Puri Srimandir Ratna Bhandar will open during Ratha Jatra this year: Minister

Bhubaneswar: The Ratna Bhandar (treasure house) of the Jagannath Temple in Puri will open for repair work during Ratha Jatra this year, Odisha Law Minister Jagannath Saraka informed the House here today.

Replying to a question asked by Congress MLA Dasarathi Gamango during the last session of the 16th Assembly, the Minister ruled out the claim that the State Government has been delaying the opening of Ratna Bhandar at Puri Jagannath Temple despite a High Court order.

“As both inner and outer Ratna Bhandar is located adjacent to Srimandir Jagmohan, if the ASI survey carries out repair work of the inner portion of Ratna Bhandar by entering into the structure, darshan of deities will be largely disrupted,” Saraka told the House.

The matter had been discussed precisely at the Srimandir Managing Committee meeting held on August 4, 2023. The panel members opined to inspect the inner condition of the Ratna Bhandar by conducting laser scanning outside the Ratna Bhandar.

After laser scanning, the repair work can be conducted during Ratha Jatra this year, he said.

Worth mentioning, multiple PILs were filed at the Orissa High Court in the past seeking a direction to the State Government to take steps for opening of Ratna Bhandar.

In September last year, the High Court directed the government to constitute a high-level committee to supervise the preparation of inventory of the Ratna Bhandar.

Earlier, the Managing Committee of the Jagannath Temple had decided to recommend the state government to open the inner Ratna Bhandar of the temple during annual Ratha Jatra in 2024. The panel recommended to allow the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) to carry out the structural inspection of the inner Ratna Bhandar. However, no decision had been made regarding inventory of precious jewelries stored inside it.

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