Cult of Jagannatha

Contents
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 a mystery to mankind’s knowledge. The origins of the Jagannath cult are obscure. The veil of darkness that has engulfed this cult has remained in place until today. However, God Jagannath has been accepted as the Oriya people’s representative, an embodiment of love, the driving force behind this land’s cultural heritage, a synthesis of all Hinduism’s faiths, and finally, as the God of the universe.

Jagannath’s cult embodies universal brotherhood by fusing Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, and indigenous tribal religious practises. According to noted religious and social commentators, the temple’s presiding deities, Jagannath, his elder brother Balabhadra, and younger sister Subhadra, are depicted in black, white, and yellow. They represent the three major races of humanity. The Jagannath cult demonstrates a special concern and compassion for society’s poorest and most unfortunate members.

This spirit of universal love has attracted even Muslim devotees such as Salabega, whose songs in praise of Lord Jagannath are popular among all Oriyas and devotees worldwide who fervently celebrate Lord Jagannath’s Car Festival or Rath Yatra.

The Jagannath cult is a synthesis of numerous religious cults, including tribal religion, Brahmanical religion, Buddhism, Saivism, Shaktism, Tantrism, and Vaishnavism. In due course, the prevalent religious trends in Odisha were assimilated into the Cult of God Jagannath. With the passage of time, all religious sects became entwined in the cult of Jagannath. Each Hindu Pantheon recognised Him as its god or goddess. Even today, followers of various religious sects in India honour and worship Jagannath, the ‘Lord of the Universe.’


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