Sri Jagannath temple’s Ratna Bhandar to open on July 8

Puri, June 19 (UNI) The Bhitar Ratna Bhandar (or inner temple treasury compartment) of Sri Jagannath temple will be opened on July 8, a day after the commencement of annual Rath Yatra of Lord Jagannath, Archaeological Survey of India’s (ASI) Superintending archaeologist Dr DB Garnayak said.

Garnayak, who is in-charge of the Puri Circle, informed the media soon after the temple managing committee meeting was held here on Wednesday.

Sri Jagannath Temple chief administrator Vir Vikram Yadav, however said: “We are waiting for the Justice Arijit Pashayat Commission’s suggestion in this regard”.

The Odisha government had appointed Justice Pashayat to head the committee to open the Bhitar Ratna Bhandar and conduct a fresh inventory of lord’s wealth stored in the treasury.

At the same time the ASI will examine the interior of the Bhitar Ratna Bhandar which was found in a bad shape.

The ASI after examining the outer of the Ratna Bhandar for a long time had been suggesting the state government and the temple administration to open it to facilitate the repair work.

In 2018, after the Orissa High Court directed the temple administration to carry out repairs and open the Bhitar Ratna Bhandar, an attempt was made in 2018 but was unsuccessful as the keys to the treasury were found missing.

The state government in the wake of a hue and cry over the missing keys of Ratna Bhandar, had appointed Justice Raghubir Das, to inquire into the incident.

The commission had submitted its inconclusive report regarding the missing keys which has not yet been made public.

In the meantime the ASI had conducted laser scanning of the walls of the Ratna Bhandar from the outside and found that it is in a bad shape and needs urgent repairs.

The ASI has been entrusted with the conservation and repairs of the 12th century shrine declared as a national monument since 1976.

Justice Pashayat had picked up a 12-member body to open the Bhitar Ratna Bhandar and the committee had two sittings.

It was decided to open the Bhitar Ratna Bhandar during the absence of the deities from the main temple during the annual Rath Yatra.

Justice Pashayat had studied the records of 1978 when the Bhitar Ratna Bhandra was opened for inventory.

The Temple chief administrator said Justice Pashayat is expected to present the committee suggestions soon.

Meanwhile, Jagannath Swain Mahapatra, a senior “daitapati” (responsible person), has suggested that since inventory will take more time all the jewelleries should be shifted to another accommodation inside the temple under tight security till the work is over.

Noted sand artist Sudarshan Patnaik, also a managing committee member of the temple, had suggested earlier that since nine days is inadequate to complete both the inventory and the repairs administration should open it as early as possible.

Among other things, the Managing Committee in its meeting on Wednesday, resolved to approach the state government to place two deputy superintendent of police, four inspectors and six sub-inspectors on deputation to Sri Mandir for pilgrim control, Yadav said.

Efforts are on to get services of some experienced officers and a proposal will be submitted to the government for their placement in the temple.

A panel comprising the local superintendent of police, district collector and the chief administrator will chalk out a process to regulate the pilgrim traffic inside the temple for darshan and submit their proposal in this regard, he said.

Almost all the MC members and officials participated in the meeting.

In the next meeting the annual Rath Yatra time schedule will be discussed and approved, the chief administrator said.

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