The Black Pillar in front of the Jagganath Temple at Puri. 26 April 1815
Medium: Pen and ink on paper
Pen and ink drawing of the column in front of the Jagganath Temple at Puri, by an anonymous artist, part of the MacKenzie Collection, from an album of 37 drawings (43 folios) of sculpture at Jajpur, Puri, Bezwada and Sitanagar made during a journey from Bengal through Orissa to the Coromandel Coast in 1815.
Puri is one of the cardinal centres of pilgrimage for Hinduism and is particularly revered by the Vaishnavas as the principal centre of the cult of Krishna in his form of Jagannatha, the Lord of the Universe. The Jagannatha temple is one of the largest in India and was founded in the 12th Century by Anantavarman Chodaganga (r.1077-1147), ruler of the Eastern Ganga dynasty. The temple consists of an enclosed inner sanctuary, covered by a spire 57 m tall topped by the flag and wheel, symbols of Vishnu. This is preceded by a mandapa (porch) with a pyramidal roof, surrounded by other mandapas that were added by subsequent rulers. The Rath Yatra (car festival) is the largest annual festival in Puri when the images of Jagannatha, his brother and sister are placed in large chariots (raths) and are paraded about the town. The festival is meant to symbolise the journey of Krishna from Gokul to Mathura. This drawing depicts the Aruna-Stambha, the column standing opposite the elaborate Lion Gate (Singhadwara), the main gate to the east of the temple. The column originally stood at the Sun Temple in Konarak, located nearby.