Odisha: Famous Puri Ratha Jatra to vie for UNESCO ‘intangible heritage’ tag

Bhubaneswar: Odia Language Literature & Culture department recently wrote to the Shree Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA) in Puri to constitute an advisory committee for the purpose of filing a nomination to inscribe the world-famous Ratha Jatra on Representative List of ‘Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity’ under UNESCO, an official source said today.

A letter was previously written by the state Culture department to the world body for the coveted tag, last year. However, a detailed nomination will be filed this year and the designated advisory committee will be entrusted the work of preparing the nomination papers, the official source added.

SJTA has held a meeting in this regard and requisite efforts have already been initiated.

Proposed five-member advisory committee will comprise of three persons from the SJTA and two seers from local mutts. However, it has been decided in the SJTA meeting to increase the number of members to seven. The draft nomination would include video clips on rituals usually performed during the sojourn starting from Akshaya Tritiya, Chandan Jatra, Anabasar, Ratha Jatra and Niladri Bije.

The Holy Trinity – Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra and Goddess Subhadra – move out of the 12th Century shrine on their nine-day annual sojourn. A large number of devotees coming from across the world throng the pilgrim town, every year. The ‘car festival’ is being celebrated these days in many countries across the globe, a temple managing committee member Jagannath Kar said.

On average, more than 25 lakh devotees congregate during the car festival every year. The festival has a mass appeal; hence, it must be accorded the ‘intangible heritage’ tag, a preacher of the Jagannath cult Pandit Suryanarayan Ratha Sharma expressed.

It is pertinent to mention here that Kumbha Mela and a few other elements from India have already been inscribed on UNESCO’S list of Intangible Cultural Heritage.

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