Lord Jagannath and Sailasrikhetra, Angul
BY: BARADA PRASANNA DAS
Lord Jagannatha at Angul
Nov 02, ANGUL, ORISSA (SUN) Gajapati Maharaja of Puri transferred his administrative power over Angul to the hands of Kings of the Kadamba dynasty of Kashyap clan, towards the middle of the tenth century. Before the arrival of the Kadamba kings this region was inhabited by aboriginals, mainly of the Kandha tribe. The last Kandha Sardar was a chieftain named Anu, who withheld tribute and broke out in rebellion. A conspiracy was hatched against Anu by the Kadamba kings and in the struggle which ensued, he was deposed by means of a gol, i.e. a battle or plot. They then ruled over the land, and in commemoration of their conquest called this region Anugol, which is now called Angul.
The Kadamba kings were devotees of Lord Jagannath and with their efforts, the Daru Vigraha of Sri Jagannath, Sri Balabhadra, Devi Subhadra and Sudarshan were installed on an alter inside the palace in Anugol gada (Presently Puruna gada) and were worshipped. Later on, towards the seventeenth century A.D, a beautiful temple for the Deities was built and the auspicious Car Festival was held. This was indeed a memorable and remarkable step for the revival of the ancient Jagannath Cult in Angul.
The British deposed Somanath Singh Jagadev, the last king of the Kadamba dynasty, and assumed the reins of power in 1848 A.D. In 1891, they decided to shift their headquarters to the foot of Sunasagada Hill and in the last part of the nineteenth century, the new town of Angul was built.
After few years the Car Festival at Angul started, with small idols of Chaturdhamurti Lord Jagannath, Balabhadra, Subhadra and Sudarshan. Those deities were worshipped in Madan Mohan temple as Parsvadevatas.
After a lapse of several years, a religious dilemma crept in the minds of devotees. The dilemma was that Lord Jagannath is complete in sixteen Kalas, and is the primordial source of all incarnations who emerge out of Him, according to the Utkaliya Vaishnava beliefs. They questioned whether it was justified and appropriate that He should be the Parsvadevata Lord Jagannath and Sailasrikhetra, Angul in the temple of Lord Madan Mohan? This serious question resounded in the minds of people for quite few years, but Ratha Yatra was celebrated as usual.
During 1992 A.D. the issue took a sensitive turn, and a comprehensive dialogue of eminent persons and scholars of Angul was held to arrive at a decision on the Sripanchami day of 1992. It was unanimously resolved that a new Jagannath temple shall be constructed on the Sunasagada Hills. After clearing a series of hurdles, on 21st February 1996 its foundation stone was laid due to the grace of Lord Jagannath. It is a matter of pride and glory that in the meantime, the temple construction has been completed and it has been named as Saila Srikhetra.
Saila Srikhetra at Angul
On 22nd February 2002, the Chaturdhamurtis of Lord Jagannath, Balabhadra, Subhadra and Sudarshan were installed on the ratna simhasana in the sanctum sanctorum.
A Board of Management has been constituted with the Collector of Angul as its Chairman for the management of the temple and Saila Srikhetra. The Supreme blessings and grace of Valiyarbhuja Jagannath have enabled the people to perform three Dhupas and the Abakashas apart from daily rituals, worship and ceremonial observations in adhering to the principles and traditions followed at Srikhetra, Puri.
The erstwhile Rath yatra has assumed the form of A mega festival. Goddess Budhi Thakurani, Madan Mohan Jeeu, Brahmeswar and Jagannath are worshipped at Sunasagada Hills in a common place, which has brought a unique cultural synthesis of Saivism, Saktism, Vaishnavism and Jagannath cults at Saila Srikhetra, in a glorious manner.
There is no doubt that due to this religious influence and impact on the day-to-day living of the population in the industrial city of Angul, spiritualism will be aroused in the people's mind. Let pray Lord Jagannath for his blessings to enable us to know more about Him from His adyapitha Kantilo to Srikhetra, and Srikhetra to Saila Srikhetra.
1. Orissa District Gazetteer (Dhenkanal)
2. Orissa Itihas - Dr. H.K. Mohatab
3. Cultural Heritage of Orissa, Angul
Source: Orissan Review