PURI: Emar Mutt, one of the oldest mutts in Puri belonging to the Ramanuj sect, and the famous Raghunandan Library on its first floor were demolished on Wednesday. The heritage library having some rare palm leaf manuscripts and books on various subjects in Sanskrit, Odia and Bengali languages, was established in 1921 by the then ‘mahant’ of the Emar Mutt.
Collector Balwant Singh told media that all books, manuscripts and furniture of the library have been carefully shifted to a Government building on the collectorate campus.
The mutt, located in front of Lion’s gate (Singhadwara) of Jagannath temple, was established over five acres of land by Ramanujacharya. His disciple Srinivascharya had named it as Emar Mutt. Apart from being the oldest, Emar Mutt is also considered the richest mutt in the State.
In 2011, during renovation of the mutt by Archaeology wing of Culture Department, workers detected a secret doorless room where 18 tonnes of silver tablets, valued at about Rs 90 crore, were found. The 522 silver tablets were shifted to a strong room in the Reserve Police headquarters and the mutt room sealed.
The mutt was declared unsafe in 2006 and six years later, the unsafe portions were demolished by the district administration.
During the 1866 famine in which thousands perished, many people rushed to Puri for survival. The then ‘mahant’ had opened his grainary and fed hundreds of people and distributed alms daily to needy at the sprawling platform in front of the mutt. This went on for months together. He also erected a tower on the mutt premises to provide a place for foreigners to get a view of the temple up to ‘Baisi Pahacha’. His efforts were appreciated by the then British administrators.
Most of the ‘Khaja’ sellers operated from shops in the mutt. After Sunday’s demolition notice, they shifted their stock and furniture.
Hundreds of police personnel along with magistrates were deployed at the site and roads leading to the mutt were sealed prior to the demolition drive. There was no resistance either from ‘mahants’ or locals. The demolition drive was peaceful.
Earlier on Monday, the Mahantas were informed about the execution of special project of `500 crore for Puri temple announced by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik last week and the need to demolish all structures within 75 metres from the Meghanad Pacheri, the boundary wall of the temple.