Saturday, July 2, 2016

Alarnath Temple: The Other Form of Lord Jagannath

Alarnath Temple is located in Brahmagiri which is about 25 kilometers from Puri. It is a special place for the Krishna devotees and a little lesser known tourist destination than the Jagannath Temple. Alarnath temple witnesses gathering of devotees during the Ashadha period which is post Snana Yatra when Lord Jagannath along with family of brother and sister is bathed with holy water. After bathing with lots of water, the Lord and his family is taken ill which is known as the Anasara period. The devotees visit the temple of Alarnath during this Anasara period when they are not allowed into the sick room of the Lord.

According to mythology, Lord Brahma worshipped Lord Vishnu on top of the hill during Satya Yuga. One day Lord Vishnu appeared and told Lord Brahma that he was pleased with the way he prayed and asked him to prepare a four-armed deity of Lord Vishnu holding the shankha, chakra, gada and padma (conch shell, disk, club and lotus) and make a shrine on the hill. The idol was made from black stone and there is another idol of Garuda too. The rulers of Rajasthan actually established the temple here and started worshipping the deity which made the people call the place as Alarnath or Alwarnath.  

Alarnath Temple 

Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu in 1610 A.D. stayed here for 2 weeks during the Anasara period of Lord Jagannath. He claimed that he could find Lord Jagannath in Lord Alarnath and since then it has become a popular belief that Lord Jagannath manifests himself through Lord Alarnath during the Anasara period. Lord Alarnath is served Kheer made from milk and rice during the Anasara period. Idols of Satyabhama and Rukmini can also be found inside the temple of Alarnath. Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is also present inside the temple in idol form. The lake behind the temple is famous for Chandan yatra celebrated every year. 

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