Puri’s Jagannath Temple: Why non-Hindus and foreigners can’t enter here

Source: The post is based on the article “Puri’s Jagannath Temple: Why non-Hindus and foreigners can’t enter here” published in Indian Express on 22nd January 2023.

What is the News?

The Odisha Governor has backed the entry of foreign nationals inside the world-famous Jagannath Temple in Puri.

What is Lord Jagannath Temple?

Lord Jagannath Temple is located in Puri,Odisha. It is also called the White Pagoda.

It is one of the four dhams (char dham) where Lord Jagannath, a form of Lord Vishnu, is worshipped along with his elder brother Lord Balabhadra and sister Devi Subhadra. 

The temple was constructed by a famous king of the Ganga Dynasty Ananta Varman Chodaganga Deva dating back to the 12th century.

Only Hindus are allowed inside the shrine to offer prayers to the sibling deities in the sanctum sanctorum. 

Why are non-Hindus not allowed inside the temple?

It has been the practice for centuries — even though there is no clearly articulated reason for it. 

Some historians believe that multiple attacks on the Temple by Muslim rulers might have led the servitors to impose restrictions on the entry of non-Hindus. Others have said that this was the practice from the time the Temple was built.

How can Non-Hindus then worship Lord Jagannath? 

Lord Jagannath is also known as Patitabapan which literally means “saviour of the downtrodden”. 

So all those who are barred from entering the Temple because of religious reasons get the privilege of a darshan of the Lord in the form of Patitapaban at the Lion’s Gate.

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