Jagannath

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For other uses, see Jagannath (disambiguation).
Hindu God, believed to be abstract form of Krishna.

Lord Jagannath
Shri Jagannatha
AffiliationAbstract form of Maha Vishnu and Krishna
AbodeMount Nila
WeaponSudarshana Chakra, Panchajanya
MountGaruda
Personal information
SiblingsBalabhadra & Subhadra
ConsortShridevi & Bhudevi
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Jagannath (Sanskrit: जगन्नाथ, ISO: Jagannātha; lit. ''lord of the universe'', Odia: ଜଗନ୍ନାଥ) is a deity worshipped in regional traditions of Hinduism in India and Bangladesh. Jagannath is considered a form of Vishnu.[1][2] He is part of a triad along with his brother Balabhadra and sister Subhadra. To most Vaishnava Hindus, Jagannath is an abstract representation of Krishna; to some Shaiva and Shakta Hindus, he is a symmetry-filled tantric representation of Bhairava; to some Buddhists, he is a symbolic representation of the Buddha in the Buddha-Sangha-Dhamma triad; to some Jains, his name and his festive rituals are derived from Jeenanath of Jainism tradition.[3]

The icon of Jagannath is a carved and decorated wooden stump with large round eyes and a symmetric face, and the icon has a conspicuous absence of hands or legs. The worship procedures, sacraments and rituals associated with Jagannath are syncretic,[3] and include rites that are uncommon in Hinduism.[4] Unusually, the icon is made of wood and replaced with a new one at regular intervals. The origin and evolution of Jagannath worship is unclear.[5] Some scholars interpret hymn 10.155.3 of the Rigveda as a possible origin, but others disagree and state that it is a syncretic deity with tribal roots.[5] His name does not appear in the traditional Dashavatara (ten avatars) of Vishnu,[6] though in certain Odia literature, Jagannath has been treated as the ninth avatar, as a substitute for or the equivalent of the Shakyamuni Buddha.[7]

Jagannath is considered a non-sectarian deity.[8][9][10] He is significant regionally in the Indian states of Odisha, Chhattisgarh, West Bengal, Jharkhand, Bihar, Gujarat, Assam, Manipur and Tripura.[11] He is also significant to the Hindus of Bangladesh. The Jagannath temple in Puri, Odisha is particularly significant in Vaishnavism, and is regarded as one of the Char Dham pilgrimage sites in India.[12] The Jagannath temple is massive, over 61 metres (200 ft) high in the Nagara Hindu temple style, and one of the best surviving specimens of Kalinga architecture aka Odisha art and architecture.[13] It has been one of the major pilgrimage destinations for Hindus since about 800 CE.[13]

The annual festival called the Ratha yatra celebrated in June or July every year in eastern states of India is dedicated to Jagannath. His image, along with the other two associated deities, is ceremoniously brought out of the sacrosanctum (Garbhagriha) of his chief temple in Jagannath Puri (Oriya: Bada Deula). They are placed in a chariot which is then pulled by numerous volunteers to the Gundicha Temple, (located at a distance of nearly 3 km or 1.9 mi). They stay there for a few days, after which they are returned to the main temple. Coinciding with the Ratha Yatra festival at Puri, similar processions are organized at Jagannath temples throughout the world. During the festive public procession of Jagannath in Puri lakhs of devotees visit Puri to see Lord Jagganath in chariot.[14]