Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Puri, Jul 30:
Major repair works of the badly damaged Jagamohana (audience hall) of the Shree Jagannath temple, the 12th century shrine in Odisha’s holy town Puri, may take about eight months requiring shifting of the idols of the presiding deities from the ratnasimhasan (bejeweled throne) to a temporary simhasana (pedestal).
The shifting of the idols to a temporary simhasana is likely to be undertaken after the panchuka (a period of austerity lasting five days and ending with Kartika Purnima during which Odias do not take any non vegetarian food) in the holy month of Kartika. Kartika, whichusually is spread over the months of October and November in the English calendar, is considered the most auspicious all 12 months of the year by Hindus.
Important festivals of the Lords like Debasnana Purnima, Anasara Neeti, Nabajoubana Darshan, Rath Yatra etc will be held during the repair work, which could well extend beyond the scheduled eight months.
If the repairs are complete, the deities will move to the ratnasimahasan in the sanctum sanctorum on Niladri Bije next year. Otherwise, they will remain on the temporary pedestal for some more time till the repairs are complete, revealed reliable sources.
Sources confirmed that the Shree Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA) has initiated preliminary discussions with different sevayat nijogs (temple servitor bodies). However, the date and place of the shifting is yet to be decided, they added.
Sources said widening of the crack in the Jagamohana ceiling has turned out to be a major worry for the SJTA; various servitor bodies too are worried over it.
Since the Jagamohana requires major full-fledged repairs, concerns have been expressed in all quarters and calls made for early efforts to control further damage to the structure. The SJTA is learnt to be taking steps/making arrangements for the shifting of the idols first since repair work would not be possible with the deities still on the ratnasimhasana.
Notably, the Jagamohana, situated between the kalahata dwara and the jay bijay dwara of the Shree Jagannath temple, is in a perilous condition requiring full-fledged repairs. Since repair work could hinder the daily rituals of the Lords, the shifting of the deities is essential, opine knowledgeable sources.
Therefore, the temple administration has decided to foster an agreement among servitors and seek the opinion of the experts from the central office of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI).
SJTA chief administrator Suresh Mohapatra Wednesday informed that temporary repair works of the Jagamohana of the temple has been completed and major repairs will be undertaken after an inspection by the Director General of Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) and a high level technical committee.
Multiple cracks have been noticed in the ceiling of the Jagamohana of the 12th century shrine. Two stone blocks have got dislodged from their position in the ceiling of the Jagamohana. The entire ceiling of the Jagamohana needs immediate and full-fledged repair, said experts.
The SJTA has sought immediate intervention of the ASI for conservation of the temple in Puri.
In a letter to DG of the ASI Rakesh Tewari on July 24, the SJTA chief administrator said fissures have developed in the ceiling stone lintel and slabs inside the Shree Jagannath temple.
In his letter, Mohapatra had said: “Some temporary arrangements have been made to support the beams resting on the cracked stone column on the North-West side. However, long-term structural conservation and chemical stabilization are required for the Jagamohana to ensure longevity of the temple structure.”
According to the report of the expert committee, the stone column capital on the North-West side on which the Jagamohana’s ceiling rests has developed a crack and a stone block is hanging out of it dangerously, posing the risk of a major accident.
Meanwhile, a cooling system to solve the humidity problem in the Garbha Gruha has been commissioned. Two machines have been installed at the Jhulana Mandap of the temple with pipe connections extending to the Garbha Gruha. While one machine would infuse cool air into the sanctum sanctorum, the other one will exhaust humid air.
Engineers of MECON, a subsidiary company of SAIL, have designed the project to infuse cool air and exhaust humid air from the sanctum sanctorum at an estimated cost of Rs 25 lakh which has been borne by the company.