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Narasimha Worship At Puri Jagannath Temple

Puri Jagannath Temple is considered as the abode of all Gods and Goddesses of the Universe. Narasimha is considered as Adhi Devata of Shreekshetra or Puri Jagannath shrine. Narasimha is considered as the first deity worshipped in Puri. From different Puranas and other ancient religious scriptures, it is established that the Narasimha

was worshipped by King Indradyumna before consecration of the temple and initiation of religious rites. In various festivals of the deities and in daily rituals, Narasimha is
worshipped as the most ancient deity i.e. Adhi Devata.

The most ancient temple of Narasimha is seen by the side of Gundicha temple and the deity is popularly known as Adi Narasimha.

It is believed that the murtis of Jagannath worshipped in the temple was discovered as per the directions of Narasimha. King Indradyumna collected wooden logs from the Bay of Bengal for construction of the murtis Balabhadra, Devi Subhadra, Jagannath and Sudarshan. King Indradyumna could visualize Narasimha within a wheel of light within the wooden logs. The day of finding wooden logs at Banki Muhana at Puri is popularly celebrated as Gobinda Dwadashi.

On the Narasimha Jayanti day on Vaishakh Shukla Paksha Chaturdashi (May), Jagannath at Puri is considered as Narasimha and the worship is made accordingly. Narasimha is consecrated at different places of Jagannath temple and outside the temple at Puri. The site where King Indradyumna received the wooden blocks on the seashore is popularly known as Chakra Narasimha. A small temple is there on the seashore and Lord Chakra Narasimha has been worshipped daily in the temple. The temple from religious point of view is so famous that, after receipt of the consent of Garland (Agnyamala) from the temple of Chakra Narasimha and being carried to the main temple and placed on Ratna Singhasana, the religious rituals of Narasimha Janma
i.e. birth of Narasimha is started by the priests. Like-wise the garland of consent of Jagannath from sanctum sanctorum is offered in the temple Chakra Narasimha for the birthday rituals.

During the birthday celebration of Narasimha a special function is organized in Gopal
Ballabh Matha in Puri. The story of Narasimha avatar is enacted here in a dramatic way.

In the month of Shravan on the ninth day of bright fortnight, Narasimha is taken to the
sanctum sanctorum to receive the consent of Jagannath to visit different Ashrams of Puri. Usually the murti of Narasimha is taken in a procession out of Grand Temple through Singhadwara (main gate) to visit Markanda Ashram, Angira Ashram, Kandu Ashram and Bhrigu Ashram. The offering made to Narasimha on the occasion is popularly known as Sheetal Bhoga.

Legend has it that once people of Puri were affected by disease of dysentery. The effect was so furious that a large number of people died being affected by the disease. To save the people from further deterioration, Narasimha came out of the main temple and could control the evil effects of the disease by His power. This celebration at Puri is called as Baada Nrusingha Bije. Further in the month of Margasira on Pandu Purnima day, Narasimha leaves the main temple through Ashwa Dwara i.e. southern gate and visits above mentioned four Ashrams.

In the month of Kartika light fortnight thirteenth day, Jagannath is dressed as Narasimha. The arrangements for the particular puja are made by Shankarananda Matha of Puri. In the month of Jyestha (Shukla Ekadasi) i.e on the eleventh day of bright fortnight Narasimha is worshipped as Neela Narasimha during the marriage ceremony of Jagannath with Queen Rukmini.

All important rites and religious functions of Puri Jagannath temple are usually started with the offering of prayer to Narasimha. During the annual Ratha Yatra festival, Narasimha plays an important role. The murti Narasimha, made of sandal wood is placed in the chariot of Jagannath.

Narasimha is also specially worshipped in another famous religious rite of Jagannath on the day of Pushya abhiseka. It is also authenticated from chronicle named Raja Bhoga that offering of food materials of Jagannath daily during morning, midday and night are made with the chanting of Narasimha Mantra. It is also recorded that, if for some reason, the water used in the grand kitchen of the temple becomes impure, and then such is purified with worship of Narasimha.

Narasimha is also associated with the worship of Sudarshan Chakra. During consecration of Sudarshan the chanting of Narasimha Mantra is made which is popularly known as Narasimha Pakshyea. It is also believed that Narasimha is positioned along with Sudarshan.

Narasimha is also considered as the representative of Jagannath during celebration of Nabakalebara i.e. the change of murtis of Jagannath temple. The representative of Narasimha accompanies the team engaged for searching of appropriate wood for construction of new murtis. After the identification of trees having specific religious signs, they are cut after chanting of Patala Narasimha Mantra. After construction of new murtis during nabakalebara, they are consecrated as per Brahma Narasimha mantra. The function is popularly known as Niladri Mahodaya.