TempleTanks of Odisha

                                                           M. Amirthalingam 

The temple of Kedar Gouri is dedicated to Lord Shiva and Goddess Gouri. It is situated next to the Mukteshwar Temple. It is believed that a single sip of water from this tank absolves the drinker from the repeated cycles of birth and death. It is also believed that the temple was built by the king Lalatendu Kesari after a tragic episode relating to two lovers, Kedar and Gouri. 

There are two tanks situated in the temple: the Khira kunda and Marichi kunda. The water of Khira kunda is white and extremely hygienic. The water of Marichi kunda is sold on Ashokashtami day by auction and it taken by sterile women who want to conceive.

The Kedar Gouri tank is located inside the premises of the temple of the same name.  It is about 1000 years old and great religious sanctity is associated with it. The water body is lined with stone revetments. The bottom is formed of small boulders.  The water is fairly transparent and the bottom visible. The tank is spring fed.

To the west of the Kedareshwar temple, there is a perennial spring called Dudha kunda meaning “milk tank”. Its water is prized for medicinal properties. The Kedar kunda is located in the temple premises.  According to legend, the tank has heavenly properties and a single sip of water is enough to emancipate the devotee from all future transmigrations.

The Indradyumna sarovar at Puri is considered sacred due to its association with the temple of Lord Krishna. Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is believed to have engaged in water sports (jala krida) with His associates in the tank.   It covers an area of four and a half acres. The tank has a small shrine dedicated to King Indradyumna. It is one of most sacred tanks in Odhisha.  

There is a legend regarding the origin of this tank.  During the period of the Mahabharata, King Indradyumna had undertaken a thousand ashvemedha yajnyas, had built a thousand yupa poles and had donated millions of cows to the needy.   A huge depression was thus created by the movement of cattle and was filled up by water used during the yajna.   Hence, the pond bears the name Indradyumna sarovar.  It is located about 2.7 kilometres from the Puri Jagannath temple and, according to legend, its origins can be traced to the time of the Mahabharatha.

It is believed that those who take a holy dip in this tank are redeemed of their sins.  There is a story behind this belief.  It is said that once King Indradyumna was cursed by the saint Agastya to become an elephant in his next birth.  Agastya also made the condition that he would be relieved of his curse only by Vishnu’s touch.  

Accordingly, Indradyumna took birth as an elephant.  One day the elephant Gajendra went to drink water from a lake at Mount Trikuta. A Gandharva called Huhu, who had been cursed by the sage Devala to become a crocodile, also lived in this lake.  As Gajendra (Indradyumna) step into the lake, the crocodile attacked him.  They fought for a thousand years.  In the end, Gajendra was exhausted and was about to give up the fight.  In desperation, he began to pray to Lord Vishnu. This prayer later became the famous Gajendra stuti. Lord Vishnu heard his prayers and killed Huhu, and thus relieved Indradyumna from the curse. 

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