Jagannatha & the Gajapati Kings of Orissa

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Lord Jagannatha of Puri, one of the most famous Hindu deities, was the rashtradevata of Orissa in the medieval period and became a symbol of Oriya identity in modern times. The erstwhile imperial Gajapati Kings of Orissa and their successors, the Khurda Rajas, enjoyed special privileges in the cult as adyasevaka or ‘first servant’ of Jagannatha and even controlled it to a certain extent. The present work consists of a comprehensive palm-leaf manuscript combining several originally separate Oriya texts of the fifteenth/sixteenth to eighteenth centuries, compiled by the Duela Karanas, the temple scribes of Puri, in the late eighteenth or the early nineteenth century. They provide first hand and most authoritative information on land endowments to religious shrines throughout the medieval Orrisan period, on rituals and duties or priests and temple servitors and, most important, on legendary and various historical and cultural events during the reign of the Gajapatis. The present compendium is a unique source for the study of the cult of Jagannatha and the culture and history of pre-colinial Orissa. Coming to light for the first time, it may be regarded as the most important study of its genre after the publication of Puri’s temple chronicle, the Madala Panji, by A B Mohanty in 1940.

 

 

Madala Panji Gajapati Kings of Orissa Gajapatis


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