Justice Biswanath Rath Panel Proposes Date For Opening Of Lord Jagannath’s Ratna Bhandar

Puri: The 16-member committee headed by Justice Biswanath Rath on Tuesday proposed to open Ratna Bhandar (the treasury) of Shree Jagannath Temple in Odisha’s Puri on July 14.

The proposal, however, has to be approved by the state government.

The decision on opening the Ratna Bhandar was taken in the second meeting of the high-level committee reconstituted under the chairmanship of retired Orissa High Court Justice Rath to supervise the inventorisation of valuables, including jewellery stored in the treasury after 46 years.

“The temple managing committee will call a meeting to discussion the proposal which will then be sent to the state government. The Ratna Bhandar can be opened only after a go-head from the government,” Justice Rath told reporters.

He said that the panel was also asked to suggest the standard operating procedure (SOP) for the same. “Elaborate discussion was held and an unanimous decision was taken to request the government to open the lock of the inner chamber of Ratna Bhandar on July 14. Accordingly, the SOP was also drawn for both repair work and counting of the valuables,” he said.

It has been decided that if the lock cannot be opened with the existing key, it will be broken, he said.

Notably, the Chief Administrator of Shree Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA) was asked to submit the key of Ratna Bhandar, which is intact at Puri district treasury, before the high-level committee meeting.

“Devotees will not be deprived of darshan of the sibling deities during the opening of Ratna Bhandar,” Justice Rath added, while seeking cooperation of devotees.

Earlier speaking to the media, Law Minister Prithviraj Harichandan asserted that the required repair work in the inner chamber of Ratna Bhandar will be completed before the sibling deities- Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra and Devi Subhadra- return to their abode after the annual sojourn at their birthplace, Shree Gundicha Temple, on July 19.

“We will certainly complete the repair work before the deities return to Ratna Simhasan after Rath Yatra. Counting and weighing of valuables will begin on the very day decided by the committee,” he said.

He further stated that the government would examine the committee’s SOP and take appropriate steps accordingly.  “We have to see that rituals are not affected during the opening of the Ratna Bhandar. The data of Ratna Bhandar will be digitally documented. If the lock doesn’t open with the available keys, it will be broken in the presence of the magistrate,” he said.

The Minister added that Garbha Griha and Ratna Bhandar will be repaired every year during Rath Yatra henceforth. The ASI will set modalities.

 

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