Dawn at Puri by Jayanta Mahapatra

In the field of Indian English literature the name of Jayanta Mahapatra is worth mentioning. Today we will analyze his poem "Dawn at Puri"- summary and theme.

Dawn at Puri by Jayanta Mahapatra

Jayanta Mahapatra stands in the front rank of Indian English poets, bestowed with the honour of the Glastein Prize. Most of his poems spring from his personal experiences, using a number of symbols from local history, mythology and Orissian landscape; and our present poem "Dawn at Puri" is no exception to it. Mahapatra's poetic genius is evident in every aspect of the poem. When studied with regard to its portrayal of the theme, it is an excellent composition.

Dawn at Puri portrayal of the theme

As the title suggest, this poem is a narrative of the morning landscape at the Great Jagannath Temple in Puri. Here, Mahapatra presents a realistic and vivid image of the dawn at the temple with all its observed realities, manifested through a number of real and imaginary images.

The poem opens with,
       "Endless crows noises"
The very first line serves to create a typical image of the morning landscape before sunrise. Thus, the poet hears the endless noise of the crows which symbolises the beginning of the hectic day in the temple environment.
Another familiar feature depicted in the morning picture of the poem is the sandy beach. The sunbathed beach of Puri is covered with human skulls. Interestingly, this beach is known as "swargadwara" - a cremation site which is considered to be the gateway to Heaven. Ironically, it suggests the empty country characterized by poverty and hunger.
Then, there are the widowed woman, in white clothes, waiting to enter the Great Temple. They find a customary habitat in the temple, leading a life of passive devotionality and asceticism. 
Through a comparison between these widows to that of a captive in a net, the poet depicts the cruelty inherent in our custom. Thus, the eyes of the widows look like the eyes of those who are made captive, the hanging net symbolises the oppressive social custom.
The poet also describes the time beaten shells on the sandy beach. These leprous shells lean against one another like a mass of crouched faces without names suggestive of the lepers crowding around the temple for solace and salvation. 
Then the faint light of the dawn falls on the smoky blaze of the solitary pyre on the sandy beach. Thus, to sum up, the sandy landscape covers the Great Jagannath Temple and its surrounding environment, including the cremation site known as swargadwara. The poet brings in the image of the smoky, solitary pyre in connection of this cremation site.


Our discussion in the preceding stanza throws much light on Mahapatra's portrayal of the dawn at Puri. Thus, the poem constitute of a series of pictures of the morning landscape before sunrise, which are both accurate and evocative.
Thus the poet has presented a vivid and realistic picture of the dawn at Puri.

For more articles visit us at


Post a Comment

Post a Comment (0)

#buttons=(Accept !) #days=(20)

Our website uses cookies to enhance your experience. Learn More
Accept !
To Top