Puri, January 8, 2024: Shree Mandira Parikrama at Shree Jagannatha Temple in Puri is set to open its doors for devotees on January 17, marking the successful completion of the first phase of the Temple Transformation Project. The inauguration will consecrate a 75-meter corridor around the Meghanada Pacheri, the temple’s outer compound wall, addressing challenges faced by devotees during parikrama due to space constraints.
The dedication ceremony will be led by Shree Naveen Patnaik, Chief Minister of Odisha, and will commence on January 12, culminating with Purnahuti Aarti and Puspanjali on January 17. Gajapati Maharaj Shri Dibyasingha Deb will serve as the Karta for the ceremony, accompanied by Vedanga pandits chanting mantras at four temple gates: Singhadwar, Hastidwar, Vyaghradwar, and Aswadwar. Notable attendees will include priests, saints, and religious leaders from across the country, with Shankaracharya Nischalananda Saraswati participating in the yajna.
Commenting on this significant development, Mr. Samarth Verma, IAS, Honorable Collector & District Magistrate of Puri, stated, “The inauguration of Shree Mandira Parikrama at the Lord Jagannatha Mandira is a celebration of the timeless heritage and spiritual magnificence of the Shree Mandira. This ceremony will showcase the grand amalgamation of tradition and modernity, fostering a deeper spiritual connection for devotees worldwide. The Parikrama represents not just an upgrade of the temple’s infrastructure but signifies a renaissance of our faith and devotion to Lord Jagannatha. Through the Temple Transformation project, we aim to enhance the devotees’ experience while preserving the sanctity and cultural ethos of this sacred site.”
The Temple Transformation Project, with a budget of Rs 800 crore, aims to significantly improve the devotees’ experience at the 12th-century shrine in Puri, a central symbol of Odia pride. The project includes the development of the temple precinct, a mega reception center, cultural center, library, Jagannath Ballav pilgrim center, and multi-level car parking. All new constructions adhere to the Kalingan Architectural style, using Khondalite stone, mirroring the Shree Jagannatha Temple.
The Pradakshina paths around the Meghanada Pacheri will provide a clear view of the temple during circumambulation, enhancing the holy experience. The project features an inner parikrama, a garden, and an outer parikrama, providing ample space for peaceful prayer. Carefully chosen plants in the garden area will serve worshiping purposes within the temple.
The project emphasizes safety and security around the temple, creating a 75-meter buffer to eliminate congestion and allow for a seamless experience for devotees. The revamped travel route reduces travel time from Puri Bypass road to Trumpet Bridge to Shree Setu to JBPC to just 10 minutes, with dedicated parking space facilitating easy parking for pilgrims.
To encourage widespread participation in the inauguration, awareness initiatives will commence on January 5 at block and panchayat levels. The government plans to facilitate the daily visit of 10,000 pilgrims from the state to the temple starting from January 18 for approximately 15 days, with a total budget of Rs 20 crore earmarked for this purpose.
The inaugural period will feature special events showcasing the Shree Jagannatha Temple’s history and Odisha’s cultural heritage, including Gotipua, Sankirtan, and Odissi Dance at Bada Danda Road, aesthetic lighting of Hindu monasteries (Maths), an exhibition at the Jagannath Ballav Pilgrim Center (JBPC) on Lord Jagannatha’s story and Rath Yatra rituals. The event will also include displays of sacred items, heritage corridor work details, and live sand art.
The eastern plaza of the heritage corridor will provide a spacious open area for festivals, including the Rath Yatra, ensuring a safe environment for a large congregation of pilgrims. The Temple Transformation project honors the cultural significance of Shree Jagannatha Mandira through the aesthetic redevelopment of surrounding maths and temples in the Kalinga style of architecture, preserving the cultural legacy and enhancing the spiritual ambience. All maths will now have their own Garima.
While the Jagannatha Dham remains a focal point, the government is concurrently renovating around 10,000 worship sites, both small and large, throughout the state. With a budget of over Rs 4,000 crore, these works are at different stages of development and are expected to be completed within the next
three to six months.