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Mrunal Manmay Dash

Escalating the demand to rename the pilgrim town of ‘Puri’ to ‘Jagannath Puri’, a seven member team submitted a memorandum to the Governor of Odisha, Professor Ganeshi Lal on Monday.

The Governor is in the holy town on a three-day visit. The team called on the Governor at his ‘Summer Resort’ (Rajbhawan, Puri) and put forth the demand through a memorandum which the latter has accepted.

The team argued that earlier, the town was recognised as Jagannath Puri or Purushottam Dham. But later the British East India Company conspired and changed the name to only ‘Puri’.

As per the memorandum, the name Puri creates confusion among tourists because, there are Dwarka Puri, Mathura Puri and other places which share the same name, Puri. So, by adding ‘Jagannath’ to the name, the town can have its own identity for which it is already famous across the world.

The renaming will be apt given the religious sentiments associated with this town, they argued.

Senior Servitor, Ramachandra Das Mohapatra who was a member of the team, told reporters, “Whenever we go out of Odisha, everybody recognises the town as Jagannath Dham. The name Puri confuses people in other states and they could not relate it to Lord Jagannath as there are other Puris too.”

“The Governor was happy receiving the memorandum and assured us to help renaming the town in his capacity,” Das Mohapatra added.

Hector Mishra, another member of the team said, “As per the ancient scriptures, the name was Purushottam Kshetra. During the Moghul period, the town was called Jagannath Dham. But when the British East India Company came and they carved out Odisha and Bihar from West Bengal, they shortened the name to Puri only.”

“I request all to join this movement and sharpen the voice to put pressure on the government so that the name can be restored to Jagannath Puri again,” Mishra said.

Earlier, a proposal for this momentous decision was placed for discussion during the meeting of Sri Jagannath Temple Administration on November 3 this year.

The proposal was accepted by Gajapati Maharaj Dibyasingha Deba who chaired the managing committee meeting in the presence of the shrine Chief Administrator Krishan Kumar. Both had stated to have assured the members of the managing committee to take due steps in this regard as per law.

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