Puri Sagas: The Mythology Of Gundicha Temple’s ‘Sarada Bali’

Puri:  Thousands of pilgrims flock to’Sarada Bali’the place where the the chariots of Lord Jagannath, Lord Balbhadra and Goddess Subhadra are parked  in front of the Gundicha temple,to catch a glimpse of the Holy Trinity. But very few know about the mythology and tales associated with the place. There are several tales and theories regarding the origin of the place.

1: Thousands of years ago, there flowed a river between bada deula (main temple) and Gundicha temple called Malini, a tributary of the Bhargavi.

During Rath Yatra, six chariots were built, three for each side of the rivulet. 

On the Rath Yatra day, the magnificient chariots rode till the river side. Then they were carried to the other side through a makeshift bridge and mounted on the other set of chariots.

During the time of Puri Gajapati Narasingh Dev, queen Saradha Devi dreamt of Lord Jagannath ordering her to have a single yatra without any break. So, the mouth of the river Malini was closed and the river was filled with sand to make the Rath Yatra smoother. The closed mouth is now referred to as Banki Muhana and the place is called as Sarada Bali.

2: Another version is that there used to be seven chariots, four on the side of the main temple and three on the other side. The extra chariot was used to carry the musicians of the Lord till the river. During the time of Gajapati Ramchandra Dev, the then king of Puri, the river was filled with sand just to make the process easier. 

At that time, the Trinity’s yatra used to last for a few days between both the temples. 

3: A mythical river named Sarada river flowed in between  river once existed between Jagannath and Gundicha temples in Puri town. It divided the town in to two parts as written in various ancient and historical texts. The riverbed is also referred to in various poems of the 16th–18th century CE poets that mention the sacredness of the sand (Saradha means sacred, and Bali means sand) of the river bed in the vicinity of the Gundicha Temple. This continues to be a sacred place of pilgrimage in Puri.Over the years, the river got extinct. Few years agao, scientists from the IIT Kharagpur had claimed to have found the remnant of the lost mythical river ‘Saradha’ in Odisha’s Puri district.


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