Hundreds Throng New Jagannath Temple in Orissa

November 9, 2006

Source: India e-News

Hundreds of people, including foreigners and non-Hindus, are thronging a new Jagannath temple built by an American devotee in this coastal Orissa district.

The 35-feet-high temple, identical to the one at Puri, has been built at the district's Kuansh village by Julian Parker, who hails from Los Angeles. He has been living in the village since 1994.

'Many non-Hindus have been visiting the temple in large numbers over the past one week,' said Radha Madhav Sahu, a member of the temple administration.

An estimated Rs.2.6 million was spent on the construction of the temple, out of which Rs.1.2 million came from Parker himself. The rest was contributed by devotees in India and abroad.

Said Parker: 'I decided to build this temple identical to the one at Puri because that temple does not allow entry to foreigners and non-Hindus.

'Thousands of devotees from abroad visit Puri to receive the blessings of Lord Jagannath but are forbidden to enter the temple,' said Parker, who has renamed himself as Jahnava Nitai Das after becoming a devotee of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON).