Rashmi Ranjan

Even though the Superintendent of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has issued a letter for the inspection of the Srimandir Ratna Bhandar on August 8, decision in this regard will be taken during the temple managing committee meeting, informed temple administrator (development), Ajay Kumar Jena on Friday.

Speaking to media, Jena said, “The ASI has sent the letter to the Chief Administrator of Srimandir on August 8. The letter will be tabled during the temple managing committee and next course of action will be decided and informed to the Law department.”

“No one knows what exactly is stored inside the Ratna Bhandar. A detailed inspection is required to find out what lies inside the treasure house of the Lords. The process which we followed in 2018 for Ratna Bhandar inspection will be adopted if the managing committee decides to go for a check,” Jena added.

Ananta Tiadi, member of Srimandir managing committee, said “All the members of the managing committee were part of Ratna Bhandar inspection which was carried out in 2018. During the survey, I personally felt that the inside chambers of the treasure house needs to be repaired.”

On the other hand, State Law minister Jagannath Sarka pleaded ignorance, saying that he is not aware of the developments pertaining to the Ratna Bhandar.

“I don’t  have any idea about the ASI letter. After I took charge, Srimandir managing committee has never met for a meeting. However, all required actions will be taken,” Sarka added.

Notably on August 8, the ASI had written to SJTA Chief Administrator about its plans to inspect the treasure trove of Lord Jagannath.

In the letter, the ASI Superintendent had asked the Srimandir administration to take the required measures to open the 'Bhitara Ratna Bhandar' or the inner treasure chamber of Sree Jagannath Temple as it is not in a good condition.

A letter regarding the same also has been sent to the State Law Department and ASI DG. 

It is worth mentioning that following the Orissa High Court's order on March 22, 2018, an attempt was made to open the Ratna Bhandar on April 4. A special team was formed to carry out an inspection, however, as the inner chmber's keys were missing , the treasury could not be opened. Then the team carried out an inspection from outside and reported that the physical condition of Ratna Bhandar was weak.

Earlier on July 6 this year, Puri king Gajapati Maharaja Dibyasingha Deb expressed his desire to see the Ratna Bhandar to be opened as soon as possible. He also raised demands for early repair of the Ratna Bhandar as its condition is not good.

Last time, the Ratna Bhandar was opened in 1978 and 1982.