Jagarnathpur is a village 6 miles south- west of Ranchi. For the tourists and the pilgrim’s Ranchi has a great interest because of the climate, beautiful natural scenery, beauty spots, industrial concerns and temples. Besides railway connections, throughout the district there are excellent roads well-served by good passenger buses.

There is a high rocky hill at Jagarnathpur commanding an extensive view of the surrounding plateau. This hill contains the largest and the most popular temple in the district of Ranchi. This is a temple of Lord Jagarnath and the temple is built on a plan roughly resembling that of the temple of Lord Jagarnath at Puri.
The temple was built in 1691 A.D. by Thakur Aini Shahi, a Khorposdar of the Nagavanshi family, and the Village was granted to Jagarnath as a devottar. The whole of the Ranchi district, before the abolition of the zamindari, comprised of only one Tauzi and the Maharaja, of Chotanagpur was the Zamindar. The Maharaja of Chotanagpur belongs to the Nagavanshi Rajput family.

Hinduism has been there at least from the beginning of the Christian era and the Nagavanshi Chotanagpur Maharajas gave liberal support to the spread of Hinduism in this aboriginal country. It is also a fact that, with the bettering of the economic status, the families who were on the borderline became more Hinduised. The eclecticism of Hinduism attracted the aboriginals. The Hindu festivals, like Durga Puja etc., have always been freely participated in by the aboriginals
The construction of the Jagarnath temple at Jagarnathpur was not an isolated attempt at building a Hindu temple in a land where predominantly the animistic tribes lived. Round about the time the Jagarnath temple at Jagarnathpur was built, another Hindu temple was reared at Chutia, which is now a part of the town of Ranchi. The Chutia temple is a small square enclosure, with four flanking bastions and a well in the centre, which is approached by a gradually descending, covered passage.

There is an inscription on the northern wall of the temple, which shows that the temple was constructed in Samvat 1742 (1685 A.D.) by one Hari Brahmachari, the Guru of the Raja during the reign of Raja Raghunath, the fiftieth in descent from Raja Phanimukut. At Doisa or Doisanagar, another village 40 miles south-west of Ranchi, there axe ruins of ancient palaces of the Rajas of Chotanagpur. Round the ruins of the palaces are numerous temples, one of which contains curious underground chambers.
The temples and buildings are of carved granite. There is an inscription on the temple of Kapilnath, which bears 1767 Samvat or 1710 A.D.

The Nagavanshi Raja family of Chota- nagpur had changed their seats from time to time to various villages, namely, Chutia, Khukrah, Doisa, Palkot, Bharno etc. Their seat is now at Ratu about 6 miles from Ranchi.
As mentioned before, Hinduism has spread even in some of the comparatively inaccessible villages of Ranchi district. At Tilmi, a small village, there is a ruined fortress, once the seat of the Thakurs, a subordinate branch of the Nagavanshi family. At the mouth of a stone well, a Sanskrit inscription has been found which mentions the dedication of the well in 1794 Samvat or 1737 A.D. byone of the Thakurs named Akbar "for the attainment of the four Vargas or be atitudes".

The muslim name of Akbar for a Hindu is not intriguing as the Mundas had a practice of adopting foreign names. This will also show that Akbar was a Munda who had become a Hindu. Two other inscriptions, dated respectively Samvat 1722 (A.D. 1665) and Samvat 1739 (A.D. 1682) and written in hand were found at village Borio about 5 miles north-east of Ranchi. They mention about the construction of a stone temple to mark the founder's devotion to the deity of Madana Mohana. Translations and transcriptions were given in a paper by Shri Rakhal Das Haldar, a member of the Provincial Civil Service, in the Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal in 1871.

There are a few legends regarding the origin of the Jagarnath temple at Jagarnathpur. According to the aboriginals, an Oraon servant of the Thakur of Barka- garh Estate, within which Jagarnath- pur falls, had accompanied the Thakur to Puri. The Oraon servant had become an ardent devotee of Lord Jagarnath at Puri and fasted Continuously for seven days and nights.

After a week's fast he felt hungry at about mid-night and asked for food when everyone was asleep. He muttered a few words that he was hungry and suddenly he saw a man bringing him food and water in gold vessels. Next morning the temple authorities found that the gold vessels, which were the property of the Mandir, were missing from the locked room. The servant came to know of the commotion about the theft and produced the gold vessels which had been left by his side.

Every one understood that Lord Jagarnath Himself had brought food to him in the gold vessels, so pleased, as he was, with the Oraons devotion. Next night the Thakur had a dream that he must construct a temple of Jagarnath and enshrine the images of Jagarnath, Balabhadra and Subhadra at Jagarnathpur. On his return the Thakur did so.

The second legend, which is more current among the non-tribal people, is that the Thakur was a devotee of Lord Jagarnath and used to go to Puri frequently for darshan. He was being harassed by the horse-men of the. Peshwas frequently and he prayed to Lord Jagarnath for help. The enemies were routed and after this the Thakur built the temple at Jagarnathpur. The third legend is that the Thakur had a dream in which Lord Jagarnath Himself directed him to build a temple at Jagarnathpur, which he did.

The Jagarnath temple at Jagarnathpur is built according to the model of the Jagarnath temple at Puri. There is a Mousi Bari (aunt's house) corresponding to the Gundichaghar at Puri.

Every year the annual car festival is held at Jagarnathpur with great pomp and ceremony. The ceremonials follow the customs and ceremonials at Puri. On the Rathayatra day thousands of people congregate and the idols are placed with due ceremonials in the Raths (chariots). Just as the Raja of Puri ceremoniously sweeps the platforms of the chariots, the head of the family of the ex-Raja of Barkagarh sprinkles scented water and sweeps.

After this the excited men, women and children accompanied with loud music of drums and cymbals, draw the chariot. The chariots with the deities of Lord Jagarnath, Balarama and Subhadra are taken to the Mousi Bari (aunt's house) where they remain for a week. After a week, on the Ultaratha day, the chariots are pulled back with the same festivities.

The Rathayatra at Jagarnathpur is the biggest religious and social event connected with any religious creed in the Ranchi district. At the lowest estimate, about thirty thousand people visit the area and take part in the festival in some way or other. The tribals freely join in pulling the ropes of the chariots and worshipping the deities. As a matter of fact, the Rathayatra festival is exercising a very stronginfluence in Hinduising the tribals.

A very large fair is held on both the Rathayatra days at Jagarnathpur and hundreds of shops are opened in which all sorts of commodities are sold. The Chutia temples are relies of the glorious days of the Chotanagpur Raj. It is said that when the temple was constructed there were 21 monasteries, 21 tanks and 21 gardens in Chutia.

This, however, seems to be a tall claim as the area of the village is not so large. Inside the temple is enshrined the idol of Shiva in his linganpura. In the same cells there are images of Devi, Annapurna, Lakshmi, Parvati and Ganesh. The images of Rama, Lakshmana, Sita, Krishna and Radha are enshrined on a big platform some of these images are evidently installed much later. The Chutia Mandir has undergone many changes in its images.

The construction of the Jagarnath temple at Jagarnathpur and the installation of the images of Radha and Krishna at the Chutia temple were followed by the construction of a beautiful Jagarnath temple at Seraikella in Singhbhum district. The latter temple isextremely popular and thousands of people visit it annually for doing puja. The same ceremonies as in Puri or in Ranchi are held at the Jagarnath temple at Seraikella. The temple was constructed and consecrated by the Ruling house of Seraikella.

In this connection it has to be mentioned that the cult of Vaishnavism has had a deep and significant impact on the people of Ranchi district from the days of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, in the 15th century, when that great Vaishnavite apostle of Bengal had traveled through parts of Ranchi district on his way to Puri to offer worship there to Lord Jagarnath.

Sri Chaitanya Charitamrita and a host of other Vaishnava works describe the travels of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu through Jharkhand after crossing the Damodar River near Bankura. Wending his way along portions of the Bundu and Tamar thanas and Ranchi, he passed through Chaibasa and then, following the old Pilgrim road via Keonjhar and Jaipur he eventually reached Puri.

Even today the people of Bundu and Tamar and other parts of Ranchi district refer to the khol, a necessary musical accompaniment for the kirtan as such, reverentially as srikhol. Vaishnavism has such a hold here that there am many families of this area who declare themselves as Vaishnavas by caste. Even many of the tribals are Kanthidharis owing to the direct impact of the cult of Vaishnavism.

Thousands of families of the tribals and various other castes of Hindus in Ranchi district are strictly vegetarian. Some of the tenets of the Tanabhagats, a class of purists among the aboriginals that came into prominence in the 20th century, are based on Vaishnavism. The Tanabhagats do not touch any intoxicant and do not cat meat. They have a high standard of values, of love and truth, and live in bonds of brotherhood with one another. They are very steadfast and rigid in their principles and when they joined the Non-Cooperation Movement they did so with a religious fervor.

Another movement of the Puritans among the tribals, known as the Safa Hor Movement in the later part of the 19th century, could also be directly traced to the influence of Vaishnavism. The Safa Hor Movement wanted the people to live a clean life, abhor intoxication and be strictly vegetarian. The Safa Hor adherents believe in Gurus, respect and cherish fellowship and recognize love, peace and amity as the means to get nearer to God.

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