The Vimala temple resides within the Jagannath Temple complex. The Jagannath Temple is situated in Puri in the state of Odisha. Vimala Temple is famous for the presiding deity, goddess Vimala or locally known as Bimala.
It was built in the 9th century and is one of the many holy Shakti Pithas dedicated to the Hindu Goddess in the country. Built in the Kalinga style of architecture, the temple resonates the divinity of the Goddess in a unique way. The temple is considered more sacred than the main Jagannath Temple by the Shakta and Tantric sect of worshippers. The holy Prasad known as the Mahaprasad is not considered as pious without being offered to Goddess Vimala.
Built of sandstone and laterite the Vimala Temple lies in the south-west corner of the inner enclosure of the Jagannath Temple complex. Goddess Vimala presiding in a small shrine is considered as the guardian of the Jagannath temple. Such is the importance of this temple and the presiding goddess.
Historical Background of the Vimala Temple
The temple is believed to have been built in the 9th century by Eastern Ganga Dynasty. The Mandala Panji states that it was constructed by Yayati Kesari of the Somavashi Dynasty of South Kosala. The temple is built on the remains of an old temple.
According to an author the Jagannath temple was the center for worship of the Trimurtis i.e. Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. Brahma is considered ad the creator, Vishnu the maker and Shiva as the Destroyer of the world. The three Hindu Goddesses namely Saraswati, Lakshmi and Parvati in the form of Vimala were worshipped here. But eventually the Shaiva sect started disappearing and was replaced by the Vaishnava sect. Vaishnavism became more prominent thus the sole tradition.
Vimala Temple Architecture
Like most of the temples in Odisha this temple is also built in the Deula fashion. The Deula style has 4 basic components, the vimana, the Jagamohana, the nata-mandapa and the bhoga-mandapa. The temple faces east and is next to the sacred pond called Rohini Kunda. It is maintained by the Archaeological Survey of India.
The vimana is 60 feet high and stands on a 2 feet platform. The walls of this structure are adorned with floral designs, creepers, love-making couples, scrollwork and Nagas.
The Jagamohana is 35 feet high and is decorated with floral designs and scroll work. The natamandapa is considered to be a later addition to the temple structure and is 22 feet high. This structure has four doors.
The bhogamandapa is 20 feet high and is topped with a small pinnacle. At the entrance of this structure lies a 4 feet Gajasimha or a lion riding over and elephant. This symbolizes the victory of good over evil.
Religious Significance of Vimala Temple
The temple is worshipped by devotees everyday religiously. It is a very important temple in the Shakti sect as it is considered as one of the Shakti Pithas. This also shows the importance of the worship of Shakti in the Odisha region.
Shakti Pithas were created when the different parts of the half-burnt body of Sati fell on different parts of the country. It is said that it fell on 51 sites and these very 51 sites are known as the Shakti Pithas.
In very Shakti Pitha the presiding Goddess is accompanied by her consort i.e. Bhairava or Shiva. But the presiding deity in the Jagannath Temple is Lord Jagannath, a form of Vishnu. This is contrary to the popular notion of Shiva being the Bhairava. This also shows the oneness of the supreme.
Vimala Temple Festivals
The festival of Durga Puja is celebrated with great pomp and show here. It is celebrated in the month of October or the month of Ashin according to the Hindu calendar. The festivals go on for duration of 16 days culminating with Vijayadashami.
A Tourist’s Guide for Vimala Temple
The temple is situated in the holy city of Puri. Finding hotels and other finds of accommodation here is not a big deal. Puri being an already famous Tourist spot is flooded with guest house and hotels. Since, it is in the Jagannath temple complex reaching this temple is also not a very big issue. One can even hire a guide and dwell in the spirituality of the place.
The temple is open on all days of the week from 6am to 9pm. Entry is free and no pets are allowed.
The temple is sober in its own divine way. This temple offers complete peace of mind. One can always take a break from the busy city life and have serenity engulf them within the walls of the Vimala temple.