Jagannath ('lord of the universe') is a deity worshipped in regional traditions of Hinduism in India. Jagannath is considered a form of Vishnu.He is part of a triad along with his brother Balabhadra and sister Subhadra.
To most Vaishnava Hindus, Jagannath is an abstract representation of Krishna; to some Shaiva and Shakta Hindus, he is a symmetry-filled tantric representation of Bhairava; to some Buddhists, he is a symbolic representation of the Buddha in the Buddha-Sangha-Dhamma triad; to some Jains, his name and his festive rituals are derived from Jeenanath of Jainism tradition.
The icon of Jagannath is a carved and decorated wooden stump with large round eyes and a symmetric face, and the icon has a conspicuous absence of hands or legs. The worship procedures, sacraments and rituals associated with Jagannath are syncretic, and include rites that are uncommon in Hinduism.Unusually, the icon is made of wood and replaced with a new one at regular intervals.
The annual festival called the Ratha yatra celebrated in June or July every year in eastern states of India is dedicated to Jagannath. His image, along with the other two associated deities, is ceremoniously brought out of the sacrosanctum (Garbhagriha) of his chief temple in Puri (Oriya: Bada Deula).
They are placed in a chariot which is then pulled by numerous volunteers to the Gundicha Temple, (located at a distance of nearly 3 km or 1.9 mi). They stay there for a few days, after which they are returned to the main temple.
Coinciding with the Ratha Yatra festival at Puri, similar processions are organized at Jagannath temples throughout the world. During the festive public procession of Jagannath in Puri lakhs of devotees visit Puri to see Lord Jagganath in chariot.
"Jagannath" is a compound word, consisting of "Jagan” and "Nath”. The word nath means "Master, Lord” (nātha) while jagan or "jagat means the "universe”. Thus, Jagannath means "lord of the universe”.
In the Odia language, "Jagannath” is linked to other names, such as "Jagā” (ଜଗା) or "Jagabandhu” (ଜଗବନ୍ଧୁ) ("Friend of the Universe”). Both names derive from "Jagannath”. Further, on the basis of the physical appearance of the deity, names like "Kālya” (କାଳିଆ) ("The Black-coloured Lord”, but which can also mean "the Timely One”), "Darubrahman” (ଦାରୁବ୍ରହ୍ମ) ("The Sacred Wood-Riddle”), "Dāruēdabatā” (ଦାରୁ ଦେବତା "The wooden god”), Chakāākhi (ଚକା ଆଖି) or "Chakānayan” (ଚକା ନୟନ "With round eyes”), "Cakāḍōḷā” (ଚକା ଡୋଳା "with round pupils”) are also in vogue.
According to the Official page of Shree Jagannath Swain Mohapatra (Jaguni Dada) Lord Jagannatha has 16 popular names as follows:
- Chakaakhi: Chakaakhi means round eyes
- Chakadola: The round lid-less eyes (It symbolize the Lord in overactive and vigilant)
- Chakanayana Chakanayana means round eyes
- Darubrahma Darubrahma means the wooden (Daru) image containing the supreme soul (the Brahma).
- Devadhideva: The Lord of Lords
- Jagadish: The king of universe
- Jagatadhisha: The king of universe
- Jagannath: The God of the Universe
- Kala Thakura: The black coloured God
- Mahaabaahu: Big handed (It symbolize the Lord is actively helps to all)
- Neeladrivihari Neelamadhab (Jagannath was worshipped as ‘Neelamadhab’ by an aboriginal tribe chief)
- Nilachalia: Live in Nilachala
- Padmalochana: ‘Padma’ means Lotus and ‘Lochana’ means Eye
- Patitapabana: Who bless the Universe
- Purusottama: The Supreme Man
- Rajadhiraj: The king of kings