Jagannath Temple outside Odisha: Shrine dedicated to trinity in Himachal’s Kangra

Prameyanews English

Published By : Prameya News Bureau | June 30, 2024 IST

Bhubaneswar, June 30: The Jagannath Temple, revered as a symbol of divine grace and cultural heritage, extends its spiritual footprint beyond the shores of Odisha, resonating deeply with devotees across India and beyond.

Today, let's explore a lesser-known temple dedicated to Lord Jagannath, situated in Pragpur, a historic village in Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh, built by the Odia diaspora.

The temple was inaugurated on April 29, 2017. Professor Purnachandra Mohapatra, who also serves as a priest at the Puri Jagannath temple, used to worship Lord Jagannath at his residence while working at the Central Sanskrit University here. There was a long-held aspiration in his mind to construct a small temple dedicated to Lord Jagannath in this area. 

Eventually, local residents and some of his students came together to fulfill this vision. The temple was established on the banks of the Beas River in Pragpur through their collective efforts. Given his role as a priest at the Puri Srimandir, Purnachandra Mohapatra was adept at conducting all the rituals for Lord Jagannath with precision and devotion. 

The temple adheres to the traditions of the Puri Srimandir, where various rituals and festivals dedicated to the deities are meticulously performed. Standing at a modest height of 17 feet, eight idols including Madanmohan are worshiped in the sanctum sanctorum. 

On the outer wall, depictions of three of Lord Vishnu's avatars—Varaha, Narasimha, and Vamana—are revered. Additionally, the temple premises feature Panchmukhi Hanuman, a Shani temple, and a mandap, enhancing its spiritual significance.

Most significantly, a Shiva temple was established here in 1994, preceding the construction of the Jagannath temple. Following the consecration of Lord Jagannath, the site gained renown as 'Harihara Kshetra'. Hundreds of devotees assemble here daily, with evening worship being the ideal time to witness the Lord. 

From 2017 to 2019, the Rath Yatra was also conducted here annually. After that, the festival was halted for two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2022, the Rath Yatra was conducted on a very small scale. Later, it was decided to observe it properly again. Over a thousand devotees pull the chariots here. Typically, the Lord travels by chariot to Butel, located two kilometers away, where a large hall serves as temporary accommodation.

At Butel, Lord Jagannath is served with dry prasad. During the Rath Yatra, the special 'Chhera Panhara' ritual (sweeping the chariot floor) is performed by Lalit Thakur, a member of one of the royal families of Himachal Pradesh. 

Prasad is prepared daily at the temple. Several festivals dedicated to the trinity, including Snana Yatra, Rath Yatra, Sital Sasthi, Janmashtami, Dussehra, Dol Purnima, and Pushyavisheka, are celebrated here with great religious fervor and joy.

Many people gather for 'Prasad Sevan' during the Rath Yatra. A wealthy individual named Dinesh Kaul supports every event organized here. Although there is no full-fledged Jagannath temple in the state, this temple established by the Odia Diaspora represents a unique and commendable effort.

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