BHUBANESWAR: The heritage corridor plan for Puri will not alter or change existing rituals or practices of Shree Jagannath Temple. The corridor plan, which is likely to be finalised by March end or April first week, was discussed at a meeting here under the chairmanship of Gajapati Dibyasingha Deb. Chief Administrator of Shree Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA) Krishan Kumar said key stakeholders raised their concerns regarding the draft Puri Heritage Corridor plan released last month by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik.
The families residing close to Puri Temple as well as servitors had anticipated that once the structure in front of the temple is completed, they would not be permitted to perform one of the practices of last rites, which involves exhibiting a dead body in front of the temple. Kumar said the families will be allowed to continue the practice.
Similarly, the temple servitors had anticipated that because of beautification structures in front of the temple, there would be difficulty in performing many rituals of Rath Yatra and other festivals. Kumar assured them that these traditions and rituals will be taken into account while constructing the proposed structures.
Puri Gajapati, chairman of the SJTA, suggested that the upcoming structure must include place for Janja ritual performance for incoming devotees. Padmashree and sculptor Raghunath Mohapatra who participated in the discussion, said the new structures must include sculpting practices of ancient Utkal.
In the meeting, the stakeholders were assured that their concerns have already been taken care of in the heritage corridor design and if possible, the State Government would again hold such discussions to address their concerns.
Besides, a proposal to construct a Maha Prasad dining facility for 5000 persons was proposed. “The State Government wants to construct a dining area, where at least 5000 persons can have Maha Prasad everyday,” Kumar said and added, “Today we had a focused discussion with all the stakeholders about the Haritage Corridor plan. The concerns of the affected families and all the stakeholders were heard and discussed. We will form a team to assess and analyse all of the suggestions and how to incorporate them in the plan.” Representatives from Bhumiputra organisation, which will implement the corridor plan, made a presentation to key government officials and related stakeholders.