Jagannath

The most significant of Jagannath's many shrines is the temple at Puri, Orissa. In this temple, Jagannath is part of a triad of deities that includes Balabhadra and goddess Subhadra. Apart from the principal companion deities Balabhadra and Subhadra, Jagannath is worshipped in the Shree Jagannath Temple of Puri along with Sudarshana Chakra, Madhava, Sridevi and Bhudevi on the principal platform; and Ratnavedi (Ratna: Bejewelled, Vedi: Platform/Pedestal - The bejewelled platform) in the inner sanctum sanctorum of the temple.

Unlike other deities of the Hindu gods, there is no anthropomorphic or artistic aspect to the idol of Jagannath. The idol has not been designed to represent the image of a human being. The image has a massive square head, merging with the chest into one piece of wooden stump without any demarcation of the neck. The arms have been inserted in a line with the upper lip. The eyes are very large and round. The waist is the limit of the body.

It has been hypothesized in the myths and legends that the idols of Jagannath, along with those of Balabhadra and Subhadra, are unfinished, as there are no identifiable hands or legs[15]. Such a state of affairs mixed with the hearsay led William Bruton, the first English traveller to Puri in 1633, to mention that the idol of Jagannatha "is in a shape like a serpent, with seven heads"[16]. The top upper portions of the deities' heads are triangular in shape, evoking the Trimundi (Triangular head).

The deity of Jagannath is about 6 feet tall (1.83 m). The color is predominantly black and the eyes are round and large. The eyes have three concentric circles - Red on the outer border, white in the middle, and black in the center. The image of Balabhadra in the temple is also approximately 6 feet tall. Balabhadra's face is white, his eyes are oval-shaped, and his stump-like arms are at eye level. The Devi Subhadra statue is yellow in hue and stands about 5 feet tall (1.52 m). The goddess's eyes are also oval. The Sudarshana Chakra is approximately the same height as the two male deities and is red in color.

The idols of Jagannath, Balabhadra, Subhadra and Sudarshana Chakra are made of neem wood.

Within the main compound of Jagannath Temple at Puri, there are over one hundred shrines of lesser importance, which are devoted to the demigods in charge of universal affairs or the sub-controllers of the universe. In the midst of these lesser shrines is the main temple, called the Bada Deula (The Big or Principal Temple), in which the predominating deity Jagannath appears.

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