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Vikash Sharma

Following the recovery of a whopping stash of over 500 silver ingots in two phases in 2011 and 2021, the focus is back on the historic Emar Mutt in the pilgrim town of Puri district in Odisha.

A massive operation was launched on Thursday to explore if more treasure is hidden at the Mutt. To arrive at a definite conclusion, special teams from the Puri district administration and Police today carried out physical verification of all the places inside the Mutt premises using metal detectors.

The gadgets have reportedly detected some strong signals emanating at a place in front of the deities’ chamber and the entry point. The old chests, treasury and cupboards were also checked in the presence of the Mahant, who is in-charge of the Emar Mutt, representatives of Endowments Commission, Mutt Trust Board and members of the Shree Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA).

The inspection was carried out following requests by the newly formed Trust Board made to the Endowments Commission. The Trust Board suspects there might be more treasure hidden in the Mutt premises. Narayan Ramanuj Das, the Mahant (In-charge) said that there is a need to deploy more advance equipment as the present detectors can signal the presence of buried articles below 1.5 to 2 ft of the ground.

“One to two places have been marked and the matter will be placed before the Trust Board and afterwards the resolution will be forwarded to the Commissioner for appropriate action,” said Das.

Puri Sub-Collector, Binay Kumar Das said, “As of now, no such material was detected during today’s inspection. We will take appropriate action on the report of the technical team which scanned the premises.”

It is pertinent to mention here that 522 silver ingots weighing over 18 tonnes were recovered from the Emar Mutt on February 25, 2011. The treasure then valued over Rs 90 crore was recovered during investigation of an alleged plan to loot the Mutt by some masons during renovation works.

45 silver ingots weighing about 35 kg each had been recovered from Emar Mutt in the second phase of searches on April 10, 2021. 45 silver ingots were recovered from room number 4 which was in a dilapidated condition. All the recovered silver ingots have been kept at the Puri treasury.

The Emar mutt, located in front of the Lion’s gate (Singhadwara) of Jagannath temple, was established on a five acre plot. During the 1866 famine, the Emar Mutt fed hundreds of people. It is suspected several assets and other articles which the mutt received as donation still lie buried inside the premises.

“As per history, the Mutt was so rich that it had the capacity to run the state of Odisha for several days. So far, we have seen silver ingots being recovered from the mutt, but there is no trace of gold as yet. We suspect many things are still buried within the mutt,” said Dr Naresh Chandra Das, Trust Board member.

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