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Amendment to the Jagannath Temple Act

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  • Published
    12th Jan, 2022


The Odisha state cabinet recently approved amendments to the Sri Jagannath Temple Act of 1954, simplifying issues pertaining to land owned by the Jagannath Temple.


About Jagannath Temple Act, 1954

  • Jagannath Temple which was earlier known as Juggernaut temple by the colonial rulers. 
  • British Rulers in 1806,issued regulations for management of the Jagannath temple.
    • Under these regulations, pilgrims who visited the temple were expected to pay taxes and the British government was entrusted with appointing senior priests at the temple.
  • Later the powers of management of the temple were passed on to the King of Khurdha while the colonial government continued to retain some control.
  • It was only after India gained Independence that the state of Odisha formally introduced the Jagannath Temple Act in the year 1952, which came into effect in 1954.

Recent amendment 

  • The recent amendment approved by the state cabinet now decentralizes the power to settle land related issues of the temple.
  • The cabinet has delegated power to temple administration and concerned officials for sale and lease of land in name of Jagannath temple.
  • Unlike earlier, no approval will be required from the state government for the process. Through the sale of land, used and unused, the temple will also generate additional corpus funds.
  • Earlier, people who had occupied or were in possession of the temple land for a long period of time had to approach the state government for sale or transfer of the land.

About Jagannath Temple

    • The temple is believed to have been constructed in the 12th century by King Anantavarman Chodaganga Deva of the Eastern Ganga Dynasty.
    • Jagannath Puri temple is called ‘Yamanaka Tirtha’ where, according to the Hindu beliefs, the power of ‘Yama’, the god of death has been nullified in Puri due to the presence of Lord Jagannath.
    • This temple was called the “White Pagoda” and is a part of Char Dham pilgrimages (Badrinath, Dwaraka, Puri, Rameswaram).
    • The temple is a part of Char Dham (Badrinath, Dwaraka, Puri, Rameswaram) pilgrimages that a Hindu is expected to make in one’s lifetime.
    • There are four gates to the temple- Eastern ‘Singhdwara’ which is the main gate with two crouching lions, Southern ‘Ashwadwara’, Western 'VyaghraDwara' and Northern ‘Hastidwara’. There is a carving of each form at each gate.
  • The Nilachakra – Or the Blue wheel perched on top of the temple is made of eight metals or ashtadhatu
  • In front of the entrance stands the Aruna stambha or sun pillar, which was originally at the Sun Temple in Konark.
  • Jagannath Puri Yatra is the most famous Vaishnavite rituals observed in India and abroad.
    • On the occasion, devotees pray to three deities – Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra and Lordess Subhadra.

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