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Alarnath Temple at Brahmagiri in Odisha– Lord Jagannath Manifests Here During No Darshan at Puri Jagannath Temple

Alarnath Temple is around 23 km distance from from Puri Jagannath Temple in Odisha on the Puri-Satapada Road at Brahmagiri. After the Snana Purnima in Jyeshta month (May - June), there is no public darshan of Lord Jagannath and other deities at the Puri Jagannath Temple for 15 days. This 15-day period of no darshan at Puri Jagannath Temple happens before the Rath Yatra. There is a popular belief that Lord Jagannath during this period manifests as Alarnath Dev at Alarnath Temple in Brahmagiri. 

After Snana Poornima, ritualistic bathing of the idols of Jagannath, there is a popular belief that the deities get fever. For a period of 15 day the deities do not appear before public. The deities remain in the Anasar house and appear a day before Puri Rath Yatra day.

During these 15 days, devotees visit the Alarnath temple at Brahmagiri in large numbers. Legend has it that Lord Jagannath manifests into the Alarnath Dev during the fortnight.

Thousands of devotees visit the temple during the period to have a darshan of Lord Jagannath as Alarnath Dev and to have the delicious Kheer bhog (Prasad) at the Alarnath temple.

Historians note that Sri Chaitanya Dev had visited the temple and it was the Holy Saint who had the vision of Lord Jagannath as Alarnath.

There is also an interesting ritual of offering the first copy of artistic compositions to Alarnath Dev by writers, poets and musicians.

Alarnath Temple

The temple is located on the banks of Chilika Lake and is to the south of the Puri Jagannath Temple.

The murti of Vishnu, the presiding deity, is made of hard black granite. The five-feet murti has four hands and he holds Shankh and Chakra. The sanctum also has the murtis of Bhudevi, Sridevi and Brahma. Garuda is seen with folded hands kneeling at the feet of Vishnu.

A subsidiary shrine in the complex has a beautiful life-sized murti of Mahalakshmi in its sanctum.

The construction of the Alarnath temple was commenced by Sri Ramanujacharya and thus the temple is associated with the Vaishnava Alwar Saints of South India.

A pond is located behind the shrine and the temple rituals are performed here.

The main temple complex includes Natyamandap, Jagamohan, Yajna Mandap and Dola Mandap.

Brahmagiri - Brahma Meditated Here

It is said that Lord Brahma was engrossed in deep meditation here and this place of meditation is named "Brahmagiri"(Brahma's Hill).

Confusing History of Alarnath

There is no consensus regarding the history of Alarnath temple.

Lord Alarnath is said to be the God of Alwars. As per this belief, the rulers of Alwars in Rajasthan had established the temple here which is later known as Alwarnath or Alarnath.

As per secular historians and scholars, the temple belongs to 9th century and it was constructed during the reign of King Vanudev IV. However, the temple came into prominence during first phase of 12th century followed by the construction and renovation done by Sri Ramanujacharya.

Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and Alarnath Temple

The murti of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu (great devotee and propagator of Bhakti movement of 16th century) is available in the left side premises (Bedha Parisara) of the temple. Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu had stayed at this temple during Anasara period of Lord Jagannath. Some historians are of the view that the murti of the saint was installed in the temple in the year 1923.