Lord Jagannath, the symbol of universal love and brotherhood is worshipped in the ‘Shree Jagannath Temple’ along with Balabhadra, Subhadra, Sudarshan, Madhaba, Sridevi and Bhudevi on the RATNAVEDI (the bejewelled platform). Lord Balabhadra is the elder brother, Lord Jagannath is younger brother and Devi Subhadra is youngest sister.
The Deities of Lord Jagannath, Balabhadra, Subhadra and Chakra Sudarshan are made of margosa wood.
The tree worship is a very ancient cult. However the most accepted and popular theory over origin of Jagannath relates to ‘SAVARS’ or aboriginal traditions. The word wood ‘DARU’ is used to indicate material of which the universe (JAGAT) is made. Jagannath is specifically known as Darubrahma both in Puranas as well as by the people.
The image of Jagannath (of black colour representing sunya) Subhadra (the creative energy) and Balabhadra ( of white colour representing phenomenol universe) have evolved from Nilamadhava of the ancient Kalinga Jaina. According to him ‘Sudershana’ is the Hindu name of the Dharmachakra of Jaina symbol and the term Kaivalya (liberation) exclusively common in the cult of Jagannath is derived from Jaina tradition. Jagannath is regarded as Daru Brahma, i.e. the Godhead manifestation in a modern image. The worship of Daru Brahma is traced to Vedic sources and to Bhagbat Gita.
On archaeological and epigraphically grounds we cannot definitely establish the historical importance of Puri before the 7th Century A. D. There is a commonly prevalent notion that the temple of Lord Jagannath is situated on a blue mountain and therefore called Niladri, Nilachal or Nilagiri. But we find no mountain at Puri or any reference to a hill or a mountain near Puri in the history, it can be presumed that it might have been built on a sand hill called Niladri or the Blue Mountain only on the grounds of analogy.
There was a small Jagannath Temple before 12th Century A.D. where the present temple is situated. As the old temple became weak and starts damage, the King “Raja Ananta Varman Chodaganga Dev” decided to build a new temple. It is believed that the present temple built on the garbage of old temple. Because of the height of the base of the present temple is more than 30 feet.
The founder King of the Ganga Dynasty, King Chodaganga Deva began it’s construction of the celebrated Temple of Lord Jagannath now existent at Puri in 1235 A.D.. The construction was finished by King Anangabhima Deva. The wooden images of Jagannath Balabhadra and Subhadra were installed in that temple.
The management of the temple continued under the Hindu rulers till 1558.
Then the State of Odisha was conquered by the Afghan Nawab of Bengal and the temple was attacked by the Afgan General ‘Kalapahad’. At that time, an independent Khurda kingdom was established by “Ramachandra Deb”, who assumed the management of the temple. He consecrated the temple and reinstalled the deities. Till 1760, the temple continued under the Khurda Raja (King), who was paying tribute to Mughals and Marhattas.
Raja Mansingh, a General of the Mughal King Akbar, defeated the Afghans and annexed Odisha in to the Mughal dominion. It remained under the Mughals till 1751 A.D.
Then Marhattas took up direct management of the temple till 1803.
The British annexed Odisha into British Empire in 1803 and allowed Puri Raja to manage the temple. . However, to the credit of the British it must be said that they respected the right to worship of the Hindus at Jagannath and indirectly allowed patronage. They recognized that Jagananth Puri’s King of Odisha (Gajapati Maharaj) as the Superintendent of the Temple and granted some revenue rights and privileges to the temple to run it’s affairs. The position continued till 1947.
Source of the Content : http://www.lordjagannath.com/
Lord Jagannath & OdiaLive