Jagannath Temples outside Odisha: Shrine dedicated to holy trinity in Goa

Prameyanews English

Published By : Prameya News Bureau | June 27, 2024 IST

Bhubaneswar, June 27: Beyond the iconic Puri Jagannath Temple in Odisha, numerous temples dedicated to Lord Jagannath can be found across India and around the world. 

After discovering the magnificent and beautiful Jagannath Temple in the Faridabad locality of New Delhi, let's delve into another lesser-known temple dedicated to Lord Jagannath, this time in Goa.

In 1997, the Odia community in Goa came together to form the ‘All Goa Odisha Association’. They organized various cultural programs and ‘Satsangs’ with a clear intention: to build a temple dedicated to Lord Jagannath, the presiding deity of Odisha, here.

In October 2008, the 'Shree Jagannath Temple Charitable Trust, Goa' was registered, marking the beginning of the plan to turn the dream of building a Jagannath temple into reality. The search for suitable land commenced soon after. In 2009, the organizers realized that substantial funds would be needed for the temple's construction. To raise the necessary funds, they decided to first gather devotees by organizing the ‘Rath Yatra’.

The trust members held discussions with the ISKCON authorities, deciding that the ‘Rath Yatra’ would be conducted with ISKCON providing the idols of the holy Trinity. The first ‘Rath Yatra’ took place in 2009, which rolled down from Miramar Circle to Ferry Point, attracting a large number of devotees. Since then, the Rath Yatra has been conducted annually, while the search for land for the temple continued. 

With only Rs 17 thousand in the account, Sukanta Mishra, a prominent industrialist, prayed to the Lord, saying, "Oh Lord! You build yourself. You provide the land and construct the temple. Our responsibility will be to worship and offer prayers."

To everyone's surprise, a devotee offered to donate land in Bandora town of Ponda Tehsil in North Goa district. Although the area was hilly, additional land was purchased nearby. Thus, the temple construction mission began. A meeting was held in Ponda, a city and municipal council in the South Goa district, where it was decided that all Odia residents would be invited to contribute towards the temple's construction, though contributions would be voluntary and not enforced.

Following this, voluntary contributions increased significantly. Within three months, the temple was built, and the deities were consecrated in November 2017. Solar lights were installed for the convenience of devotees, and water supply arrangements were made. Additionally, a ‘Shaligram’ or ‘Shaligrama Shila’ was brought from the Gandaki River in Nepal, and the appropriate rituals were performed.

Subsequently, the Rath Yatra proceeded as usual, albeit with a unique twist compared to other locations. In Bandora, the deities are transported to Miramar using any available vehicle every year, after which the 'Pahandi' rituals commence. Due to narrow roads in Bandora, organizers make these arrangements. Upon reaching Miramar, the deities are placed on the chariot, and then the pulling ceremony begins.

However, there are no arrangements for their stay in Ponda for which the deities return to Bandora on the same day. The Rath Yatra attracts approximately three thousand devotees every year. The Bahuda Yatra or the return journey is also carried out from Ponda to Bandora. Goa's Chief Minister performs the Chera Pahara  (sweeping of chariot floor) ritual during the festivities.

It's noteworthy that the Chera Pahara ritual is exclusively performed by the Chief Minister of Goa. Only once, when the then Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar was unwell, the then Assembly Speaker Pramod Sawant performed the ritual. Subsequently, he became the Chief Minister and currently holds the office.

The temple conducts daily rituals and prayers, followed by the preparation of ‘prasad’ in the afternoon. Every Sunday, arrangements are made for free ‘Prasad Sevan’ for over 150 devotees. 

Annual rituals such as ‘Snana Yatra’, ‘Rath Yatra’, and ‘Bahuda Yatra’ are performed with great devotion and enthusiasm. Additionally, ‘Homa’ and ‘Yagna’ are performed monthly on ‘Sankranti’ day. 

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