Monday, 26 May 2014


Markandeshwartank is situated to the north of the Jagannath Temple. 

This tank is also important as it is connected with a lot of rituals associated with Lord Jagannatha, the most important being Chandan yatra. The temple bears ancient stone inscriptions pertaining to the Ganga Dynasty.

The Narendra sarovar at Puri is one of the most sacred tanks in Orissa. It covers an area of 3.24 hectares and is situated in the picturesque area about 2 kilometre north-east of the famous Puri Jagannath temple. Within this tank is a small temple on an island dedicated to Lord Jagannath, Balarama and Subhadra. During the Chandana yatra, the boat festival is held in the tank. Lord Madanamohana (the representative of Lord Jagannath) goes for a boat ride on a decorated float, locally known as “chapa”. 

This tank is also called the Chandana pushkarani after the famous yatra of the same name.  Many medieval Oriya texts have described this tank.  According to one legend, Narendra Deva, the brother of Gajapati Kapilendra Deva excavated this tank and it was so named after him.   It is said that Veer Narendra Deva, his younger brother sacrificed his life for the sake of his motherland.  After his death, his wife Kalandi Mahadevi took up sanyas and began to live in a garden.  She was a devotee of Lord Shiva and Lord Krishna.  Babaji Govinda Das was her Guru. 

One day the Guru gave a pumpkin seed to the queen.  The growth of the plant was so luxurious that it spread out over a large area.  Hundreds of pumpkins were produced.  These pumpkins were used for preparing the maha prasada at the temple.  The news spread far and wide.  Gajapati Kapilendra Deva heard about it and visited the garden accompanied by his Guru, Mahadev Brahma.  

At that time Babaji Govinda Das was engaged in the worship of Lord Gopinath.  Govinda Das blessed the king and requested him to excavate a tank named after her late husband, Veer Narendra Deva.   He also requested him to name two ghats after Narendra Deva and his queen Kalandi Devi.  The king also constructed fourteen ghats named after the fourteen sons of Narendra Dev.  The Chandana bije ghat (Lamba chakada) was constructed for the purpose of conducting “Chandan bije” of Lord Jagannath.  

This chakada is named after Narendra Deva. He also constructed a temple of Kalandishvara Shiva and Gopinath on the bank of the holy tank.  The Brahma jaga, named after the court poet Narahari Brahma, was also established.  The famous Chandan yatra of Lord Jagannath is being observed with pomp and ceremony since those days. 

There is also a legend that the creation of the Narendra is due to a pumpkin seed.  The story goes as follows:  King Narendra Deva was a great devotee of Lord Jagannath. Once he found a pumpkin seed in the courtyard of his palace.  He gave the seed to his sarbarakara (Revenue Collector) to plant the seed in the name of Lord Jagannath and to offer all the pumpkins thus produced to the Lord.  The sabarakara did as instructed. 

The pumpkin creeper grew to such an extent that it covered an area of fourteen acres.  This creeper produced lakhs of pumpkins.  The sabarakara sold the pumpkins and deposited the money to the king.  King Narendra Deva, in turn, offered the money to the Gajapati king of Puri.  Subsequently, both the kings decided to construct a tank at Shrikshetra out of this fund.  The tank was to cover an area of fourteen acres, the equivalent of the area covered by the pumpkin creeper.  Thus the famous Narendra Tank came into existence (Rath, 2004).

This tank is the biggest one at Shrikshetra, established in the 14th - 15th centuries A.D., during the Ganga period.  Chara Ganesha is worshipped in the nearby temple.  The tank covers an area of 14.533 acres.  There are sixteen ghats of the tank.  Fourteen are named after the fourteen sons of Narendra Deva, one after the queen Kalandi Devi and one after Narendra Deva.  

There are three ghats on the east, three on the north, six on the south and four on the west.  The tank has an island in the centre in which there is a small temple called “Chandana Mandapa”.  During the Chandana yatra, Madanamohana, the moving deity of Lord Jagannath is kept here for twenty one days. 

During the past the tank was a fine sheet of water kept clean by flushing from the Madhupur River (Mitiani River) during the rains through a channel in the western corner.  Now, both the inlet and outlet are completely choked up with the result that the system no longer works.  Hence, now the water has turned filthy.                 

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