Jagannath in the Name of Prashannadev at Basudevpur


Prashanna Dev Temple, Basudevpur
[ Photo courtesy Spatra28@Panoramio ]

Dec 14, 2013 — CANADA (SUN) — A survey of Prashannadev at Basudevpur adapted from the article by Dr. Pratap Kumar Nayak.

Odisha is very well known as a land of temples and specially for Jagannath, who is regarded as the Lord of the Universe. Jagannath culture became popular under the fostering leadership of the Gangas and Suryavamsi Gajapatis in every nook and corner of Odisha. For popularizing the culture of Jagannath the Gajapatis extended their royal support. Consequently a good number of Jagannath temples were erected in various parts of Odisha.

Odisha is full of archaeological treasures ranging from the prehistoric times to the end of the Muslim reign. Basudevpur, a remote village of the past, close to the blue water of the Bay of Bengal in the north of Odisha, is a rich store house of antiquities. The geographical location of Basudevpur is that it is 14 kms away from the National Highway-05, with NH-16 to the west, 7 kms away from the Bay of Bengal in the east. It was full of jungles and trees in the remote past. Transportation was not there, and the barter system was prevailing in the area. One Deity alone was worshipped here: Lord Jagannath in the name Prashanna Dev. The Lord's temple is just 2 kms away from Basudevpur.

The date proposed for the construction of the present Prashanna Dev Temple at Basudevpur is not known with certainty. No treatment has been given by the Archaeological Department or the Govt. of Odisha to know the history of the temple. Nor have any excavations been made to ascertain the construction and time of the building of the temple. The dates may be within 1500 to 1700 A.D., according to some of the senior citizens of Basudevpur.

Lord Prashanna Dev

There are several tales about the temple of Prashanna Dev. A long time back at the time of rule of the king of Pataspur, Suryanarayan (nearer to Srijanga of Balasore), his daughter Mallika fell in love with Kumar Achyuta (the son of his Commander) and got married. The king did not approve it so they escaped for life. But they lost their life by the order of the king, leaving two sons at the Sri Mandir Math under the Mataji Baidehi, who had direct contact with the Jagannath Temple of Puri.

These two sons were named Chaku and Maku Bhoi. They were brought up under the guidance of the Gajapati King as Rout. At the time of the Afghan invasion, one Afghan Commander who is popularly known as Kalapahad invaded the Gajapati King's environs and dethroned the Deity of Lord Jagannath. Unfortunately, the two brothers were driven away from the royal court and deported. Finally Chaku and Maku came to the path of Maa Ankudeswari, the Goddess of Binayakpur of Basudevpur Block (Taluk). At night Maa appeared before them and said this was the time to save the king of Palia and the God Biranchi Narayan, who was in danger from the Muslim attack. From Palia the brothers marched towards Tihidi to Basudevpur. Chaku started his reign. At last Chaku gained Ankuda and Maku regained Pataspur by the grace of Maa Ankudeswari.

It is said that the legal heir of Chaku Bhoi is Basudev Sudhala Dev Harichandan Bhuian. It is assumed that after his name, this area became known as Basudevpur. Others, however, say the area is named as Basudevpur in the name of God Prashanna Dev. The royal family of Basudev Ray of Khurda had been to this area, and under his leadership he merged Veda and Ankuda, and ruled, and from that is derived the name Basudevpur.

Basudev Harichandan is said to have defeated 14 Mahalas (Subas) and became the unchallenged leader of Veda and Ankuda. And because he was a leader of superb quality, he opened Mallaha Sahi, Akhada Badi where Bir Hanuman was worshipped. The exact date can't be traced because of non-availability of records. It may be pointed out that in between 1500-1600 A.D. a new rule started in this Zamindari. His immediate successor was Choudhury Kunjaban Rai Chandan.

There are several legends regarding the Deity, Prashanna Dev. The first one is that there was a Kusuma Pokhari in the village of Artung, 7 to 8 km away from Basudevpur towards the north and close to the Bay of Bengal. During the reign of Choudhury Bidhu Bhusan some cow watchers saw that a stone is in the Pokhari. They used to play with that stone. But the Zamindar (Ruler) of Kaida (Mangaraj) dreamt about that stone, who was no other than "God Baladev". Next day he visited that Pokhari and realized his dream. But he couldn't bring the stone, because it was under the Ankuda Zamindari (rule).

News reached Basudevpur and the ruler (Zamindar), who with his followers approached the Pokhari and saw the truth. After a thorough discussion an amicable settlement was made. Basudevpur Zamindar allowed the stone to be moved to the Mangaraj with some rewards, and it was worshipped as God Baladev at Gud.

It is also said that the Zamindar of Basudevpur left with much grief and sorrow to his palace. But in the night God Jagannath appeared before him and directed him to go and dry the pond. Miraculously there were two stones laying buried in the mud of that pond. Before the sunrise he again marched with pomp and pleasure and found two stones. One is called Jagannath and another is called Subhadra, who is being worshipped now at Padhuan as "Kanak Durga". The Zamindar was highly delighted by the grace of the Lord, thus naming the Deity "Prashanna Dev".

Lord Prashannadev Temple

Temple Structure

Built on a high plinth, the temple of Prashanna Dev conforms to the feature of old architecture comprising the Ratna Bedi, Jagamohan, Natamandira and Snana Mandap. The temple represents the Rekha type of temple. The height of the main temple is 40' 6", length 18'6", and breadth 17'4". Left of the Singhdwara there is a Snana Mandap which is 13'3" length and 10'2" breadth and the height of it is 3'7". The very striking thing is that the Ratna Mandap is 6/5 feet in length and breadth and height 3 feet.

Another temple called Mukhasala was there but presently it is ruined. To the left of the temple Sri Ram and right of the temple Sri Krishna are worshipped as well. A striking monument with marked elegance in front of the Singhdwara is the Garuda Stamba and Aruna Pillar, which was added to the temple later on.

The rituals in the temple take place thrice a day. Puja starts at 6 a.m. with cheese as bhoga, in the noon Avada, and in the night Balya Bhoga (Khai and Ukhuda). Whatever festivals we observe in the Srikshetra are also observed here, except Chandan Yatra. Ratha Yatra is observed with much pomp and pleasure under the religious patronage of the Choudhury family.

The Rath of Prashanna Dev initially was of 16 wheels, but now it is reduced to 4 wheels only. The representative of Prashanna Dev is called "Dola Gobinda". Bigrah Prashanna Dev is purely made of stone, not of wood. Had it been made of wood there would have been "Navakalebara". So it indicates it is made of granite. Since 1700 A.D., Lord Jagannath has been worshipped here as Prashanna Dev.

Dr. Pratap Kumar Nayak, Department of History, A.B. College, Basudevpur. Source: Orissa Review


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