The Jagannath Temple in Ranchi was built by Thakur Ani Nath Shahdeo, of Barkagarh Jagannathpur principality. Though not much is known as to when the temple’s construction commenced, it was finally completed on 25th December 1691.
Realizing the potentialities of congregational worship in temples, many philanthropists realized the need to enter into the arena of building temples. The Jagannath temple was an outcome of all the sudden zeal that these philanthropists realized, was necessary to retain those who were leaving Hinduism. Thus many started erecting temples dedicated to several gods and goddesses. What is unmistakable is the zeal to motivate the tribals who formed the majority of population in this region and to retain their sense of Hindu identity.
The temple has been built on the top of a hill. And in order to reach the top one can either choose to climb the stairs or take the vehicle route. Climbing may seem exciting but there are too many steps and one might need to rest intermittently before resuming. Many people opt for the vehicle route as it directly leads the people to the top without much difficulty. Realizing that the arduous climb to the top needs refreshment, the management of the temple have made provisions for fresh water and the shade of a huge tree that many tourists generally make use of once they reach the top. The walking or the driving seems worthwhile at the end since tourists who have been there vouch that the view of the city from the top is simply breathtaking.
Though the architectural style of this temple is similar to the main temple of Puri, the temple is a bit smaller in size. And similar to the famous Rath Yatra in Puri, Orissa, the annual fair and Rath Yatra is also held in this temple of Ranchi. The temple akin to the temple in Puri attracts many devotees, thousands of tribals and non-tribals every year. People from the neighbouring villages and towns of Ranchi too visit the temple to attain blessings from Lord Jagannatha, Lord Balabhadra and Goddess Subhadra.
Unfortunately, due to some unforeseen circumstances, the temple collapsed on 6th August 1990. With the active participation of the then State Government of Bihar, and some devoted patrons the reconstruction of the temple started on 8th February 1992 and the temple has regained back its former glory. And devotees and ardent worshippers make a beeline to the temple every year.