Lord Jaganath story: King Indradyumna’s Ashwamedha Yagna and Construction of First Sri Jagannath Temple

Lord Jaganath story: King Indradyumna’s Ashwamedha Yagna and Construction of First Sri Jagannath Temple

King Indradyumna of Avanti had travelled to Purusottama Kshetra with a hope to have a vision of Lord Purusottama (Vishnu). When he arrived there and experienced the sacredness of the place he decided to reside there for the rest of his life worshiping the Lord. He also decided to have a temple built there for the Lord.

Once the king took the decision to start the construction work, he sent for expert astrologers to do ‘the land treatment’ [to make the land ritually pure and fit for the construction of such a temple]. People well versed in the vedas, ministers, wise Brahmins and the experts in the field of Vastu also joined this activity. Soon the religious rituals were duly performed. Then the king Indradyumna sent for the kings of Utkal, Koshal and Kalinga. He urged upon them to go to Vindhya Mountain to have beautiful stones collected for the construction work. He also told them to take with them some people skilled in cutting stones from the mountain.

Then he ordered his men to send messages to all the kings of the world to come to Purusottama Kshetra with their armies, courtiers and priests as soon as possible. The order was immediately carried out and lots of kings those who were ruling over far and nearby places, hilly areas and plains, islands and plateaus flocked to the place with their armies, priests and lots of wealth.

The king Indradyumna was pleased to see them gathered at Purusottama Kshetra. “I have decided” said the king politely to the congregation, “to perform in this sacred place an Ashwamedha Yagna and thereafter have a temple built here too. I need your kind cooperation in this regard”. The kings were glad to assist the king in his effort.  They donated lot of things which would be needed during the Yagna and the building of the temple. Some of the things were money, gold, precious stones, pearls, blankets, deer skin, beautiful mattresses, diamonds, elephants, horses, and several kinds of eatables.

The king was glad to see the collection for the task ahead. When he became sure that the wise men of different kinds such as sages, renunciates, penitents etc had gathered and the ingredients to be used during the Yagna were ready, he asked his priest to look out for a suitable spot for the Yagna. The priest first sent Brahmins to find a suitable place for the Yagna and then he himself left for the place with some architects. Soon they found a village where the fishermen lived and had a Yagna Shala built there. Hundreds of palatial rooms were also built around the Yagna Shala. The entire platform where the Yagna was to be performed was decorated with precious stones. The doors to the rooms were really big. The king took great care about the logistics of accommodating the invited royalties. They were offered rice, different kinds of cuisines, sugarcane juice and milk. The most dignified and wise Brahmins got the warm welcome they deserved.

In the meanwhile the king got the message that the construction of platform for the Yagna was complete. The king was thrilled to hear the news of it. He started with offering meals to Brahmins. Every day when around 1 lakh (one hundred thousand) Brahmins finished eating their meals, trumpets blared like thunder. Thousands of people had gathered and they were from different parts of India. There were rivers of ghee, milk and curd and they were given to the people present there. The king also donated millions of bulls and cows with gold capped horns and brass milk cans to Brahmins well versed in the Vedas. They also received precious stones, mattresses of deer fur, expensive clothes and even diamonds. No one starved, no one got less, and no one was dissatisfied. Even gods above were surprised to see the initial success of the Yagna.

And then the king asked his sons to find a most befitting horse for the Yagna and take it around the country. He announced that the Yagna was going to continue until God appeared.

And finally all his effort bore fruit. After the successful completion of the Yagna he was blessed to have a vision of the Lord. Soon after that he concentrated on having a most beautiful temple built for the Lord and in due course Sri Jagannath temple came into being.

Brahma Purana