SJTA allows ASI to start repair work of Jagannath temple 'Natamandap'

SJTA allows ASI to start repair work of Jagannath temple 'Natamandap'

Puri, Nov 17 (PTI) The Shree Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA) has accorded in-principle approval to the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) to start repair work of the 12th century Jagannath temple's 'Natamandap' (dancing hall).

The SJTA’s approval came a day after Orissa High Court asked the ASI to begin repair work of the Natamandap of the shrine from Thursday. Certain cracks were detected on some pillars of Natamandap of the ancient temple following which the ASI had been asked to undertake the repair work immediately.

While the process was set in motion on Thursday, the restoration work will formally commence on Friday, SJTA chief administrator Ranjan Kumar Das told reporters on Thursday after a marathon meeting with all stakeholders including ASI officials, servitors, members of the temple managing committee and others.

'We have accorded the in-principle approval to ASI to undertake repair work of Natamandap. However, keeping in view the rush in the temple due to the holy month of Kartik, the working time will be adjusted. Adequate precautions will be taken to undertake the repair work without causing any problem for the devotees and the rituals of the presiding deities', the SJTA chief said.

He said the Jagannath temple technical team will supervise and monitor the work while the shrine commander and supervisor have been asked to manage the crowd on the temple premises.

The SJTA chief said that the ASI will install iron scaffolding at Natamandap for the repair work, while temple officials will coordinate with the ASI for smooth work. The ASI is mandated to complete the Natamandap repair within 120 days. The agency will be allowed to carry out the work for six hours a day after the completion of Kartika rituals, he said.

This apart, the temple administration has also decided to start the repair of the 'Ratnapalank' (divine beds) of the sibling deities - Lord Balabhadra, Devi Subhadra and Lord Jagannath, by skilled artisans from Friday.

The SJTA also took certain decisions on the repair of seven other wood-based metal idols and transportation of disabled persons in the temple. PTI AAM RG

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