The upcoming Heritage Corridor Plan of the Holy City Puri will not alter or change existing rituals or practices of Jagannath Temple, said Krishan Kumar, Chief Administrator of the Shri Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA) on 4 February after a discussion with key stakeholders.
In the meeting held under the Chairmanship of Gajapati Dibyasingh Dev, key stakeholders raised their concerns regarding the draft Puri Heritage Corridor Plan released last month by Chief MInister Naveen Patnaik, SJTA Chief said that there were primarily three assumptions raised by representatives from families residing near temple area, families of servitors and persons connected with the temple rituals.
“Today we had a focused discussion with all the stakeholders about the Heritage Corridor plan. The concerns of the affected families and all the stakeholders were heard and discussed. We will form a small team to asses and analyse all of the suggestions and how to incorporate them in the Plan,” said Dr.Kumar
The families residing close to Puri Temple as well servitors had anticipated that once the structure in front of the Temple is completed, then they would not be permitted to perform one of the practices of Last Rites which involves exhibiting the deceased body in front of the Puri Temple.
Dr Kumar stated that the families will be allowed to continue the practice as has been for last many years.
Similarly, the servitors of temple had anticipated that because of the beautification structures in front of the Temple, there would be difficulty in performing many rituals of Ratha Yatra and other festivals.
Dr Kumar assured them that these traditions and rituals will be taken into account while constructing the proposed structures .
Gajapati Dibyasingha Dev, Chairman, SJTA suggested that the upcoming structure must include place for Janja ritual performance for incoming devotees.
Eminent Sculptor Raghunath Mohapatra who participated in the discussion, stressed that the new structures must include sculpting practices of ancient Utkal.
In the meeting, the parties concerned were assured that their issues have already been taken care of in the Heritage Corridor Design and if possible, the State Government would again held such discussions to address their concerns.
Speaking on the dining facility, Dr Kumar said ,”The state government wants to construct a dining area , where at least 5,000 persons can have Maha Prasad every day.”
Representatives from Bhumiputra organisations made a presentation to the key government officials and related stake holders in the discussion held on Tuesday.