The Jagannadh Temple of Puri, Orissa, India is unique of its kind in many aspects. The temple houses Lord Jagannadha, BalaBhadra and Subhadra, as three dieties, with Jagannadha being the main deity. With its overall history dating back of Puranic times, the temple houses the idols made of wood, unlike any other temples, where idols are usually seen in stone or metal form. The legend has it that the idols were made with a log of wood during the time of King Indradyumna who ordered for the same, upon a divine direction from Lord Narada. The king was said to have called God Architect Viswakarma to design this temple and Lord Vishnu himself did carpenter job for carving this idols upon a condition that he shouldn’t be seen or disturbed during the process. However, out of excitement, the queen was said to have ordered for visiting the place, and thats when the Lord disappeared as he was disturbed by being seen. Later, the half-carved idols (without hands) were installed in Garbhagruha (main scantum), and has been continuing till date. Surprisingly, the idols are freshly made for every 12 years! the reason is still a mystery.
Another interesting part of the temple is its kitchen and the foods prepared (56 varieties) inside as prasadam! It is considered as the world’s largest kitchen and is said to be under continuous monitor of Goddess MahaLakshmi herself. There is a saying that a shadow dog appears at the temple kitchen if there is any fault in the food made, following which, all the 56 varieties have to be prepared again freshly. Interestingly, the food made in the temple kitchen never goes waste, irrespective of the quantity made.
Another interesting fact is that ‘no bird is seen flying above the Puri temple’! Millions of devotees visit this shrine for the famous Rath Yatra festival (usually in month of June), where the three dieties are carried in three different chariots (made of wood, 45 feet high and 35 feet wide, built anew every year in two-month duration).
The shadow of the main temple tower is also seen during any part of the day is another surprising thing. One more mystery is about the breeze flow in the coastal part of Puri. Usually in coastal areas, the breeze flow during the day would be ‘sea to land’ and vice-versa in the evening. Whereas, the case is entirely opposite in Puri Coast! The flag on the top of the Shikar (temple tower) is changed every day is another interesting fact, and the direction of flag is also against the air flow!
Many of these are still mysteries!