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Gundicha temple to get facelift ahead of Nabakalebara in Odisha

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Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Puri, Oct 26:

The Shree Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA) has decided to undertake the beautification and conservation of the Gundicha temple in Odisha’s pilgrim town of Puri, where it expects an extremely high footfall of devotees during the annual Rath Yatra (Car Festival) next year.

Members of the Technical Committee and other temple officials at the Gundicha temple in Puri on Saturday
Members of the Technical Committee and other temple officials at the Gundicha temple in Puri on Saturday

The coming Rath Yatra would be a special event since it would see the Nabakalebara (New Form) of the three deities – Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra and Devi Subhadra’s – which comes once every 12-18 years. New idols are made for the deities during Nabakalebara.

The deities stay at the Gundicha temple for seven days during their annual sojourn to the place. Together with Rath Yatra, when the deities start from the Shree Mandir on their journey to Gundicha temple, and the Bahuda Yatra, when the deities return to their abode, the festival lasts a total of nine days.

On SJTA’s invitation, the Technical Consultative Committee on Shree Jagannath Temple Conservation (TCCSJTC) visited the Gundicha Temple on Saturday to have a first-hand account of the current condition of the temple and prepare a  plan for its beautification and conservation based on its study.

The technical committee, led by its chairman Prof. Gopal Chandra Mitra, suggested immediate repair of the walls of the Garbhagriha – sanctum sanctorum of the temple. While advising close examination of the stones affixed to the walls of the Garbhagriha, the Committee asked for removal of the weaker stones to be replaced with new ones. It also advised giving a chemical coat to the walls after cleaning and pinning, sources said.

Chief administrator of SJTA and Tourism & Culture secretary Arabinda Padhee, who accompanied the committee during its visit to the Gundicha temple, informed that requisite repair and beautification of the temple will be completed well before the Nabakalebar festival next year.

Sources said the technical committee studied the condition of the Singhadwara, the road from the entrance of the temple to the inner side of the boundary wall, floor of the inner space, walls of the Bhogamandap and walls of the Garbhagriha during its visit.

The SJTA and the technical committee agreed to widen the road from the entrance of the temple to the inner side of the boundary wall, undertake repair of the walls of Bhogamandap and Garbhagriha and application of chemical coat, to plant grass on empty spaces within the temple premises, to make improvements for discharge of waste water from the temple premises, installation of bright lights within the temple premises and beautification of the temple using modern technology, sources said.

The Committee also decided that plates with information for the devotees will be affixed within the temple and the Lords’ Veshas and rituals will be exhibited through video while a garden will be set up within the temple premises, sources said.

The technical committee chairman Prof Mitra was accompanied by other members of the committee, rituals, development and security administrators of the Shree Jagannath Temple, ADM Puri, executive engineer of the Works department, sevayat representative of the temple management committee and Daitapati sevayat representative Ramachandra Dashmohaptra.