History of Odisha

A Comprehensive Compendium of History, Culture, Lifestyle and Tourism of Odisha

Cult of Jagannatha

1. Origin and development of the Cult of Jagannath
2. Impact of Jagannath Cult on Odishan society
Special Article:
1. Tribal Origin of the Cult of the Jagannath By Abhimanyu Dash

Lord Jagannath has always remained as mysterious to the knowledge of mankind. The origin of Jagannath cult is shrouded in obscurity. The veil of darkness that pervades over this cult has not been lifted till today. However, God Jagannath has been accepted as the representative of the Oriya people, an embodiment of love, a guiding force behind the cultural heritage of this land, a synthesis of all the Hinduite faiths and finally, as the God of the universe.

The cult of Jagannath embodies universal brotherhood, combining elements of Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and the native religious practices of the tribal people. The presiding deities of the temple, Jagannath, his elder brother Balabhadra and younger sister Subhadra, portrayed in black, white and yellow, represent the three major races of humanity according to noted religious and social commentators. The cult of Jagannath shows special concern and compassion for the lowliest and the most unfortunate in society.

It is this spirit of universal love that has attracted even Muslim devotees such as Salabega whose songs in praise of Lord Jagannath are popular among all Oriyas and devotees all over the world who celebrate the Car Festival or Rath Yatra of Lord Jagannath with ardent passion

Jagannath cult is an amalgam of diverse religious cults like tribal religion, Brahmanical religion, Buddhism, Saivism, Shaktism, Tantricism and Vaishnavism. The prevalent religious trends in Odisha assimilated in the Cult of God Jagannath in due course of time. With the gradual march of time all the religious sects, mingled in the cult of Jagannath. Every Hindu Pantheon saw its god or goddess in Him. Even to-day, Jagannath, the ‘Lord of the Universe’ is honoured and worshipped by the followers of different religious sects in India.

1. Shree Mandir
2. Chhapan Bhog
3. Panchatirtha of Puri
4. Daily Rituals of Lord Jagannatha
5. Different Names of Lord jagannatha
6. Festivals of Lord Jagannath
7. Beshas of the Lord Jagannatha
8. Nava Kalevar
9. Car Festival (Rath Yatra)
10. Chariots of Deities

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