Puri Jagannath Temple’s Natamandap Restoration Work Likely To Begin Today

Puri: The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) is expected to begin the work on strengthening the cracked beam inside Natamandap (dancing hall) of Jagannath Temple in Odisha’s pilgrim town of Puri on Thursday.

According to sources, a standard operating procedure will be prepared for the purpose and a crucial meeting of Shree Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA), ASI, and servitors will be held this afternoon. A blueprint will be subsequently prepared.

This followed a Orissa High Court order which was issued on Wednesday in reply to the court’s query whether SJTA had any objection if the work is started from Thursday.

In an affidavit submitted to the HC, ASI’s superintending archaeologist (Puri Circle) DB Garnayak mentioned about receiving a modified design and working drawing for strengthening of the cracked beam of Natamandapa. He further informed that court that a meeting at Puri, between the Chief Administrator of SJTA and ASI, in the presence of amicus curiae and engineer-in-chief, Works department of Odisha, finalised to start the work from January 20 and complete it within 120 working days.

The division bench of Acting Chief Justice BR Sarangi and Justice MS Raman, which had earlier expressed dissatisfaction over the inordinate delay in completion of the Natamandap renovation work, directed the ASI to start it from Thursday. Amicus curiae NK Mohanty has been asked to submit a status report on the progress every fortnight.

The bench has fixed December 4 for taking stock of the progress of the work.

The court has been monitoring repair inside Natamandap as part of adjudication on the PIL for conservation of the 12th century shrine filed by Abhisek Das, a resident of Cuttack in 2016. In his report, the amicus curiae had earlier submitted that the repair work inside the Natamandap “is very important and catastrophe may happen at any time as the cracked structure (beam) is working as cantilever from both sides. In my opinion, ASI authority may attend this work on priority basis than submitting affidavit on routine manner.”

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