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Jagannath Temple, Baripada: The Second Shree Khetra of Odisha

God is omnipresent and Lord Jagannath is as well. It is nevertheless wrong to say that Puri is His hometown but here is another home to Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra and Goddess Subhadra in Baripada. Popularly known as Jagannath Temple, the premises is a look alike of the Puri temple complex. The three deities are worshipped as the same that of Puri Temple and the famous Car festival is well celebrated as a replica of Puri. 

About the Temple

About 60 km away from the district  headquarter of Mayurbhanj, Baripada lies the Jagannath Temple or universally known as Haribaldevjew Temple. Built in the 1575 A. D. by Shri Baidyanath Bhanja, the temple marks the religious favour of Bhanja rulers of Mayurbhanj and is signified as the Queen Monad among the princely states during the pre-merger days. 

Baripada Jagannath Temple
Baripada Jagannath Temple (courtesy Wikipedia)

Jagannath Temple of Baripada is one among the oldest temples of Odisha where the Ratha Yatra is being celebrated for more than 500 years in resemblance to that of Puri Car Festival. 

The Legend

The legend behind the building of a temple for Lord Jagannath in Baripada reveals a story about ruler Shri Baidyanath Bhanj who once visited Puri to see Lord Jagannath. But his visiting companioned Royal splendor and show cased supremacy. Gajapati of Puri opposed King Baidyanath from entering him into the temple saying that no one in the world is superior to the Thakur Raja or Lord Jagannath and hence he did not allow the King to see Lord Jagannath.

The people of Puri believed only a common man who has complete devotion and surrendering towards the Lord can only see Him. In penance, the King then returned to Atharanala and was ordered by Lord Jagannath to build a temple of Him in Baripada. The determined King Baidyanath then built this temple in his home town of Mayurbhanj to worship Lord Jagannath. 

Architecture

Old photo
courtesy eOdisha.org

The ancient Jagannath temple illustrates the dignity of Kalinga Architecture or Deula style architecture. The 84 feet 6 inch tall temple is carved with magnificent designs of Laterite stones. Around the temple a big boundary is walled which is a replica of the Puri temple premises. The main building mania of the temple is Rekha style which is a strong core reflection of the Kakharua Baidyanatha Temple at Manatri in Mayurbhanj. 

The Deities

The main deities of the temple are Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra and Devi Subhadra who are centering the inner premise. On the exterior, there are a number of small cells those enclose gods and saints of different religions. For an instance you may get to see the images of Avalokiteswar, Parswanath and Umamaheswar inside the small cells. 

Baripada Jagannath Temple,side view
courtesy Wikimedia Commons

The inner gate of the temple premises holds the images of some of the great Jain Tirthankars like Rishabhanath, Parswanath and Mahavir carved of black chlorite stone. There is an inscription on the wall of the temple that describes about the Saka Era and about the ruler Baidyanath Bhanja during 1497.

Another attraction of the temple is the Nata Mandira which showcases the pictures of mythological significance. 

The Car Festival

Alike the famous Car Festival of Puri, Baripada also witnesses the heritage of traditional Rath Yatra (Car Festival) originating from the Jagannath Temple in Baripada. On the subsequent day of the Ratha Yatra being celebrated in Puri, the Rath Yatra of Baripada Jagannath Temple is celebrated. The Chariots of the Lords are decorated and pulled up to the destination Radhamohan Temple in this case (Mausi Maa Mandira as that of Gundicha Temple in Puri). 

One special and interesting fact about the Ratha Yatra in Baripada is the chariot of Devi Subhadra being pulled by only female devotees. 

How To Reach

From Bhubaneswar, there are number of buses and rails available for Baripada and Balasore. From Baripada, the Jagannath temple is communable by bus, taxi or jeep. 

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