Know What’s Inside Puri Jagannath Temple’s Ratna Bhandar

Bhubaneswar: What could be the value of jewellery kept in Ratna Bhandar (the treasury) of Shree Jagannath Temple in Odisha’s Puri?

The proposed opening of inner chamber of Ratna Bhandar on July 14, as told to the media by Justice Biswanath Rath committee on Tuesday, could shed light on this million dollar question. It has remained unanswered for the last 46 years.

According to Odisha Review, Ratna Bhandar was earlier opened for verification in 1962-1964, 1967, 1977 and 1978. Going by records, it has a total of 454 gold articles with a net weight of 12,838 Bharis (128.38 kg) and 293 silver articles weighing 22,153 Bharis (221.53 kg). One Bhari is equal to 11.66 grams. The last inventory was conducted in 1978.

In 2018, a 17-member team entered Bahara (outer chamber) Ratna Bhandar but could not step inside the Bhitara (inner chamber) Ratna Bhandar in absence of its keys.


The treasury, located on the northern side of the Jagamohan of Jagannath Temple, has been enriched by the contribution and donations offered by devotees from all over the world.

Kings of Keshari and Ganga dynasties, monarchs of Suryavamshi and Bhoi dynasties and even the rulers of Nepal donated valuables like gold, silver, diamonds, other precious gemstones and Shalagrams to Lord Jagannath.

According to Madala Panji, a chronicle of the Jagannath Temple, King Anangabhima Dev donated 2,50,000 ‘Madhas’ of gold (1 Madha=1/2 Tola=5.8319 grams) for preparing gold ornaments for the Lords. The Suryavamsi rulers offered valuable jewels and gold for Lord Jagannath. An inscription on the Digvijay Dwar of the 12th-century mentions Gajapati King Kapilendra Dev donating the entire wealth and jewels that he brought with him on the back of 16 elephants after conquering southern states to the temple in 1466 AD.

Legend has it that Suna Besha or golden attire of the sibling deities began during his reign.

Eminent historian R D Banerjee in his “History of Orissa” also noted that many of these ornaments were still in use in 1893.

On August 23, 1983, a ‘Hundi’ was established in Nata Mandap and devotees were seen dropping gold,  jewels and cash into it. According to a statement published by Shree Jagannath Temple Administration (STJA), 980.990 grams of gold and 50217.832 grams of silver were collected from the Hundi by October 2009. The devotees were also seen putting gold and silver jewelleries into ‘Jharis Pindika’ placed on Ratna Simhasan during ‘Sahan Mela’ darshan and ‘Parimanik’ darshan, according to Odisha Review.


Ratna Bhandar has two chambers – ‘Bhitara Bhandar’ and ‘Bahara Bhandar’. One has to go through Bahara Bhandar to enter Bhitara Bhandar.

‘Report on the Temple of Jagannath’, the first detailed official account of Ratna Bhandar, was prepared by the then Collector of Puri, Charles Grome, and published on June 10, 1805. It mentioned about 64 gold and silver ornaments — both studded with gems and pure gold and silver — besides, 128 gold coins, 24 different kinds of gold ‘mohar’, 1,297 silver coins, 106 copper coins and 1,333 kinds of clothes.

Subsequently in 1926, a list of jewelleries acknowledged by Lalmohan Dev, adopted son of Gajapati Mukund Dev, was kept in the record room of the Puri collectorate with the signature of the then Puri Collector Dayanidhi Das and attested by Rai Bahadur Lokanath Mishra and Mahant Gadadhar Ramanuj Das of Emar Mutt, two eminent persons of Puri town.

The Record of Rights prepared under Puri Sri Jagannath Temple Act, 1952, mentioned 150 gold ornaments in Bahara Bhandar and 180 kinds of jewelleries (some weighing over 100 tolas each (each tola equivalent to 11.6638 grams) and 146 items of silver articles in Bhitara Bhandar.

Bahara Bhandar: 150 items of gold ornaments, including Suna Mukuta (headgear) of Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra and Devi Subhadra weighing 7.11, 5 and 3.2 kgs respectively; three gold necklaces (Hanidakanthi Mali) weighing 1.3 kg each; Suna Shree Bhuja (hands) and Shree Payar (feet) of Lord Jagannath and Lord Balabhadra weighing 9.5 and 8.2 kgs respectively and various other gold ornaments some of which are set with precious gem stones.

Bhitara Bhandar: 180 items of jewellery, including 74 items of pure gold ornaments some of which weigh more than 1.1 kg each, plates of gold, pearls, diamonds, corals  and 146 items of silver articles, weighing more than 5.8 kg each.

According to the 1978 inventory, Bhitara Bhandar has 367 gold items weighing 4,364 Bharis and 231 silver items weighing 14,878 Bharis. In Bahara Bhandar, there are 79 gold items of 8,175 Bharis and 39 silver items of 4,671 Bharis, which are taken out on ceremonial or festive occasion, and 8 gold items of 299 Bharis and 23 silver items of 2,693 Bharis for daily use.


The custody of Ratna Bhandar was vested with Shree Jagannath Temple Managing Committee in accordance with the provisions of Shree Jagannath Temple Administration Act, which came into force on October 27, 1960.

The Rule 5 prescribed none of the jewelleries will be removed beyond the precincts of Ratna Bhandar without specific orders of the state government and without full compliance with conditions imposed by it.

The Shree Jagannath Temple Rules, 1960, stipulate that the ornaments inside Ratna Bhandar must be audited every six months. The rules specify who is responsible for the ornaments, how the audit should be conducted, and who will hold the keys.


The articles in the treasury are classified under three categories, – those kept in Bhitara Bhandar and never used (category-I); those used only on ceremonial or festive occasion (category-II); and those for daily use of the deities (category-III).

According to Rule 6, the first category of articles will remain under double lock and sealed with the seal of the Managing Committee with the keys deposited by the administration in the government treasury. The locks may be opened only under special orders of the state government.

The second category under supervision and control of the Committee has to be kept under double-lock with one key with the administration and the other with Patjoshi Mahapatra. The locks has to be opened in the presence of the administrator, Patajoshi Mahapatra, Deulakaran, Tadhau Karan and other members of the Committee as may be authorised from time to time. On every such occasion, these jewelleries has to be issued to Bhandar Mekap on proper receipt attested by all these persons. After the use of these jewelleries, Bhandar Mekap has to immediately return the same in the presence of these persons and there upon the administrator in the presence of Patajoshi Mahapatra redeposit the same in Ratna Bhandar.

The third category of articles also under control of the Committee, will remain within the Ratna Bhandar under lock and the key with Bhandar Mekap, who will always remain accountable to the administrator.

The second and third categories of articles have to be compared and verified periodically at least once in every six months by the administrator and other members of the Committee specially authorised by it and the report later submitted to the state government.


Verification of Ratna Bhandar was taken up by the then administrator, L Mishra, in March 1962 and it continued till August 1964. 602 items were then checked. The verification report was placed before the Committee. In resolution, on August 9, 1966,  it was decided that a fresh verification should be done under the supervision of a sub-committee formed for the purpose.

Verification was again taken up in May 1967. Only 433 items were checked as revealed from Temple Administration Records, However, no report on result of verification has been submitted to the Temple Managing Committee apparently because the work was incomplete.

No further verification of Bhitar Bhandar was done subsequently. Lists of articles in Bahar Bhandar for daily use and occasional use were made during March-July 1976 and third lock was put on Bahar Bhandar, the key of which was kept by the administrator.

A high-level committee was formed on April 7, 1978, by the then government headed by Chief Minister Nilamani Routray to suggest measures for improvement and better management of the 12th-century shrine. A complete inventory of jewelleries, gold and silver articles in Ratna Bhandar was taken up in May 1978 and completed in July 1978 on the recommendation of the committee and instruction of the government.


Referencing the 1978 survey, the Odisha government had earlier said that Ratna Bhandar contained over 149 kg of gold ornaments and 258 kg of silver utensils. The then Law Minister Pratap Jena explained that both the inner and outer chambers of Ratna Bhandar were opened, and the items stored there were counted between May 15, 1978, and July 23, 1978.  He further claimed that Ratna Bhandar held over 12,831 Bharis (128.38 kg)) of gold ornaments fitted with precious stones, along with 22,153 Bharis ((221.53 kg) of silver utensils and other items. Additionally, 14 items of gold and silver could not be weighed at the time and were not included in the 1978 list.


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