Jagannath Puri: temple

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No weapons, shoes inside Puri Temple: SC

(With inputs from agencies), No weapons, shoes inside Puri Temple: SC, October 11, 2018: The Hindu

Bench takes note of violence during rally against queue system

The Supreme Court ordered that said no policemen should enter Puri’s Jagannath temple armed with weapons and wearing shoes.

A Bench of Justice Madan B. Lokur and Justice Deepak Gupta gave the direction taking note of the violence that had broken out during a protest against the introduction of a queue system for devotees of the temple on October 3.

The Bench was hearing a plea on behalf of an organisation that has filed an application for intervention in the matter, alleging that the local police entered the temple with guns and shoes during the violence.

The Odisha government’s counsel said no violence took place on the temple premises and termed the allegations baseless. The counsel said that the office of the temple administration, situated around 500 metres from the main temple, was attacked and ransacked during the violence.

Uprooted barricades

The bandh, called by Jagannath Sena, a Puri-based social-cultural organisation, turned violent when a large number of protesters uprooted the barricades put up to facilitate the entry of devotees into the temple through the main entrance in a queue.

The Jagannath Sena had called for a bandh after the temple administration introduced the queue system on Monday on an experimental basis.

The protest was supported by sections of temple servitors.

At least 10 policemen were injured when protesters resorted to violence to enforce the day-long bandh.

The agitators also damaged a police outpost and an information centre outside the temple as well as the Town police station, prompting the police to resort to a mild lathi-charge and tear-gas lobbing to control the situation. Several police vehicles were damaged.

Land holdings

As in 2019

Dhananjay Mahapatra, Nov 8, 2019: The Times of India

If a Supreme Court order in 2011 led to discovery of treasures in the vaults of the Padmanabhaswamy temple in Kerala that made it the richest temple, a similar exercise by the top court now is likely to establish Jagannath temple in Puri as a major landowner.

A recent SC order revealed the temple owned a mindboggling 60,418 acres, or 244.5 square km, of land within and outside Odisha. The land owned by the temple is 15 times the size of Puri town, which is all of 16.33 sq km. What also caught the court’s attention was that the temple owns several quarries and mines but licensees are not paying any dues to the shrine.

In its order, an apex court bench of Justices Arun Mishra, M R Shah and S Ravindra Bhat said, “There are vast immovable properties within and outside the state belonging to the Shri Jagannath temple.”

The apex court bench said, “It is stated by amicus curiae (senior advocate Ranjit Kumar) in his report that 60,418 acres of land belong to the temple and record of rights has been prepared for 34,201 acres so far.”

SC: Let record of rights for remaining land be prepared

The apex court bench said, “It is stated by amicus curiae (senior advocate Ranjit Kumar) in his report that 60,418 acres of land belong to the temple and record of rights has been prepared for 34,201 acres so far. Let the record of rights for remaining land be prepared, as far as possible, within six months and the same placed before the court. With respect to other immovable properties within and outside the state, let inventory be prepared and details be submitted on how they are being utilised as also the income generated from them.” The bench posted the matter for hearing on January 8.

The bench ordered, “A list of quarries and mines be prepared as to how they are being managed, who is operating them, on what basis and what is the income of the temple from them and the outstanding dues. Let a list of quarries and mines be produced and the income generated/outstanding dues with names and other details.”

Giving primacy to carrying out of rituals at the temple as insisted by Shankaracharya of Govardhan Math, Puri, the bench said, “What are the rituals to be performed is not for the court to decide, but when the temple exists due to the deities, the deities cannot be permitted to be disregarded by non-performance of ‘nitis’, puja and rituals in the traditional form as observed by the Shankaracharya, who suggested that these to be performed as per the guidelines laid in Brahma Purana, Vamdev Samhita, Panchatantra-Ishwar Samhita and Vimarsha, which mentions consecration, worship and different festivals related to Shri Jagannath temple.”

Nabakalebara ritual

Debabrata Mohanty, Deities at Jagannath temple in Puri replaced after 19 years in elaborate ceremony, June 17, 2015: The Indian Express

The Nabakalebara (re-embodiment) of the fours deities, replacing the old idols with new ones - is an elaborate process in which they relinquish their old bodies and assume a new one.

The Nabakalebara is observed in a gap of 12 to 19 years. The last time Nabakalebara happened in 1996. The Nabakalebara process started on March 29 with the servitor starting their journey for the search of neem trees from which the idols were carved. This time, the neem trees were found in Jagatsinghpur and Khurda districts.

Badagrahis (body protector-cum-servitors) transfer soul from the old idols into the new idols of Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra, Goddess Subhadra and Lord Sudarshan made from neem wood after an elaborate ritual.

During the transfer of the soul, eyes and hands of the servitors were covered with cloth-bands so that they can’t touch and see the Brahmapadarthas at the time of their transfer. The old idols were buried in Koilibaikuntha (also known as the graveyard of the deities) area of the temple premises. Like post-death rituals in Hindu households, the servitors who took part in last night’s event, would get tonsured after 10 days and mourn the death of old idols.

Ratna Bhandar

2018: Missing keys

Debabrata Mohapatra, Mystery of Puri temple’s missing keys, June 9, 2018: The Times of India

Even as the Supreme Court issued a slew of directions while hearing complaints of mismanagement of finances at the Lord Jagannath temple in Puri, Odisha governor Ganeshi Lal expressed concern over the missing keys of the inner chamber of its Ratna Bhandar which were last opened way back in 1985. “The Governor is eager to know the facts behind the missing keys,” said a statement from the Raj Bhavan.

The inner chamber of the 12th century temple’s Ratna Bhandar is supposed to contain a huge quantity of gold and silver ornaments. The district collector of Puri is the custodian of the keys and he discovered in April that they were missing. This prompted the Naveen Patnaik government on June 4 to set up a commission, headed by retired justice of Orissa HC Raghubir Das, to probe the case and submit a report within three months. But that seems to have added more suspicion to the controversy which has captivated the state.

The inner chamber of Ratna Bhandar is believed to contain more than 128 kg of gold ornaments and over 200 kg of silver utensils. While the outer chamber is opened regularly to fetch ornaments for the deities during the annual Rath Yatra and other important festivals, temple records suggest the inner chamber was last opened in 1985.

The three keys to the outer chamber are in custody of the Puri ‘king’ (whose family for generations looked after the temple), the temple administration and Bhandar Mekap, a priest who looks after the treasury.

It was in April that the disappearance of the keys to the inner chamber came to light after the Puri district administration said it could not locate them amid a debate whether the room needed repair after cracks were noticed in the structure.

“We have no idea where the keys to the inner Ratna Bhandar are. The keys to the outer chamber are safe,” Puri district collector Aravind Agarwal said, adding “We tried to locate the keys in the district treasury but could not find them.”

Puri ‘king’ Gajapati Dibyasingha Deb expressed surprise at the way many people, including temple servitors and senior BJD leader Damodar Rout, have raised questions about his role vis-a-vis the safe keep of the inner Ratna Bhandar keys.

The Jagannath Temple Act makes it mandatory to check the contents of the Ratna Bhandar every three years.

See also

International Puri Beach Festival

Jagannath culture/ cult

Jagannath Puri: temple

Jagannath Puri: temple cuisine

Puri, the pilgrimage (main page)

Puri District, 1908

Puri Subdivision, 1908

Puri Town

Puri, Dasnami Sannyasis

And also

Hindu temples and the law: India

Temple properties: India

Temple trusts/ boards

Temples: the construction of

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