Lord Jagannath is so old a mysterious deity. Puranas, refer that the temple of Jagannath was built by Malava king Indradyumna. But this is taken to be a legend. The present temple of Jagannath was constructed by Maharaja Chodaganga Deva of Ganga Dynasty in 1130 A.D. This was completed by his youngest son Maharaja Anangabhima Deva.4
Lord Jagannath is the presiding deity of Puri and a prominent symbol of Hindu Kingdom. The Gajapati King of Puri was recognized as the supreme royal authority, for safeguarding the hoary traditions and long ranging tiruals, year-round festivals with all Pujas, Veshas, Prasads and Mahaprasads. But the king did not claim any supremacy rather he was humble, loyal devoted and committed to the famous traditions and heritage honoured by all sections of Hindu community. The king however, felt himself as the first servant of Lord Jagannath although he is ever regarded as the moving god (Chalanti Vishnu). We have a golden example, that the Gajapati Kings regarded themselves as Sevakas of Lord Jagannath, Gajapati Purusottamadeva started the ritual of cleaning the cars (Cherapahara), which continued so far without any breakage. Even today the grand ceremony of sweeping the cars remains as the most importance royal duty (Rajaniti) and makes the presence of Gajapati Maharaja as indiscipensabe in the car-festival of Puri.
The glory of Lord Jagannath and supremacy of the king are acknowledge by all as part and parcel of every day life from birth of a child to the first day of the new year as per the royal Anka calculation. Although over the years hundreds of kings came into existence in Odisha and India, the Gajapati king was given utmost recognition as the source of strength and inspiration, great cultural and religious sanctity.5
Lord Jagannath holds a unique place not only in the history of Odisha but also in the socio-religious and cultural life of its people. To the millions of the Hindus of Odisha, Jagannath is their only God and on the auspicious occasion of a marriage in the family the householder. Caught in a web of distraction, will never forget first to send a coconut and arecanut smeared with turmeric Paste to Lord Jagannath as a token of invitation. 6
Even today when faiths are given way to cynicism, this custom prevails in Odisha with unflinching tenacity. The socio-religious and cultural activities revolves centre round the beliefs there by moulded on that abiding faith and relationship unconditionally. The day-to-day life of the people, customs and traditions, the ceremonies and festivals are influenced by him. The birth, marriage, engagements, Upanayan, even death of individuals are marked by influences of the celestical blessings, instructions, guidance and approval.
Even roads and buildings are constructed, bridges are installed with some rituals as per the approval of Sri Jagannath.7 Puri is connected with all important places and regions throughout the country with roads, railways and flights.
Due to strong attraction of God people grow in number day by day. Particularly they gather in thousands during festivals and ceremonies.
The festivals observed throughout the year with utmost care and veneration are “ Ratha Yatra” (Car festival), “Bahuda Yatra” “Snana Yatra”, “Anasara Yatra”, “Netroshav Yatra” “Hera Panchami Yatra”, “Kartika Sankranti Yatra”, “Chitalagi”, “Jhulan Yatra”, “Balabhadra Janma” or “Krishna Janma Yatra”, “Nandoshava”, “Saptapuri Amabasya”, “ Rushi Panchami Yatra”, “Baman Janma”, “Ananta Brata Yatra”, “Indra Gobinda Yatra”, “Dasahara”, “Kumar Utshav Yatra”, “ Tula Sankranti”, “ Makar Sankranti”, “Dipabali”, “Kartika Sankranti”, “Prathamastami”, “Odana Sasthi Yatra”, “Bakula amabasya”, “Pousavisheka”, “Basanta Panchami Yatra”, “Sivaratri”, “Chaitra Gundicha Yatra”, “Asokastami”, “Sri Ram Navami”, “Askhatrutiya” and “ Chandan Yatra” etc.8