Ratna Bhandar of Puri Jagannath Temple to be inspected during Ratha Jatra next year

Puri: Concluding long impasse on opening of Ratna Bhandar of the Jagannath Temple in Puri, authorities decided to send recommendation to the State government allowing ASI for the inspection during Ratha Jatra next year.

ASI had requested the temple administration seeking inspection of Ratna Bhandar of Puri Srimandir during the period of Ratha Jatra when the deities are not present inside the temple. In this regard, Puri Srimandir Managing Committee agreed to recommend the State government to allow ASI for inspection during Ratha Jatra festival in the year 2024. During the period, the darshan arrangement at the temple can continue without interruption, informed Puri Collector Samarth Verma after the Managing Committe meeting here today.

A team of Archeological Survey of India (ASI) can make inspection of inner Ratna Bhandar of the temple during Ratha Jatra-2024. However, the Managing Committee members suggested to form a technical committee in the meantime comprising the members of ASI, servitors, managing committee and senior engineers of temple administration before start of inspection, he said.

This technical committee will first make external assessment of structural condition of Ratna Bhandar by using modern technology like laser scanning or different survey mechanism.

Besides, the Managing Committee has decided to request to the government to constitute a high-level team preferably to be led by a retired justice of the Supreme Court of India or retired justice of Orissa High Court for supervision for opening of inner Ratna Bhandar, he said.

The Managing Committee meeting was held today to discuss three key issues — Banakalagi ritual, opening of all four gates of temple for devotees and ASI’s proposal for opening of Ratna Bhandar.

Even as the Managing Committee members agreed for inspection of Ratna Bhandar by ASI at the temple, they did not approve the proposal for opening of remaining three gates of the temple for devotees.

“As Srimandir Parikrama project is still underway and there is no space in front of south, north and west gates for queue system, the final decision on opening of four gates will be taken after completion of Parikrama project,” the Collector said.

The existing system will continue till further orders. Hence, the devotees will enter into the temple through Singhadwar located at eastern direction of the temple and Puri locals will be allowed into the temple by furnishing their IDs. The north gate will be used for exit purpose, he added.

On deadlock over Banakalagi ritual of deities, he said that the servitors have agreed to conduct the ritual on Wednesday.

“If not possible to conduct the special ritual on Wednesday due to clash with other rituals, the Banakalagi can be held on Thursday,” he said.

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