The people who perform the ritual services at the Jagannath temple are called the sevayats or servitors. These sevayats acquire their position hereditarily. Records of 13th century A.D. and of the British period suggest that there were 36 categories of sevayats. Within the last two centuries the number of categories have been increased from 36 to 250.
The first sevayat of Lord Jagannath is Gajapati, the king of Puri. He as a sevayat is expected to perform certain duties and rituals 0n certain occasions. The major ritual is that he sweeps the three chariots of the lord with a golden broomstick.
Earlier the head of the sevayats used to be the Rajaguru. Today Patjoshi Mohapatra is the head of all Servitors. He is entrusted with the functions of managing the pariccha. 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 shabara chieftain Biswabasu, who was worshiping Jagannath before the Lord came to this temple and hence the Daitas are considered as close relatives of Jagannath.
Nearly 75 such sevayats perform their functions daily and without any salary. They are only entitled to get a portion of the total bhoga or offerings. This portion is known as ‘Khei'. A few sevayats also get cash rewards from the management. On special occasions like Rath Yatra, all the sevayats are given cash rewards.
Today, there are 119 categories of sevayats at the temple according to the Record of Rights of the temple. These categories are:
1.Gajapati Maharaja 2. Parichha or Raj Guru 3. Chhatisha Nijog Nayak (the head of the Servitors) - Pattajoshi Mohapatra 4. Bhitarchha Mohapatra 5. Talichha 6.Mudrahasta or Mudirasta 7. Deula Purohit 8. Puja Panda 9. Badapanda 10. Pushpalaka 11. Mahajana 12. Mudra 13. Khuntia 14. Bhandara Mekapa 15. Palia Mekapa 16. Akhanda Mekapa 17. Changada Mekapa 18. Khataseja Mekapa 19. Pratichari 20., Daita 21. Pati Mahapatra. 22. Patribadu 23. Garabadu 24. Suarabadu 25. Khurinayak 26. Mukhapauhala 27. Ghatuari 28. Gochhikara 29. Suna Goswami 30. Muduli 31. Alatibalita Sevaka 32. Puranapanda 33. Duttamahapatra 34. Lugadhua and Pani Kunda Sevak 35. Ballava Jojania 36. Bimanabadu 37. Anasara Sudasuara and Suda Suara 38. Hadapanayak 39. Bidia Jogania 40. Khatuli Sevak 41. Astana Pratihari 42. Kothabhog Jogania 43. Pradhani 44. Paila 45. Lenka 46. Suaranijoga Nayak 47. Suaranijoga and Mahaswara 48. Jagia Mahasuara 49. Badu Suara, thali, tuna and Amalu Suara 50. Pantibadu 51. Amalutola, Purakharadi 52. Tolabadu 53. Rosha Paika 54. Baharadeuli Suara 55. Baharadeuli Jogania 56. Rosha Dhopakhalia, Angarua, Gobarapania and Rabadia 57. Handi Jogania 58. Birimunda Samartha 59. Kothabhoga Pania 60. Panikipata 61. Nikapa and Gandhana Nikapa 62. Biribuha 63. Daudibala 64. Churana 65. Sabat Nijog 66. Pania - pata 67. Mandani 68. Chakaapasara 69. Mulia Suansia 70. Binakara 71. Darpania 71. Kothasuansia 73. Mahabhoi 74. Gita Govinda 75. Bhitara Gaini 76. Sanpradanijog 77. Dayanamali 78. Madei 79. Prasad badu, Badu Mohapatra 80. Tatua 81. Patara bandha 82. Vijayanti 83. Chhatara nijog 84. Kahalia 85. Sankhua 86. Parbajatra Jogania 87. Chitrakara 88. Rupakara 89. Bania 90. Tamara Bisoyi 91. Karotia 92. Bentabindha Paika 93. Patara Bisoyi 94. Kala Bethia 95. Daraji 96. Kumbhara Bisoyi 97. Rathabhoi 98. Malachula 99. banua 100. Chakra dihudi 101. Ojha Maharana 102. Ghanta Seva 103. Gantua 104. Ratha Dahuka 105. Badhei 106. Baidya 107. Amunia Chhatara 108. Chhamu dihudi 109. Chapa Behera 110. Chapa dalai 111. Mapa Saita Karana 112. Tadhau Karana 113. Deula Karna 114. Baithi Karan 115. Kotha Karana 116. Charcha Karana 117. Daina Pattra 118. Chaula Bachha Karana 119. Matha and Byaktigata Seva.