Varanasi, one of the oldest cities in the world, is a desired destination for Hindu pilgrims. The city is home to numerous temples that are frequented by visitors for spiritual luminescence. When in the city, visiting the two-hundred-year-old Jagannath Temple is a must. This temple overlooks the Asi Ghat and replica of Jagannath Temple situated at Puri in the Indian State of Orissa. The temple dates back to 1802 when two affluent citizens from Bhonsala estate, Visambhar Ram, and Beni Ram constructed it to honor Lord Jagannath. The temple has many resemblances to the original one including idols and architecture.
Three idols reside in this temple Lord Jagannath, elder brother Balaram and sister Subhadra. Rituals and procedure of worshipping the deity are similar to that of the Jagannath temple at Puri. Along with these idols, there is also an image of Prachanda Narasimha, measuring almost four meters high and his devotee Prahlada. The complex of this Jagannath Temple in Varanasi is divided into three sections that are linked through gates. The shape of this temple is rectangular, and height of the main spire is almost sixteen meters. In four corners of this temples, there are figurines of four Vaishnavite divinities namely Krishna, Rama Pancayatana, Kaliyamardan as a form of Hindu God Krishna and Lakshminarayana.
The main temple is situated in the last section or southern part of the complex. The external boundary of this temple is adorned with red sandstone. In the open space, outside main segment a Garuda faces the idol of Lord Jagannath. What makes this different from the original one is the size and area of this temple complex. The size of this Hindu temple in Varanasi is smaller in comparison to the temple complex at Puri. Rath Yatra celebrated during June July or Hindu month of Ashadha is a miniature form of the one at Puri.
In 1806, Swami Brahmachari, who was the chief priest of Jagannath Temple in Puri, initiated Rath Yatra festival during his years of exile in the city. The wooden idols of the deities are carried on decorated and magnificent palanquins from the temple to Pandit Beni Ram garden for celebrating this festival. Festivity continues for almost three days, and it attracts pilgrims from neighboring districts and states. After this celebration, idols are brought back to the temple, but worshippers are prohibited from darshan or viewing for a fortnight.
During this fortnight, the deities recover from illness and head priest of this Temple in India prepare a medicinal juice known as kadha and offers it to three deities. This juice comprises of a mixture of cloves, basil and water from the Holy River Ganges. The authorities organize fair during Rath Yatra fair a major attraction that draws numerous pilgrims. Nankhatai, the traditional cookie made of refines sugar and flour is in high demand among worshippers. Well, as per Hindu calendar, Rath Yatra denotes the onset of the festive season. This is followed by the Holy month of Shrawan that draws numerous devotees to the shrine of Lord Vishwanath.
Reaching Jagannath Temple at Varanasi is easy from different parts of the country. The city is connected to different parts of the country by bus, train and air.
By bus: The city is situated on National Highway that connects Delhi and Kolkata. Varanasi is connected to neighboring cities of Uttar Pradesh and states by state-run and private buses. You can also opt for air-conditioned buses operating between Varanasi and other major cities. From the bus station, you can take a tuk-tuk and reach the temple. If you want, you can drive in from other cities.
By Air: Lal Bahadur Shastri Airport is located the northwestern part of the city. There are regular domestic flights that connect to major cities of the country like Kolkata, Mumbai, Delhi, and Bengaluru. The city is connected with Nepal, Sri Lanka and Thailand with a direct flight. From the airports, you have to travel almost twenty seven kilometers to reach the Jagannath Temple. In almost thirty six minutes, you will reach the temple from the airport.
Bay Rail: You can reach Varanasi by train through three railway stations Baranasi Junction, Mughal Sarai Junction and Manduadih Station. Different cities are connected with the city through different trains. The varanasi to jagannath temple distance is almost seven kilometers, and visitors can reach the place within approximately ten minutes in a tuk-tuk, you can even take auto-rickshaw and cycle-rickshaw.
Apart from these, there are also buses to different cities in Nepal. There are tempos and private taxis that can take you around the city.
Must Know Facts on Lord Jagannath & Rath Yatra
Hera panchami – The Grand Fight Between Lord Jagannath And Laxmi
Suna Besa Of Lord Jagannath (The Gold Avatar Of God)
Address: Ravindrapuri Rd, Assi Road, Near Assi Ghat, Anandbagh, Bhelupur, Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh 221010, India