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Timeline For Ratna Bhandar

Puri: A high-level committee led by Orissa High Court judge Justice Biswanath Rath for inventorisation of jewelleries and other valuables stored in Ratna Bhandar, treasury of Shree Jagannath Temple, Puri, has decided to recommend the State Government to reopen the Bhandar on July 14.

“A consensus was reached during the meeting to recommend that the State Government reopen the inner Ratna Bhandar on July 14. We have prepared the proceedings accordingly,” said Justice Rath after the Committee’s second meeting held here today.

It was decided in the meeting that inner enclosures of the Ratna Bhandar can be opened on July 14 for both inventorization and conservation works only after receiving the State Government’s approval on it.

The Chief Administrator of Shree Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA), who is the member convenor of the panel, was asked to produce the duplicate key of the ‘Ratna Bhandar’ before the committee during this meeting, Justice Rath said.

“However, the SJTA administration could not produce the duplicate key as the temple authority was busy conducting Rath Jatra. The chief administrator is now asked to submit the key before the panel on July 14,” Justice Rath said.

It was also decided that the treasury would be opened by breaking the lock if the duplicate key would not function, he said.

  A detailed discussion was held on several standard operating procedures (SOPs) needed for making an inventory of ornaments and repairing the ‘Ratna Bhandar’.

“Our proposal on opening Ratna Bhandar opening will be sent to the temple managing committee. The committee will meet and send the proposal to the State Government for approval,” Justice Rath told reporters after the meeting.

The location where the ornaments, precious jewels, and other valuables in the treasury will be transferred during the conservation process has been identified, he informed.

“Since temple records state that the jewels and ornaments of the trinity cannot be taken outside the Srimandir, the designated room for storing the valuables is inside the temple. In this room, the jewels and ornaments will be stored as per the schedule in Categories 1, 2 and 3,” he said.

Category 1 is the never-used ornaments and jewels that are kept in the Bhitara Bhandar and Category 2 is those that are only used during ceremonies or festive occasions. Category 3 are the ornaments that are of daily use to the Trinity. Categories 2 and 3 jewellery are kept in the outer enclosure of the treasury, which is opened year-round.

Stating that inventory of the valuables is a lengthy process and the exact time period needed for the purpose cannot be ascertained as of now, Justice Rath said separate teams of experts will be formed who will examine the nature and character of the ornaments besides the precious stones inside the treasury.

Since these are very old ornaments and stones, the panel will make a detailed inventory of the nature of the ornaments, character, and carat of the diamonds, pearls, rubies and other precious stones kept inside the Ratna Bhandar, Rath informed.

After taking opinion from all members of the panel, SOPs are prepared and it will be sent to the government for its approval. The SOPs are prepared while considering that the rituals of the deities and public darshan will not be affected.

He appealed to all devotees of Lord Jagannath to cooperate with the committee as they may have to have darshan of the Lords from little far from the existing place.