Feeling of Loneliness Grips Gundicha Temple

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BY: SUN STAFF CORRESPONDENT - 5.7 2017

Conch Blowing 
Gundicha Temple, which has been abuzz with activity since June 25 Rath Yatra, plunged into loneliness as the sibling Deities left towards Their real abode—Jagannath Temple—on Monday. Gundicha Temple, believed to be the birthplace of the Deities, will remain vacant without any Deity till Rath Yatra next year.

"It is perhaps the only temple in the country where the sanctum sanctorum remains vacant for nearly a year. The Deities of Jagannath Temple are worshipped at Gundicha Temple only for seven days during the nine-day car festival every year. After departure of the Deities on Bahuda day, an earthen lamp will remain lit on the Ratna Singhasan (divine podium), where the idols were seated," said servitor Jogendra Dasmohapatra.

During car festival, Gundicha Temple, which often remains empty, transformed into Jagannath Temple. In line with Jagannath Temple's rituals, around 25 types of rituals were performed daily at Gundicha shrine. Pilgrims get Mahaprasad of the Deities here instead of Jagannath Temple.

Though there will be no deity for worship at Gundicha Temple, there is no restriction on the entry of pilgrims into the shrine. In a normal day, only around 200 devotees visit Gundicha Temple and move around the shrine. The temple has been constructed within a garden and is known as God's 'garden home'. Coconut, mango, neem, bael trees and other varieties of plants like Tulasi, rose and jasmine have been planted in the temple. The entire complex of the temple, including the garden is surrounded by a wall of 430 ft. length, 320 ft. breadth with 20 ft. height.

 
Rath Carts set to leave Gundicha 
 

"There are many interesting legends behind the Gundicha Temple. Gundicha, queen of king Indradyumna, was a great devotee of Lord Jagannath. Impressed by her (Gundicha's) deep devotion, Lord Jagannath promised her to come to her house during Ratha Yatra.

On the other hand, despite the absence of the Deities in Jagannath Temple, devotees in large numbers still thronged the shrine after June 25 car festival. "Unlike other days, the inflow of visitors to the Jagannath Temple might have seen a slide, yet many pilgrims continued to visit the temple despite the absence of the Deities," said Laxmidhar Pujapanda, the Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the temple.

 
Panorama – Cars in front of Gundicha 
 

After catching a glimpse of the Deities at Gundicha Temple, pilgrims flocked to Jagannath Temple to worship the sanctum sanctorum and other smaller shrines on its premises.