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Why are the Jagannath Chariots or Rath pulled to the Gundicha Temple?

In the Puri Jagannath Rath Yatra, the three chariots are pulled to the Gundicha Temple and the deities stay here for nearly a week. But why are the chariots pulled to the Gundicha Temple? The temple is known as the Garden House of Sri Jagannath and is located around 3 km from the Puri Jagannath Temple.

The Gundicha Temple is named after Queen Gundicha, the wife of King Indradyumna. This king was responsible for installing the deities in the Jagannath Temple.

The king had a divine order to take a wood found on the sea near Puri and construct the murti to be worshipped in the temple which he was planning to construct in his capital. But no artisan had the knowledge to sculpt the divine murti. It is said that Vishwakarma, the divine carpenter, came in the form an old man and agreed to carve the murtis.

But he had set a condition, he will complete the murtis in 21 days but no one should look into the chamber in which the work was going on.

The king agreed and the work began at the spot where the current Gundicha Temple is located.

After 15 days no sound was heard from the chamber. The queen doubted the old man’s intention and she opened the doors.

Seeing the queen the old artisan vanished leaving behind incomplete and unique murti of Jagannath.

The murtis were later consecrated in the main Jagannath Temple.

The annual Rath Yatra is the journey of the deities to their original home. During the journey they mingle with all kinds of people irrespective of caste, creed and religion - thus proclaiming that all are equal before the Lord.