Inside Jagannath Temple complex of Puri, odisha existential presence of twenty two steps colloquially known as ‘Baaishi Pahaach’ made of stone are renowned world wide among believers of Hinduism as the holy steps before reaching to sanctum sanctorium of Lord Jagannath inside of main temple. There has been four gates all around the main temple complex and the principal is being known as Lion’s gate which is colloquially known as Singhadwara. It is located at the eastern side of the temple, and in the front of it there exists the presence of Aruna Sthambha or large pillar which is considered as holy among devotees. The passage from Lion’s gate towards the beginning of twenty two steps is known as ‘Gumuta’ which is a small enclosure and in between on the right corner side of it there exists the ‘Patitapaban’ where people can look for his presence from the outside in order to see the Lord even from outside.
Such is the greatest importance of Temple of Lord Jaganntha that with the existence of each and every constructions there exists many such religious importance which always provides more and holiest form of traditions for devotees to follow. The alternative name of Jagannath Temple is known as Neela Saila or Blue Hill. It believes that the entire temple architecture is constructed upon a hill and that is known as Blue Hill. The sanctum sanctorium of main temple exists on it and it is the highest place of the temple where three Lords stay on it. In order to reach towards the abode of Lord Jagannath which is inside of sanctum sanctorium one need to reach out from the grand road and then entering Lion’s gate and then Gumuta the small enclosure between Lion’s gate and twenty two steps.
There is much scientific, religious and historical point of view where we can learn the significance of twenty two steps in order to understand its holiest form of existence so as to represent the right form of understandings of its presence. Many believers and scholars understand the significance of twenty two steps and they continue to provide awesome illustrations of equitable instances of similarity of presence of planets and universe. Lord Jagannath is at the center of it as most of the believers of Hindu religions have existences of thirty crores of God and Goddesses. These Gods and Goddesses remain at different planets and stay at separate planets. Lord Jagannath who is also Lord Bishnu stays at the top of all Gods and Goddesses. That is the reason why in order to attain salvation for devotees they should visit all twenty two steps so as to reach to all Gods and Goddesses before reaching out to Lord Jagannath.
Then, the form and factor of salvation or Mokhsa come upon to reach to Baikuntha which is the abode of Lakshmee and Narayana. It is the top most desire of all Hindus and when they arrive at these twenty two steps they slowly move towards the tendencies for complete salvation. This is set at one school of thought which relates science with religion. There is another school of thought which concentrates deeply upon the thinking parameters of humans such as there are twenty two types of weaknesses of human characters. Those weaknesses make them weaker and in order to become stronger one need to understand that one need to control and manage such the state of weaknesses. After controlling all such tendencies of weaknesses of humans find himself nearer to Lord. This is another means to reach towards determining the aspects of salvation. After moving through all these twenty two steps humans able to crush all their weaknesses, and crush those defects in fullest form and then empowers himself to reach towards nearer to Lord Jagannath.
On the straight one can find twenty two steps on one go and then has to move towards the right to reach towards other two steps which leads to Ananda Bazar where one can find the presence of cooked food (Maha Prasad) of Lord Jagannath, Lord Bathakura and Devi Subhadra. Lengths of twenty two steps are not similar. The first twenty steps are of forty feet in length and five feet to ten feet in breadth. These steps are being constructed from the indigenous Odisha stones of the variety known as Baulamala. The height of each step is six to seven inches long. Eighteenth step is of the highest in term of height which is fifteen feet in length. First twenty steps are of rectangular in design and the other two steps that leads to Ananda Bazaar are of semi circular design. After walking into the third step and reaching to it south side one can find the presence of miniature form of Kashi Biswanath temple.
Climate of Puri for several months in the year prove to be hostile for devotees and they find the best place to take a rest on these twenty two steps in order to take rest for some time. There are some devotees who tend to roll over in these steps which are the compounded belief that it should remove all the traces of diseases from them and that makes entire believing part of the most desirable. Rolling in these steps not only the signs of gratitude towards their favorable Lord Jagannath and for this it is important to understand that these processes of understanding these forms of devotional presence lead to maximisation of believes in its purest form. The tenth step of twenty two step has many spiritual significances attached with it. People present the offerings to their forefathers and it is believed when these are offered on the tenth step they should receive those offerings from their kids who are alive. A specific place is recognised as the tenth steps where it is believed that when these are offered, on this place when their forefather should receive from them.
With due course of time, there has been many changes to the construction in and around these twenty two steps. For some years, we have seen the presence of the temple police station which is known as Jagannath temple police and it is nearer to nineteenth and twentieth steps of twenty two steps. People have a deep belief in the presence of twenty two steps where every form of holy development of attitude and development of good lives comes upon and forward with the strongest possible parameters where we could find these present in with strongest beliefs. These are signs and epitomes of unmatched virtues of the universe from the religious and emotional point of view. All these presents and show case the purest form of gratitude towards understanding the process of devotional excellence that could provide the single most effect of strongest possible bond of reaching towards complete excellence, the path of salvation towards moving into these twenty two steps where we do find the removal of all such weaknesses of humans and embodiment of strongest possible closure towards reaching abode of Lakshmee Narayan. Jay Jagannatha.