odisha tours

Culture & People

Jagannath Culture

Load Jagannath The origin of Jagannath Cult has been traced back to the time of the Veda. The images of Lord Jagannath, Balabhadra and Subhadra of the Jagannatha Temple at Puri are made of Daru (Neem Wood) which is specially chosen with its symbols and characteristics. Therefore, Lord Jagannatha is called "Daru-Devata", the deity made of wood. In the Rgveda, we find the mention of Daru floating in the ocean.Prayers are chanted here for taking shelter in the Daru. The deities of Jagannatha temple of Puri are worshipped with Gayatri Mantra which has its Vedic origin. Lord Jagannath is worshipped according to Dasaksari (ten syllabled) and Astadasaksari (eighteen syllabled) mantras. Balabhadra is worshipped as Vasudeva (the son of Vasudeva) with the twelve-syllabic Vasudeva Mantra. He is worshipped with the hymns of Purusa Sukta since he is treated as Virata. In the worship of goddess Subhadra, Sri and Devi Suktas of the Veda are used. Subhadra is worshipped with monosyllabic,(Ekaksara).

Mantra "Hrim" Every year the Car Festival of Lord Jagannath is held at Puri and other places in India and abroad. The origin of the Ratha (Chariot) has been traced back to the Vedas.

The Rgveda mentions the three storyed Rathas drawn by horses. These Rathas, according to Rgveda were moving in the air. As described in the Atharvaveda, the divinities were chariots. The observance of the Car Festival of Lord Jagannath dates back to the period of the Puranas.Vivid descriptions of this festival are found in Brahma Purana, Padma Purana and Skanda Purana. Kapila Samhita also refers to Ratha Yatra. According to Satapatha Brahmana, Ratha has been originated from one of the broken part of the weapon flung by Indra on the body of the demon Brtrasura during the fight between the two. From the above considerations, it seems that there exist so many links between Veda and Jagarnnath Cult. To know more about more and to meet this unique cult please visit us at our Orissa tours.

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Mahima Cult

Load JagannathMahima Dharma is a religion founded by one Mukunda Das alias Mahima Swami who hailed from Baudh ex-state and belonged to a Brahmin family. At first he was in charge of Balasingha Math of Baudh. He attained siddhi at Kapilas hill in 1862 A.D., founded Mahima Dharma, from there came to Balasingha and initiated his first disciple, Jagannath Das of Balasingha and renamed him as Govinda Das. The poet prophet of this religion was Bhima Bhoi, whose samadhi at Khaliapali village situated at a distance of around 12 km to the west of Sonepur town has become a place of pilgrimage for the followers of his faith. The Mahimaites touch no prasad or tulsi leaf or medicine. They entertain no casteism or idolatry or belief in spirits. They play no games, move with no sanyasini, sit under no canopy, domesticate no birds or animals. They do not accept alms from astrologers, prostitutes, barbers, Brahmins, Kshatriyas (Rajas) and Chandals.


Like the Vaishnavas, they wear no sacred threads, no tilak or mark of Vishnavism, no garland of beaded tulsi. They take no dinner, touch no food which is too salty or too sweet or too bitter. They perform sarana and darsana, beg food only once from a family, stay only a day in a village.They practise truth, non-violence and believe in immortality and rebirth. Born in an atmosphere of suppression and distrust, Mahimaism opposed the spread of Christianity and Vaishnavism. It resembles Christianity in its belief in one God and one caste and also in bridal and funeral ceremonies. But unlike Christianity its God is Alekh.Like Vaishnavism, it is based on faith, but it runs to philosophic abstraction.

The Mahima Dharma :Is the unique contribution of Dhenkanal in ORISSA to the spirituality of India.Joranda is the center of the Mahima dharma.Mahimadharma originated in such a manner in which there was no critical ristuals of the Brahmanism .It also does not believe in caste & creed.It believes that the "Alekh" the inscribable absolute is the only creater of the Universe.

Load Jagannath The teachings was simple and understandable by the rural people.The Mahima sanyasis stayed one night at each village and took one handful of rice from each house.Bhimabhoi became the spokesman and exponent of the philosophy.His Stuti Chitamani and innumerable Mahima bhajans popularized the cult.Gradually the cult spread in different parts of Orissa & the Country.The Mahima sanyasis were divided into sects as the "kumbhipatias" or the Balkala dharis and the kanapatias or the kaupinadharis.Now at Joranda the Kumbhapatias observe Prabhupurnima and the Kanapatias observe Gurupurnima in Magha sukla chturdasi and purnami which is other wise known as Joranda mela.

Now Joranda is the center of attraction for all the believers of the dharma where Gadimandir, Shunya mandir,Dhuni mandit and the rest houses for thousends of devotees situated.Now at Kadua Tapobana another Mahima temple is constructed.

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Tribal Cult

Load JagannathOrissa has one of the largest concentrations of tribal population in the whole country (22.13 per cent according to the 1991 census). In concrete figure they number around 7 million. Tribal communities differ from all others in many respects, their distinctive features being clan organization and territorial exogamy, classes social structure, youth dormitory, colourful rituals and folk art, music and dance. The 62 tribes in Orissa wary in their size, degree of acculturation and economic patterns. While the Kondhs numbering around nine lakh are numerically the largest in the state, the Santals are among the three largest and advanced tribes in the country. The major tribes living in Orissa are the Santab, Oraons, Gonds and Kondhs. Although many of the Adivasi tribes are found in other parts of the country, the Juangs, Gbhuyans, Saoras, Bondas and Bathudis are exclusive to Orissa. The tribal Communities are in various stages of economic and social development starting with the least developed Bondas and ending with the comparatively advanced Santals, the spectrum covering seminomadic to semiurban conditions. While a few tribes like the Lanjia Saoras and Kutia Kodhs are entirely primitive, the Santals have a high degree of acculturation.

The tribal people of Orissa observe a string of festivals. Some are closed affairs, relating to a birth or death within the family or a daughter attaining puberty. Others relate to sowing or harvest time and involve the entire community. Mostly a festival is an occasion for good Mahua liquor; a game roasted on the sprit and a night of song and dance is revelry. But that is not the end, there is an animal sacrifice too, for the deities and sprits must be appeased first, particularly the malevolent ones, so they don't unleash drought or sickness on the land. Tribal people are superstitious. Therefore, 'Ojha' occupies a position of honor since he not only prescribes medicines for the sick but is also believed to exorcise evil sprits.

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