Jagannath Temples outside Odisha: Majestic shrine in Gujarat’s Surat

Prameyanews English

Published By : Prameya News Bureau | June 28, 2024 IST

Bhubaneswar, June 28: Beyond the iconic Puri Jagannath Temple in Odisha, numerous temples dedicated to Lord Jagannath can be found across India and around the world. Today, let's delve into a lesser-known temple dedicated to Lord Jagannath, located in Sachin town of Gujarat’s Surat district.

This temple of Lord Jagannath in Sachin town of Gujarat’s Surat district has been built by the Odia diaspora. Initially, Lord Jagannath, and his siblings Lord Balabhadra and Devi Subhadra were worshiped in a small temple on the 3-acre site. In 2006, the Shree Jagannath Seva Trust was formed to construct a grander temple. That same year, the new temple was built, and the deities were consecrated. The newly built magnificent temple, standing at around 80 feet tall, now graces the site.

The temple is adorned with the iconic Konark Wheel and various ‘Mudras’ of Odissi dance and is a stunning sight of artistry. Within the small temple, Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra, Devi Subhadra, Lord Sudarshan, and Devi Lakshmi are worshiped. Statues of Lord Ganesh and Hanuman are also crafted on the temple walls.

The grand temple features arrangements for the consecration of the ‘Saptadha-Bigraha’—seven idols of Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra, Devi Subhadra, Sri Sudarshan, Sri Devi, Bhu Devi, and Madhab—which are worshiped on the 'Ratnavedi' in Puri Srimandir. 

The temple also boasts of twenty-five steps flanked by horses on both sides, a lion gate guarded by two lions, and temples dedicated to Maa Bimala and Maa Lakshmi within the premises. Prasad is prepared daily, and arrangements have been made for devotees to partake it.The temple serves as a place of worship for about 1.5 lakh Odia people living in the area.

Various rituals and festivals dedicated to the deities are performed in accordance with the traditions of the Puri Srimandir. The temple complex includes a hall and an Odia school named 'Bijupattanaik Odia School,' managed by the Shree Jagannath Seva Trust. The temple also hosts a grand Rath Yatra, attracting around four thousand devotees. During this festival, the deities travel from the main temple to Markandeshwar temple near the slum board in the city.

Dilipbhai Tiwarilal, a wealthy man born in Cuttack and residing in Surat, performs the Chhera Panhara (sweeping of the chariot floor) ritual. In the Markandeshwar temple, only the image of Lord Jagannath is worshiped. The deities come here on a nine-day pilgrimage, during which ‘Prasad Sevan’ and prayers are performed for the devotees. 

There is a remarkable supernatural event behind the construction of this Jagannath temple. Bhagirathi Behera, a former Corporator, recounts from his own experience that since the land on which the temple is built belongs to the Housing Board, numerous police and departmental officers had united to demolish the temple on charges of encroachment. Everyone was waiting for the police commissioner's orders. Meanwhile, Bhagirathi, with tears in his eyes and a voice full of emotion, went to the temple and pleaded, “Oh Lord Jagannath! Today is your last day here. Save yourself.”

After saying this, he came out of the temple and was sitting under a tree. Suddenly, the police commissioner called, stating that he could not issue the order. Following this, all the police and other officials fled from the spot.

In another instance, Bhagirathi often noticed the scent of Tulsi (Basil leaf) late at night. When he mentioned this to a friend, he didn’t believe him and laughed it off. One night, that friend brought two people with him to the temple, with Bhagirathi also present. Suddenly, around midnight, they all realized that the scent of Tulsi was indeed in the air. The fragrance was so strong that Bhagirathi's friend was left overwhelmed and bowed down before the Lord.

In another incident, a child fell from an iron staircase in a house opposite the temple. Bhagirathi folded his hands and prayed, “O Lord Jagannath! Save the child.” Miraculously, the child remained unharmed. Such events deepen the devotees' faith in the Lord.

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