24 March 2007

Jagannath Temple

Happily at Tiruvannamalai there are no Temples, Shrines or Ashrams out of bounds to any caste or nationality.

However, a few weeks ago there was controversy at the Jagannath Temple, Puri, Orissa, regarding a man of foreign ancestry, who wanted to take darshan of the Lord inside the Temple. The man was refused and forcibly removed from the Temple.

After the incident at the Jagannath Temple, the man of foreign ancestry was interviewed by a local TV station and in the interview the man raised many interesting and relevant points about Temples and caste in India and for this reason, I think many might be interested in hearing his learned and intelligent observations.

The Jagannath Temple is a famous Hindu temple dedicated to Jagannath (Krishna). It is located in the coastal town of Puri in the state of Orissa. The name Jagannath (Lord of the Universe) is a combination of the Sanskrit words Jagat (Universe) and Nath (Lord of). The Temple is an important pilgrimage destination for many Hindu traditions, particularly worshippers of Krishna and Vishnu and is particularly famous for its annual Rath Yatra, chariot festival where huge and elaborately decorated chariots are used for the procession of the three main Temple deities.

The huge Temple complex covers an area of over 400,000 square feet, and is surrounded by a high fortified wall. It contains at least 120 Temples and Shrines. It is one of the most magnificent monuments of India. In modern times the Temple is busy and functioning. It has over 6000 priests, along with 14,000 other employees serving as their assistants and attendants waiting on the Jagannath deity, as well as pilgrim guides.

The Temple is selective regarding who is allowed entry into the grounds. Most non-Hindus are excluded from its premises, as are Hindus of non-Indian origin. Buddhist, Jain and Sikh groups are allowed into the Temple compound if they are able to prove their Indian ancestry.

Now watch the video:

1 comment:

Divyakka said...

Great video, true everything he says. I also innocently tried to enter the temple in 1985 and when I was 10 feet away from the main entrance, was chased away by guards.