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ASI Allowed Natamandap Repair

Puri: Looking at the urgency for repair, the Shree Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA) Thursday accorded in-principle approval to the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) to start repair work at ‘Natamandap’ (Dancing Hall) of the shrine.

The SJTA’s approval came a day after Orissa High Court asking the ASI to begin repair work of the dancing hall of the 12th Century Temple from Thursday. Certain cracks were detected on some pillars of Natamandap of the ancient temple following which the ASI had been asked to undertake the repair work immediately.

While the process was set in motion on Thursday, the restoration work will formally commence on 17 November, SJTA Chief Administrator Ranjan Kumar Das told Media after a high level meeting with all the stake holders including ASI officials, servitors, member of the Temple Managing Committee and others.

“We have accorded the in-principle approval to the ASI to undertake repair work of Natamandap between 6 Am to 10 PM. However, keeping in view the rush in the temple due to to the holy month of Kartik, the working time will be adjusted. Adequate precautions will be taken to undertake work without causing any problem for the devotees and the rituals of the presiding deities”, the SJTA Chief Administrator informed.

Shri Das said Shree Jagannath temple’s technical team will supervise and monitor the work while the shrine commander and supervisor have been asked to manage the crowd on the temple premises.

The SJTA Chief Shri Das said that the ASI will install iron scaffolding at Natamandap for the repair work, while temple officials will coordinate with the ASI for smooth work. The ASI is mandated to complete Natamandap repair within 120 days. The ASI will be allowed to carry out the work for six hours in a day after the completion of Kartika rituals, he said.

This apart, the temple administration has also decided to start repair of the ‘Ratnapalank’ (divine beds) of the sibling deities- Lord Balabhadra, Devi Subhadra and Lord Jaganath, by the skilled artisans from Friday.

The SJTA also took certain decisions on the repair of seven other wood based metal idols and transportation of disable persons in the temple.