Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Aug 21:
Repair of the badly damaged Jagamohana (audience hall) of the Shree Jagannath Temple in Puri will be taken up in December after the holy month of Kartik, it was decided at a joint meeting of the SJTA with the technical committee of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) held at the Odisha secretariat here today.
A final decision with regard to the relocation of the presiding deities for undertaking full-fledged repair of the temple’s Jagamohana will, however, be taken at the Chhattisha Nijog (federal body of temple servitor bodies), sources privy to today’s meeting said.
It was revealed at the meeting that the ASI’s Director General will visit Puri next month for an assessment of the extent of damage to the Jagamohana and the need for repairs.
Members of the scientific team and chief administrator of the Shree Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA) Suresh Mohapatra were present during the meeting.
Sources said repair works are targeted to begin in December after the holy Hindu month of Kartik.
The Chhattisa Nijog, which had met on August 17, had failed to take a decision on the relocation of the presiding deities to facilitate repair of the badly damaged Jagamohana.
Servitors had also opposed the repair of the Ratna Bhandar (treasury) and the method employed by Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) in conducting repairs of the temple.
Chief administrator of SJTA had then said that they had held general discussion on the options available. He had said a final decision would be taken after the Technical Committee meeting on August 21 (today) where the detailed report of the ASI will be presented. The temple managing committee is scheduled to meet tomorrow.
After the Chhattisha Nijog meeting on August 17, a member of Chhattisha Nijog Damodar Mahasuar had said: “We are 90% against relocation of the deities because there is no alternate location. We will finish rituals of the Lords early and allow them around eight hours’ time every day to undertake repairs which they say will take eight months to complete.”
In a letter to the SJTA recently, ASI has asked for relocation of the presiding deities as soon as possible as repair works were urgently needed. The ASI director general had asked the SJTA to evacuate the Jagamohana area of the temple, which is in need of immediate repair.
The ASI had undertaken temporary repairs of the Jagamohana during the Rath yatra of the Lords. Two stone blocks which have got dislodged from their position in the ceiling of the Jagamohana have been reinforced using steel brackets as a temporary measure.