Pilgrimage to Bhubaneswar, Konark & Puri

 

800px-Konark_sun_temple_06On 13 Apr 2017  we boarded Duranto train to Bhubaneswar, which was late by two hours. Lunch served at 3 pm and  we had a lively talk with co-passengers. On 14th we could not make any programme due to extraordinary delay of our train for more than five hours.

On 15 Apr 2017 morning at 5am we went to Konark to see sun rise at chandrabagha beach. Exactly at 6 pm the sun in red colour appeared in slow motion. It was an awesome  sight. After the sun rise we took bath in the sea and proceeded to Konark sun temple. We immediately engaged a guide to know  the history of the temple.  When we know that the entire structure was built in a scientific way,  feel proud over  intelligent Indians in ancient times. The temple structure was made as a Chariot is  a unique phenomenon. Stone carvings depicting the human life and its applicability to the present time is unbelievable.

After the visit we proceeded to Puri. Our first stop was Gundicha mandir.It is significant for being the destination of the celebrated annual Rath Yatra of Puri. While it remains vacant most of the year, the temple is occupied by images of the deities of Jagannath, his brother Balabhadra and sister Subhadra for seven complete days (total 9 days including the start and concluding day of Ratha Yatra) every year during the annual Rath Yatra festival.

After that we proceeded to puri beach for a dip before going to Jagganath temple. The beach was crowded with plenty of devotees. Waves here was so ferocious. First we were little bit nervous to face  the  oncoming waves that pushed us towards the shore with a force. After few minutes we withstood the waves attack and started enjoying our dip in the sea. After spending half an hour in the beach we proceeded to see the famous Jaggnath temple. This temple is a sacred Vaishnava temple dedicated to Lord Jagnnath. It is an important pilgrimage destination and is particularly visited by devotees of Supreme lord Sri Krishna and is one of the Char Dham pilgrimages that anyone is expected to make in one’s lifetime. The temple is famous for its annual Rath Yatra or Chariot festival, in which the three main temple deities are kept on huge and elaborately decorated temple cars. Even though the icons of most Hindu deities that are worshiped are made out of stone or metal, the image of Jagnnath is wooden. Every twelve or nineteen years these wooden figures are ceremoniously replaced by using sacred trees, that have to be carved as an exact replica.

The very sight of   the temple excited us. There were lot of devotees rushing towards the temple and we also joined them. We could not take our eyes off the beautiful temple structure for a long time. The  marvelous architecture of the main temple is really superb. Our dharshan of Lord Jaggnath was so satisfying that touched our soul. The chanting of ‘jagganath ki jay’ reverberated the entire temple that bound  all the devotees who gathered there. The mega distribution of prasad in earthen pots was something new which we have never seen in any temples. With this trip we completed two places out of the Golden triangle and looking forward our trip to Bhubaneswar.

After reaching Bhuneswar in the afternoon we immediately proceeded to Udayagiri and Khandagiri caves. The caves are  partly natural and partly artificial caves of archaeological, historical and religious importance. The caves are situated on two adjacent hills, Udayagiri and Khandagiri. They have a number of finely and beautifully carved caves. It is believed that most of these caves were carved out as residential blocks for Jain monks. Udayagiri means “Sunrise Hill” and has 18 caves while Khandagiri has 15 caves.

Our next stop was famous Lingaraj temple. This temple is a  Hindu Temple dedicated to Harihara, a form of Shiva and Vishnu  and is one of the oldest temples in Bhubaneswar. This is the largest temple in Bhubaneswar. The central tower of the temple is 180 ft  tall. The temple represents the Kalinga Architecture.

Following day we made a full day programme. First we went to Dhauli. It is a hill with vast open space adjoining it, and has major Edicts of Ashoka engraved on a mass of rock, by the side of the road leading to the summit of the hill. Dhauli hill is presumed to be the area where the Kalinga War was fought. Ashoka had a special weakness for Dhauli, where the battle was fought. The Daya river is said to have turned red with the blood of the many deceased after the battle, and enabled Ashoka to realize the magnitude of horror associated with war. He saw to it that Dhauli became an important centre of Buddhist activities. He built several stupas and Pillars there. On the top of the hill, a dazzling white peace pagoda has been built.

Bhuneswar is land of temples. We have seen few important temples. They are Sai temple, parashurama temple, Mukhesvara temple and Raja Rani temple. We also visited Orissa State Museum  one of the biggest museum we have seen so far.  The museum is divided into eleven sections, viz, Archaeology, Epigraphy, Numismatics, Armoury, Mining & Geology, Natural History. After lunch we straightaway proceeded to Nandankannan Zoo. We spent more than three hours and first time went for a safari and thrilled to see some rare  animals in the natural surroundings and roaming freely .  At the end of the day we visited Ram temple and with that  we successfully concluded our memorable trip to Orissa.

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