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Jagannath Puri / Defying Inhuman Invasions and Desecrations with Resilience and the P0wer

Jagannath Puri

Jagannath Puri / Inhuman Invasions and Desecrations .


Jagannath Puri  is the land of  Lord  Jagannath. The Jagannath Temple, one of the most auspicious ancient Hindu temples dedicated to Lord Jagannath, the Lord of Universe, is located in Puri, Odisha, eastern part coast of India. Since thousand years, this holy site has represented cultural and religious values of India. Nevertheless, the temple has seen periods of instability, like as invasions and desecrations, that have tested its chastity despite its lengthy existence.Despite these challenges, the Jagannath Puri Temple has endured as a representation of the resolute faith and unwavering devotion of the millions of people who annually flock to its hallowed grounds. This essay looks at the invasions and desecrations that have changed this sacred temple’s history irrevocably.

Invasions and desecrations of the Jagannath Puri, Temple.

According to the Madala Panji (the temple annals), that the Jagannath Puri temple, at Puri has been invaded and looted eighteen times.some of the inhuman invasions and desecrations of the Lord Jagannath Temple are discussed here-

Jagannath Puri Temple has been the victim of many historical attacks. Invasion by “Raktabahu” (800 A.D.). According to the “Madalapanji”, records this invasion by the Rashtrakuta king, Govinda III alias Raktabahu as the first invasion of the Jagannath Puri temple. Illias Shahi (1340 A.D.) was the sultan of Bengal who took advantage of the weak northern defense of king Narasimhadeva III and attacked Puri. Feroz Shah Tughlaq (1360 A.D.) attacked Puri in the absence of the king. It was under the rule of King Bhanudeva III of Ganga dynasty at that time.Some scholars believe that idols were thrown in the sea by Feroz Shah Tughlaq. Ismail Ghazi (1509 A.D.) a commander of the then Sultan of Bengal, Allaudin Hussain Shah invaded Puri in the absence of King Prataprudradeva who was in the south at the time.The priests of the temple hid the three idols in Chilika lake island called “Chadeiguha pahada” (Bird-poop mountain). The most violent and the most discussed invasion on the Jagannath temple has to be this one by Kalapahada (1568 A.D.) one of the army generals of the Afghan Sultan of Bengal, Sulaiman Karrani.King Mukundadeva was the ruler of Puri then.Kalapahada capture of forts at Cuttack and Sarangagarh.After the capture of forts at Cuttack and Sarangagarh, Kalapahada led his army to Jagannath Puri . In the meantime, the servants king, on hearing the fall of Cuttack to the Muslims had taken the idol away and were hidden underground at Hastipatna in Parikuda.Unfortunately, Kalahpahada could identify the place and carried idols on elephant back to the banks of Ganga, where he try to burnt them.But the idols did not burn so he threw the half-burnt idols into the flowing river. Bisher Mohanty a Vaishnavite saint, who had followed Kalapahada on his way back collected the “brahma” from the idols, put it inside a mridanga, and placed at a temple in Gadakujanga. From 1568 to 1575 A.D., the brahma lived in that temple.In 1575 A.D., it was Ramachandra Deva who got the brahma from Gadakujanga and placed at Khordha fort for a year. In 1576 A.D. Nabakalebara, the deities were finally placed in the temple at Puri.
After the fall of the Gajapati kingdom in 1568 A.D.,Bengal sultan Suleiman Karrani had appointed Qutlu Khan Lohani as governor of Puri. Qutlu Khan’s son Suleman aided by another general, Isa Khan’s son, Osha jointly attacked the Jagannath Puri temple  in 1592 A.D.. They looted the temple wealth, desecrated images at the temple, and also killed innocent peoples .At that time Ramachandradeva, the Bhoi dynasty rulling Khurda, he didn’t face the invaders.Mirza Khurram (1601 A.D.), was the commander of the Nawab of Bengal who attacked Puri during the Dola festival. The officials shifted the idols by boat through river Bhargavi to Kapileswarpur village near Puri. After that Idols were shifted to Dobandha Pentha where they stayed for 8 months. Hasim Khan (1608 A.D.) was the subedar of Odisha,He attacked the temple in 1608 A.D. This was the time when Purushottam Deva was the King of Khurda, he shifted the deities to the Gopal temple at his capital even before Hasim reached Puri.King Purushottam Deva returned the idols back to the temple in 1608 A.D.Kesodamaru (1610 A.D.), was a Hindu Rajput who served under Hasim Khan. He attacked Puri during the rath yatra. They entered the temple,looted crores worth of treasury of the temple during rule of Purusottamdeva.Kalyan Mal (1611 A.D.), was the son of Raja Todar Mal, one of the navaratnas in the Mughal court of Akbar. He attacked the temple at Puri twice. Mukarram Khan (1617 A.D.) the governor of Odisha, created a reign of terror and was very open about his display of hatred for idol worship.As a precautionary measure, the temple priests carried the idols to Gobapadar and place the idols at the Bankanidhi temple.In 1620 A.D.the deities returned to Jagannath Puri again.Mirza Ahmed Beg (1621 A.D.) was the nephew of Mughal empress, Noorjahan.He attacked Khurdha at a time when Purushottam Deva was the king.At that time rebellious Mughal prince Shah Jahan arrived in Odisha with his army. Out of fear of being attacked, Ahmed Beg fled to Bengal.Movement of Mughals, prompted the priests to carry the idols to Andharigada and transfer to Gadamanitri.Finally idols brought back to Puri in 1624 A.D. Amir Mutaquad Khan (1645 A.D.) known as Mirza Makki governor of Odisha attacked Jagannath Puri . King Narasimha Deva was treacherously killed by his nephew Gangadhar.During the invasion, he not only plundered the temple but also the old palace at Balisahi. Amir Fateh Khan (1647 A.D.) attacked the Jagannath Puri temple and looted all its wealth in gold, gems stones, pearls, etc. Emperor Aurangzeb, issued an order in 1692 A.D. to destroy the temple of Jagannath in Puri. At the time, the king of Khurda was Dibyasingha Deva.Following Aurangzeb’s order, then Nawab of Odisha, Ekram Khan along with his brother Mastram Khan attacked the temple.The deities were hidden behind the Bimala temple within the Jagannath Puri temple campus.The idols were shifted to Maa Bhagabati temple at Gadakokal in Brahmagiri block again moved from Gadakokal to Banpur across the Chilika lake.Till in 1699 A.D. that the Lord finally returned to the temple at Puri. Muhammad Taqi Khan (1731 A.D.) invaded the temple twice, to demolish the temple, desecrate the idols, and to loot wealth.The priests moved the idols to Hariswar in Banapur, then to Chikili in Khallikote, then Rumagarh in Kodala, then Athagada in Ganjam and then finally to Marda of Kodala. Nizam of Hyderabad had controll over that region. The ruler of Athagada, Jagannath Harichandan Jagdev, had good relations with the Gajapati of Khurda.The idols were kept at Marda from 1733 to 1736. A temple was constructed at Marda, and all rituals and festivals were religiously followed. So Marda is known as Jagannath’s second home. Mahima Dharma don’t believe in idol worship. So in the year of 1881 A.D. followers of Mahima dharma gathered in Puri from western Odisha and Chhatisgarh, got the three idols out onto Badadanda and set them on fire.FIR was lodged and all the invaders were arrested.The remarkeble thing is in the history of invasion on the Lord Jagannath Puri Temple that in no case the ‘Brahma’ of the deities were destroyed which continued till now.


Lord Jagannath Temple invasions and desecrations represent significant moments in the history of religious holiness and resiliency. The Jagannath Puri temple has persevered as a representation of undying dedication and cultural richness despite countless difficulties and acts of sacrilege over the ages. These incursions serve as a constant reminder of the resilience of religion and the group’s attempts to protect hallowed areas. With its spiritual and cultural significance, the Lord Jagannath Puri Temple stands tall as a tribute to the unwavering determination of people who defend the sacredness of religious institutions, creating a legacy that endures the test of time.

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