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Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Jagannath Temple at Trousset Encyclopedia

Here is an entry about the Jagannath Temple as found in the Trousset encyclopedia (piblished in Paris 1886-1891 ed.)

http://www.oldbookillustrations.com/references-documents/2007/07/17/jagannath/


The entry as with most of the Western World's chronicle of India and its religion, culture and temples has some glaring errors. Balabhadra has been referred to as Shiva. The abode of Jagannath has been given the description of the Jagannath Rath. Jagannath and Krishna have been mentioned synonymously. However, I would still say it is quite a faithful representation by a culture of a culture aeons of civilizations away. At least it doesn't mention the local people as "aborigines" as in somewhere else (I think, it was wikipedia) I found mentioned!

The last line of the entry says "The English took possession of the city in 1803." I somehow cannot imagine the English at my ancestral city of Puri. I guess it is a tribute to the insularity and strength of the culture that there remains no trace of any British influence whatsoever at Puri. But again why should the British go to Puri - except perhaps to collect the taxes? I am glad Puri didnt become a "Brighton":-)

Some interesting facts

Jagannath Temple Puri - completed sometime during 1100s; height - 214 odd ft - when concrete had not been heard of, Industrial Revolution would have been limited to sea side sand castles and intricate metal frames made from machinery were... six centuries away
Eiffel tower Paris -  an acknowledged marvel of our times - built in 1889; a height of 1063 ft and an intricate iron lattice construction.

So how could we be so much ahead of our times some 1000 years back and so much behind everything now (- the tallest contemporary building we boast of being the 9 storeyed Secretariat in Bhubaneswar)?

(Image Source - http://www.oldbookillustrations.com/references-documents/2007/07/17/jagannath/)

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