bata Mangala
06. Garuda Stamva
07. Bhoga Mandap
08. Kalpabrukhya
09. Rohini Kunda
10. Bata Ganesh
11. Uchsta Ganapati
12. Sri Saraswati Devi
13. Nabagraha
14. Konark Suryadev
15. Padapadma
16. Yagnyabata
17. Angeswar
18. Indranidevi
19. Khetrapala
20. Swana Vairabi
21. Mukteswari
22. Chstrakali
23. Batamarkandeya
24. Katyayani
25. Gopeewara
26. Beda Kali
27. Pataleswara
28. Bhubaneswari
29. Vaikuntheswara
30. Yagnyaswari
31. Isaneswar
32. Sitaia Devi
33. Pakasala
34. Dakhineswara
35. Kundaleswara
36. Ram Chaitanya Temple
37. Baravai Hanuman
38. Nirmalya Hanuman
39. Alaka Batika
40. Chakra Narayan
41. Rameswar
42. Chaturdhama
43. Kanapata Hanuman
44. Niladri Vihari
45. Bavabyeswara
46. Sialilata
47. Koili Vaikuntha
48. Tapaswi Hanuman
49. Survarnakupa
50. Ananda Bazar
51. Devasnana Mandapa
52. Meghanada Prachira
53. Singhadwara (East gate)
54. Aruna Sthamva
55. Badachhata Math
56. Chhauni Math
57. Pejanala
58. Prahari Hanuman
59. Dakhinadwar (South gate)
60. Durgamadhava
61. Mangaleswari
62. Paschimadwar(West gate)
63. Uttardwar (North gate)
64. Sri Lokanath
65. Rameswara
66. Kandunursingha
67. Kandu Asrama
68. Nikumvilabata
69. Harachandi
70. Chamundeswari
71. Banadurga
72. Basheli
73. Kapalmochana
74. Manikarnika Teertha
75. Ghatamangala
76. Vagabati
77. Markandeswara
78. Markandeya Teertha
79. Saptamatruka
80. Alamba Devi
81. Atharnala
82. Makardhwaj Hanuman
83. Vargavi River
84. Mukteswara
85. Bata Mangala
86. Kapoteswara
87. Vilweswara
88. Siddha Hanuman
89. Indradyumna Teertha
90. Nilakantheswara
91. Adinrusingha
92. Gundicha Mandapa
93. Mausima
94. Marchika Devi
95. Charchika Devi
96. Sodasha Putri
97. Narayani
98. Angirasrama
99. Angirabata
100. Dakhina Kali
101. Ugreswarashrama
102. Swetaganga
103. Muktisila
104. Adisankara Pitha
105. Swargadwara
106. Varahi Devi
107. Shyama Kali
108. Bedi Hanuman
109. Chakra Teertha
110. Chakra Narayan
111. Mahodadhi Tirtha
112. Jagannatha Ballava
113. Kashi Biswanatha
114. Visweswari
115. Narendra Sarovar

Temple Location:

The Shree Jagannath Temple of Puri is an important Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Jagannath, a form of lord Vishnu, located on the eastern coast of India, at Puri in the state of Odisha. The temple is an important pilgrimage destination and one of the four great 'Char Dham' pilgrimage sites, found at India's four cardinal points.

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