Govt nod needed for opening Bhitara Ratnabhandar: SJTA

Srimandir administrator AK Jena said opening of Bhitara Ratnabhandar is not possible without State government nod.

Published: 13th August 2022 05:36 AM  |   Last Updated: 13th August 2022 05:36 AM   |  A+A-

Sri Jagannath temple at Puri

Sri Jagannath temple at Puri (File Photo)

By Express News Service

PURI: Days after the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), Bhubaneswar circle, wrote to the Shri Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA) to open inner treasury of the shrine, known as Bhitara Ratnabhandar, the latter on Friday said it will be possible only after State government’s clearance.

Srimandir administrator AK Jena said opening of Bhitara Ratnabhandar is not possible without State government nod. The issue will be placed before the next temple managing committee meeting for discussion, he added.

On August 6, Superintending Archaeologist of ASI Arun Malik had written to SJTA, Law department and DG ASI V Vidyavathi stating that there is a need to open Bhitara Ratnabhandar for repair works as it is in a poor condition. The ASI, which has been in charge of repair and conservation of the 12th-century shrine since 1974, in its letter mentioned that the structure is in bad shape with weakening of two main beams holding the roof. Urging the administration to open the treasury to carry out repairs, it said servitors have reported water seepage from the treasury room.

As per the temple record of rights, Bhitara Ratnabhandar should be opened every three years but it was not opened for 37 years till an attempt was made to do so on  April 4, 2018. In March 2018, the Orissa High Court had directed the government and SJTA to open Bhitara Ratnabhandar and allow ASI and other experts to carry out repairs. After a clearance from the government, SJTA formed a team of 17 experts to enter the Bhitara Ratnabhandar. But they could not do so as the key to the structure was missing.


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