Ramakanta Biswas

The demands for changing the name of the world-famous pilgrim town of Puri to Sri Jagannath Puri or Sri Jagannath Dham Puri received a boost when the railway ministry in Thursday accepted a proposal to name the city railway station after Lord Jagannath.

Yesterday, a group of intellectuals along with elected representatives from the State met Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw in New Delhi and submitted a memorandum requesting him to change the name of Puri railway station to Jagannath Dham Puri.

BJP MP Pratap Sarangi, Puri MLA Jayanta Sarangi, Brahmagiri MLA Lalitendu Bidyadhar Mohapatra, BJP leader Sambit Patra, Shree Jagannath Sena convenor Priyadarshan Patnaik and Chakradhar Mohapatra, convenor of another outfit were part of the team.

The Railway minister has reportedly gave the green signal to the proposal and assured to take the matter forward. 

“I request Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik to send the proposal in this regard to the Union Home Ministry as soon as possible. The railway station should be named after Mahaprabhu Lord Jagannath,” Vaishnav said. 

Speaking after the meeting, Jagannath Sena convenor Priyadarshan Patnaik said, “We intimated the Railway minister that we have already submitted a memorandum to Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik in this regard. However, we will write to the CM again.” 

Various religious groups and Jagannath lovers of Puri are overwhelmed by the proposal of renaming of the railway station and considered the move as an initial success towards their endeavour of changing the pilgrim city to Jagannath Dham.

“The thought about changing the name of Puri had not come to our minds earlier. It might be the wish of Lord Jagannath which is going to be fulfilled now. We believe that both the Centre and State governments will honour the wish of Mahaprabhu,” said Mahanta Ramkrushna Das Maharaj, a member of temple managing committee.

Bhaskar Mishra, senior researcher, said, “About 200 years ago in British record, Puri was known as Jagannath Puri and the district was also named after Lord Jagannath. Besides, there is enough evidence of historians calling Puri as Jagannath Puri.”

Noted sand artist Sudarshan Patnaik also extended support to the demand for changing of name of Puri. He sculpted a beautiful sand art of Lord Jagannath and Srimandir on Puri beach and wrote ‘Jagannath Puri’.

“Puri is known as Jagannath Puri across the world and if the name is officially changed, the pilgrim city of Puri will become more popular across the world,” he said.