The persons entrusted in the Seva-Puja (ritual services) of the deities in Jagannath Temple
are known as Sevayats or Sevakas (servitors). Most of the servitors enjoy hereditary rights to
perform the ritual services.
In the past in 13th Century A.D. there was provision of "36 Nijogas" or 36 types of sevakas in
the Jagannath Temple. According to the report, Collector of Puri, Mr Grome during British rule in
1805, engaged thirty-six types of servitors.
The Gajapati (The King of Puri) is treated as the first and foremost Servitor of the Temple.
During Car Festival he sweeps the three Cars with a golden broomstick. In addition to this, he
has to perform a number of rituals/duties in different occasion.
The Raj Gurus were entrusted with managing the functions of the Parichha. At present the Temple
is being managed by a Managing Committee and the King of Puri (Gajapati Maharaj) as it's
ex-officio chairman. An Administrator appointed by the State Government of Orissa is looking to
the day-to-day affairs of the Temple. Still then the Parichhas have a few duties of their own to
Patjoshi Mohapatra is the head of all Servitors. He ensures that the Servitors perform
their duties properly and rites of temple are observed regularly.
Bhitara-Chhu Mohapatra looks after the sanctity of the Bhog being offered to the deities and also
to the cleanliness of the temple premises.
Taluchha Mohapatra likewise looks after the cleanliness of the kitchen.
Mudirath performs all works of the King in latter's absence as his representative.
The temple Purohit chants Vedic Mantras and performs Japas.
Pujapandas performs the ritualistic Puja (worship).
Puspalaks dress up the deities, smear sandal wood paste etc.
Khuntias guard the sacred body of the deities.
The Mekaps remain in charge of different store articles.
Pratiharis keep guard over different strategic points.
Suars cook the food offerings.
Karans keep the accounts of all expenditure both cash and materials.
Bhitara Gaini Seva (service) is performed by the Debadasis who sing songs before the deities.
The Daitas perform all duties during Snana Purnima and Ratha Yatra (Car Festival) and plays an important role during
Nabakalebar, the ritual in connection with changing of wooden bodies of the deities. It is said
that they are the decedents of the sabara chieftain Biswabasu, who was worshiping Jagannath
before the Lord came to this temple and hence the Daitas are considered as close relatives of
Though there are near about 120 categories of Sevaka or Servitors, on an average 75
Sevitors perform ritual services everyday. They do not receive monthly salary, they are entitled
to get a portion of Bhoga (offerings) from total Bhog offered by the Temple Administration, which
is known as 'Khei'. In addition to Khei most of the Sevaks are paid daily remuneration in form of
cash reward, according to the scales prescribed by the Managing Committee of the Temple. There is
also provision for special cash rewards over and above the daily cash reward for Car Festival and