This study is based on the observations of a number of scholars, who have tried to trace and establish the tribal origin of the cult of Jagannath. According to these scholars, the deity, whom the tribal chief, as per the Nila Madhava-Jagannatha tradition, was worshiping, was not an Aryan deity. It was a tribal deity, which in the course of time was Hinduized and was transformed to be known as Lord Jagannatha. This deity was also known as Nila Madhava as per the said tradition ostensibly as a matter of strategy to cause its smooth transition from a tribal deity to a Hindu deity and to neutralize any future opposition to its legitimization (Geib, 1975; Mishra, 1971; Padhi, 1975;).
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