After Vishnu saved the world from deluge in his Baraha incarnation,Brahma asked him of the means of salvation of all creatures.Vishnu said, "I am being worshipped as Nilamadhava on the Blue Hill in Purushottama Khetra, Puri. The highest form of salvation could be attained by beholding me there." This was a cause of apprehension to Yama,the God of death,as he could not discharge his duties properly.On Yama's request Vishnu assured him to disappear from the Blue Hill after some days.
The sacred Rohini Kunda was situated to the west of the all bestowing kalpa-vriksa whose branches had spread of Nilamadhava was situated to the west of the Kunda,known to all excepting the Savara who worshipped him and the Gods who came to pay their daily oblations at his altar.In Satyayuga the pious and learned king Indradyumna of the Solar dynasty ruled in Avanti.He was anxious to see Vishnu.A wandering sannyasin informed him that God Himself was being worshipped as Purushottama on the Blue Hill in Odra desh.Indradyumna sent Vidyapati,the brother of his family priest,to Utkala as his emissary.Vidyapati came to Utkala and settled in a Savara village situated to the west of the Blue Hill.After being acquainted with Viswavasu,the fowler,Vidyapati revealed to him the secrets of his mission and entreated him for a sight of Nilamadhava.He also told the fowler that his royal master would not touch food until his return.Out of compassion for the king Viswavasu took Vidyapati through a narrow track and showed him the Shrine of Nilamadhava.After seeing Nilamadhava Vidyapati returned to Avanti.
In the meanwhile in order to fulfill His pledge given to Yama,Lord Vishnu made the Shrine of Nilamadhava invisible under the sand.When Indradyumna accompanied by Narada set out with a vast army and reached the borders of the Kingdom of Utkala,its King informed him about the disappearance of Nilamadhava.Indradyumna was completely discheartened with the news,but sage Narada assured him that God would reappear in the form of Daru (a log of wood).Thus being consoled Indradyumna visited the Blue Hill and offered a thousand aswamedha sacrifices there.
On the closing day of the aswamedha sacrifice Nilamadhava appeared to Indradyumna in a vision and at his bathing time the attendants came and informed him that a Daru with four branches was flating on the sea. The King with due ceremony brought the Daru and placed it on the Mahavedi.While discussing with Narada about fashioning the log into an image,the king heared a voice from heaven saying, "God Himself will make His own image.The aged carpenter standing with his tools should be maintained about the construction of the image." Things were arranged accordingly and at the end of the allotted time Jagannath,Balabhadra,Subhadra and Sudarsana appeared on the Mahavedi.Being directed by a voice from heaven the king adorned the images with silken cloth and painted them with their respective colours.He also built a temple one thousand cubits high to install the images.
Indradyumna went to heaven to invite Brahma to consecrate the temple. Brahma was listening to music,and the time that intervened amounted to many ages of mortal like.In the meanwhile a king named Gala had taken possession of the temple and was worshipping an image of Madhava in it.at last Brahma came.Indradyumna and Gala were reconciled to each other and the image of Madhava was shifted to a smaller temple.Brahma consecrated the temple and the images.After leaving the temple in charge of Gala,indradyumna proceeded to Brahmaloka.
A slightly different version of the story is found in the musali parva of the Mahabharata written by the great 15th century Odia poet Sarala Das.According to him Narayan or Savirnarayana was being worshipped by the Savaras in the forest and being informed about it,king Galamadhava of Kanchi proceeded to the Savara village to take possession of the deity.But the deity had disappeared in the meanwhile.King Galamadhava was angry with the Savaras thinking that they had hideen the deity,and waged a war against them.He had killed all the Savaras,excepting one,when the voice of Vishnu from heaven asked him to desist from the holocaust as the Savaras were His great devotees.God Vishnu also cursed Galamadhava that his entire line would be extinct.The story of Indradyumna begins after this.Lord Krishna was killed by the arrow of Jara,a foeler.Arjuna consigned the body of Krishna to flames,but the flames could not consume it.Being directed by a voice from Heaven Arjuna threw the body of Lord Krishna into the sea, and at length it floated in the form of a Daru to Mulasundara on the shores of the sea.Jara had followed the body of krishna along the sea-coast.King Indradyumna,knowing that Vishnu will appear at nilagiri (the bule hill),had constructed a temple there with the help of the Bramhin Viswavasu.Krishna informed Jara on a dream that He would appear in Rohini Kunda in the shape of Daru (log of wood).Indradyumna got the information from Jara and sent his men to lift the Daru from Rohini Kunda,but all his efforts failed.Then being directed by the Lord in a vision Indradyumna employed the services of Jara,the fowler; and Vasu,the Brahmin ;who jointly lifted the Daru from Rohini Kunda.Jara and Viswakarma together fashioned the log into the three images of Balabhadra,Subhadra and Jagannath who,according to [oet Sarala's version,stood for Siva,Brahma and Vishnu respectively.