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SJTA meet to resolve Shrimandir water row today

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Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Puri, Aug 3:

The Shree Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA) chief administrator Suresh Mohapatra will hold a meeting of the Supakars (temple cook servitors) and Puja Pandas (priests) this evening over the dispute with regard to use of water from the upabana well for cooking ‘mahaprasad’, the bhoga of the presiding deities of  Shree Jagannath Temple in Odisha’s holy town Puri.

Puri Jagannath TemplePuja Panda servitors on Sunday had objected to the use of water drawn from the well at the Shrimandir upabana for cooking of the Lord’s Mahaprasad, since the well was not consecrated.

They said that since the well has not been consecrated food prepared by using its water cannot be offered to the Lords as ‘prasad’.

The dispute had delayed the rosha homa ritual (rosha homa is the ritual of offering oblation to the fire in the kitchen of the Lord. After this niti, the fire is used in the hearths of kitchen of Lord).

The holding up of the rosha homa ritual had led to a complex situation following which a meeting of the office bearers of the Suara Mahasuara Nijog and Puja Panda Nijog was held to resolve the issue.

After the meeting office bearers of the Puja Panda Nijog told reporters that the chief administrator of the SJTA has called for a meeting on Monday and during the meeting the issue will be discussed. They had said ‘Mahaprasad” will continue to be cooked in accordance with tradition.

Notably, the water levels in Ganga and Jamuna wells inside the temple premises decreased dangerously posing serious problems in the preparation of Mahaprasad. While the Jamuna well has completely dried up, only a little water is available in Ganga. This is insufficient for cooking of large quantities of Bhog based on orders placed by devotees.

These two wells are situated near the kitchen of the temple. Water from these wells is used for cooking of ‘Mahaprasad’.

Under such a situation, the SJTA had suggested the Supakars to use water from the well at Ananda Bazaar and Nilachala Upabana for cooking of the ‘Mahaprasad’.

While things went on well with preparation of Nilachal Abadha on July 31, the first day Mahaprasad was cooked after the entry of the Lords inside the temple on Niladri Bije day after they completed their sojourn to their aunt Gundicha’s place and for another day after that, dispute erupted when Puja Panda servitors raised objections on Sunday saying that food cooked with water from the upabana well cannot be offered to the Lords since the well has not been consecrated.