The Hindu believes in the festivals
of Lord Jagannath as the source of giving entertainment to the human society, So
the festivals relating to Lord Jagannath are the occasions of great religious
experience and devotional favour. In the metaphysical system the festivals are
known as 'Yatra'. Many festivals of Puri are related to Lord Jagannath and the Jagannath temple
, out of which one most important festival is 'Chandan Yatra'.
This summer Festival of Lord
Jagannath falls in April-May on Akshaya Trutiya i.e, the 3rd day of
the bright fort night of the oriya month of Baisakha. This auspicious day also
marks the beginning of the construction of the Rathas, chariots for the
ceremonial sojourn of Jagannath,Balabhadra and Subhadra to the Gundicha Temple
on the day of car festival. 'Chandan Yatra', literally, Sandalwood paste
festival, indicates the worshiping of the deities with sandal mixed
water. Chandan yatra is devided into two periods i.e, Bahar chandan or outer
chandan(21 days) and Bhitar chandan or inner chandan (21 days).
The outer chandan lasts for 21
days. Everyday the representative images of the deities i.e, Rama, Krishna, Madan
Mohan, Laxmi and Saraswati(Biswadhatri) are taken in a procession to the famous
Narendra tank or chandan pokhari. The five shivas known as Pancha
Pandavas, namely Lokanath, Yameswar, Markandaya, Kapal Mochan and
Nilakantha, accompany Madan Mohan(the representative of Lord Jagannath) to the
narendra tank. In a gorgeously decorated boat Madan Mohan, Laxmi and Saraswati
are placed and in another are placed Rama, Krishna and the Pancha Pandavas(five
shivas). The deities enjoy an evening cruise and various models of worship in
the pictureseque narendra tank with the accompaniment of music and dance. On the
last day of the festival 'Bhaunri Yatra' is performed.
The procession start up from
Singhadwara to Narendra puskarini amid Hymn, bhajan, kirtana, mridanga, ghanta etc.
wich site a pictureseque panaroma worth seeing. The traditionaly decorated royal
elephant takes the lead followed by two gigantic decorated palinquies or vimana
carrying the deities to their destination. The sacred vimanas takes rest on the
shoulders of the professionally earmarked viman badus.Throughout their journey
thousands of devotees throng to cover the glimpse of the yatra,offering puja &
pankti bhoga to the deities. All along the way to narendra tank the conventional
huge wooden sheds or chamundiya were erected enabling rest for the
deities. Besides these, devotees carry chatris or the umbrellas made by the
skilled pipili people projecting there of the rich art and craft of the
city. Thousand of people are seen taking a dip in this holy tank considering to
be auspicious in this part of the year.
After the completion of the outer
chandan yatra,the inner chandan yatra starts inside the temple and lasts for 21
days.Various rites are performed inside the temple, out of view of the public.
Narendra tank is built by Narendra
Dev, son of Kapilendra Dev. Being shouldered the responsibility of the kingdom in
the hand of Purrosottam, Narendra devoted his time and energy and spent a lot to
the all round development of this holy tank. Situated about three quarters of a
mile north-east of the Jagannath temple,the Narendra tank covers an area of
over 3.240 hectares(8 acres). It is 834 feet by 873 feet in size. The tank has an
island in its middle bearing a small temple, connected with the south bank with
a bridge, to which Madan Mohan, the representative deity of Jagannath, is brought
during the chandan yatra.
According to the opinion of Puri
people this chandan yatra was contemplated perhaps to impact training to our
youngmen in the field of sea-voyage. In this support the history says that the
people of Orissa had maritime commerce with several countries in the Eastern
region. So now-a-days many young men swim in narendra sarovar in this regard.
Aerial View of Narendra Tank