WEAVER'S WORLD / JAGANNATHPURI / PLACES TO VISIT -4
Sakshigopal Temple is a medieval temple dedicated to Lord Gopal located in the town of Sakshigopal on the Puri Bhubaneshwar highway in Odisha. The temple is built in the Kalinga style of temple architecture. It is said that a poor young man of the village, later named as Sakhigopal, fell in love with the daughter of the village headman. However, being of a higher economical status, the headman opposed marriage between this young man and his daughter. The villagers, including the headman and the young man, went on a pilgrimage to Kashi. The village headman fell ill and was abandoned by his fellow villagers. The young man tended to him so well that he soon got well and, in gratitude, promised his daughter in marriage to the young man. As soon as they returned to the village, the headman went back on his promise, asking the young man to produce a witness in support of his claim. Lord Gopal, impressed by the young man's devotion, agreed to come and bear witness to the promise on one condition: that the young man lead the way and he would follow, but the young man must never look back. He led the way to the village, passing a mound of sand. As they passed, the man could not hear the Lord's footsteps and turned back. Immediately the Lord turned into a statue of stone rooted to the spot. The villagers were still so impressed that God himself came to back the young man's claim that the youngsters were married off; later appointed as the first priests of the temple built in Lord Gopal's honor who came to bear witness (known in Sanskrit as Sakshi).
Sakshi Gopal is around 20 Km from Puri on the Bhuwaneswar - Puri route. As per mythology the Sri Jagannath Temple Puri visit can't be said to be completed without visiting Sakshi Gopal. The temple is extremely beautiful and grand with very ancient architecture.
It is the Shiva temple near the Jagannath temple and regarded as the main temple of Shiva. There is a pond where one can feed not only fishes but turtles also. The Linga of the Lord Shiva is situated in the bottom of temple where it is surrounded by flowers. Actually the Linga is very deep inside the ground and up above there is a Linga too. On Panka Ujala Dashmi all the flowers are taken out so that devotees can see the actual Shiva Ling. It has a history attached to it.
Mythology depicts that lord Rama did a Shiv-puja while on his way to Lanka, here. Upon not finding an equi-shaped object like the 'Shivalinga', he worshiped a water-melon considering it as a Shivalingam.
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