The Lord Puri Jagannath temple is one of the most auspicious Hindus shrines which has history of thousands of years. Lord Jagannath is an incarnation of Lord Vishnu himself and is considered to be an epitome of power and is also called the Lord of the Universe. Even the Brahma Purana (one of the 18 major Puranas, the ancient sacred texts that were composed prior to 1500 BCE) mentions Puri as a pilgrimage centre for Vishnu devotees.
One of the most auspicious and revered festival associated with Lord Jagannath is Rath Yatra. It is a 15-day long affair celebrated in the Eastern part of the country which is attended by lakhs of devotees who throng the temple town of Puri, Odisha to seek the blessings of the Lord. This year Rath Yatra commenced on July 14.
Lord Jagannath is worshipped alongside brother Balabhadra and sister Subhadra, the mythological origin of the Lord has always been subjected to a lot of academic and religious discussions. There are various beliefs associated with the idols of Lord. And, the most interesting thing about these idols is that they are made of wood, instead of metal or stone like other Hindu idols. And another interesting thing is that although the temples have been renovated several times the idols of Lord are still unfinished. The Lord’s had unfinished hands and lower limbs
The story behind the unfinished hands and limbs of Lord Jagannath
It is believed that the King Indradyumna wanted to build a Vishnu Temple but he was not sure that how the idol representing the God should look like. What shape should be given to idol? He was then asked by the by Lord Brahma to meditate and pray to Lord Vishnu himself as to what form would he like to embody.
After deep meditation, Lord Appeared in his dreams and spoke about a particular floating wood log near Bankamuhana in Puri and said his image can be carved out of that log. After this King Indradyumna rushed to the spot and found the wooden log. He approached many artists to carve the idol of God from that wood but to his surprise, he couldn’t get any artist to make idols out of it
The artisans whosoever has tried to cut the log of wood was not able to do so as their tools broke every time when they tried to cut the log. This was the point when Ananta Maharana (carpenter Bishwakarma) This was the point when Ananta Maharana (carpenter Bishwakarma) appeared and offered to help.
However, Bishwakarma had one condition. He said that he shouldn’t be disturbed while carving out the idol until it is finished. If anyone will disturb he will leave the work there only. Nobody should open the door of the room in which he was working. So, for two weeks, he employed himself in the divine task in locked podium without anyone’s interruption. The king used to stand outside the door daily and listened to the sounds.
But after two weeks, suddenly the sound of work stopped coming from inside the podium to which wife of Indradyumna – Gundicha said that they must go in and check if he is fine.
The King got worried as to what has happened why no sound is coming? The King didn’t want to open the door as already Bishwakarma had put this condition in front that he will leave the idol in between. But the Lord was not having any other option also. So he opened the door.
When the king opened the door he was stunned to see that there is no one in the room. He only found the unfinished idols of the God there. The King came to know that as he opened in between so Bishwakarma has left the idols unfinished. The King was very much depressed on his act. But then a divine voice told the King that he shouldn’t regret and install the unfinished idols as it is and Lord shall make himself visible to the devotees in this form.
Ever since the idols of Lord Jagannath and his brother and sister are worshipped in unfinished form.