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Lord Jagannath Temple, with its sculptural richness and fluidity of the Odia style of temple architecture, is one of the most magnificent monuments of India. Just like other temples of Odisha, the Jagannath temple has a linear arrangement of spaces. The temple has four distinct sectional structures (in the same order mentioned below), namely

  • Vimana or Deula or Garbha Griha (Sanctum Sanctorum)
  • Jagamohana or Mukhasala (The Porch or Audience Hall)
  • Nata Mandapa or Nata Mandira (Dancing Hall)
  • Bhoga Mandapa (Offering Hall or Refectory Hall)

Structure of Lord Jagannath Temple
Vimana, Jagamohana, Nata Mandapa and Bhoga Mandapa of Lord Jagannath Temple

Vimana or Deula or Garbha Griha (Sanctum Sanctorum)

The inner room of the main temple, also called Deula, Garbha Griha, Mani Kotha, or Vimana, is 24×24 feet wide, is the location of the triad Deities on the Ratna Simhasana or Ratna Vedi (Throne of Pearls). In the front of the Ratnavedi there is a space called Pokhoria, where most of the worship is performed. There is only one door leading to Jagamohana. More information on Vimana or Deula or Garbha Griha

Jagamohana or Mukhasala (The Porch or Audience Hall)

The Jagamohana, porch of the main temple, is a tri-ratha pidha temple. The hall of the Jagamohana is 80×80 feet and its roof stands supported by four large square pillars. It has four doorways. The outside walls of the Jagamohana bear decorative maithuna figures.

The western doorway opening to the Grabha Griha is known as "Kalaghata Dwara" (14 feet and 4 inches by 8 feet and 10 inches). Vishnu is the emblem of sixteen virtues (Kalas) and the doorway is supposed to be the junction of all these Kalas. The Devadasi sings devotional songs standing near this doorway during the Bada Singhara time (usually between 10.30pm. to 11.30pm) and everybody is allowed to see her while She sings. But during the twenty one days of Chandan Yatra, She sings during the time of chandan lagi normally between 2.30pm to 3.30pm and nobody is allowed to see her while she sings.

The southern doorway leads to the Mukti Mandapa. At the southern doorway (13 feet and 8 inches by 6 feet) of the porch there are two figures of Brahma with four heads and Kamandalu (Stoup) in hand, and one four armed Shiva nicely carved.

The northern doorway leads to a chamber which is the strong room of the temple, known as the Ratna Bhandara. It is a repository of valuables. The images of Astasakhis and the image of Lokanatha, the Treasurer of Jagannath, have been mounted here. At the south-east corner of the porch and detached from it, there is a small chamber of modern date which serves as a retiring-room for the Devadasi.

The eastern doorway opening to the Nata Mandapa is known as "Jaya Vijaya Dwara" (14 feet by 7 feet). Jaya and Vijaya are the celestial creatures of heaven who guard the Ratna Simhasana (Throne of Pearls). This doorway is one of the finest specimens of Odishan architecture with Sapta Bandha. All aspects of Rashalila of Lord Jagannath have been represented here. The Odia inspiration of Prataprudra Deva (15th century A.D.) has been inscribed on the side walls of the doorway. After the Jaya Vijaya Dwara, Sata Pahacha (seven steps) connect the Jagamohana with the Nata Mandapa (the dancing hall).

Nata Mandapa (Dancing Hall)

The Nata Mandapa is of a much later date than the sanctuary and architecturally of quite a distinct characteristic. It is a square room, measuring 69 feet by 67 feet in the inside, the outside measurement being a square of 80 feet. At the eastern side of it, there is the famous Garuda pillar and from this position a front view of the three Deities can be observed. On the wall of the Nata Mandapa behind the Garuda Pillar, Lord Brahma and Lord Shiva are found standing and offering prayer to God with folded hands. Ten incarnations of Lord Vishnu are seen in south-east corner of the mandap.

In the Nata Mandapa the Devadasis used to dance at the time of Sakala Dhupa, till about 1985. Close by, on the eastern wall, there are sculptures of latter addition representing the scene of Kanchi-Kaveri expedition. The scene represents two mounted cavaliers (Lord Balabhadra and Lord Jagannath) with a Maniki (Milkman) standing before them carrying a pitcher on her head. There are also a few other paintings of recent date including the picture of Sankaracharya offering obeisance to God Narasimha. At few yards, to the north of the Nata Mandapa, there are two big metal bells. One of the bells is hanging from an iron bar and the other one is placed on the ground. The weight of the bell kept on the ground is approximately 900 kg.

Nata Mandapa has two main gates, one towards the south and the other towards the north and four another subsidiary small gates. The south main gate is known as "Panda Dwara". There are seven steps at north main gate, popularly known as Sata Pahacha. The deities go to Car festival and Snana yatra through these steps.

Bhoga Mandapa (Offering Hall or Refectory Hall)

The most external hall, called Bhoga mandapa, and it stands immediately to the east of the Nata Mandapa. It is a square building like the other three. It is made of yellowish stand stone rendered red by ochre painting. It measures 58 feet by 56 feet on the ground-plan and is profusely carved in the most finished style of Odishan art. It is the only part of the temple complex which has not been plastered. At the time of offering of Bhoga, the connecting door to Nata Mandapa remains open for a direct vision of the Deities towards the offerings.

Inside the Bhoga Mandapa, no paintings are there, but the outer walls have stone carvings depicting many mythological scenes such as Lord Shiva on a bull, Lord Krishna gazing cows and dancing with Gopies, Dola yatra, Rama Abhiseka, King worshipping Lord Jagannath, Siva Linga & Durga and marching of the royal army etc. These stone figures are of smaller size than those carved on the porch but are of good workmanship. The doorway seen in it is flanked by frames of chlorite. There are number of steps on the north side and number of steps also existed on the south side. However, the steps were removed later when the passage from the Rosaghara (temple kitchen) was built.

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