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Somatirtha Purohit

Swami Nischalananda Saraswati, the Shankaracharya of Puri Govardhan Math has expressed his displeasure over a proposal to change the name of the world-famous pilgrim town of Puri in Odisha to ‘Sri Jagannath Puri’ or ‘Sri Jagannath Dham Puri’.

The proposal for this momentous decision was placed for discussion during a meeting of the Sri Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA) on Tuesday. Earlier this month, the Jagannath Sena had staged a protest near Puri Railway Station and submitted a demand letter for changing the name of the pilgrim town before the Railway officials.

“We do not use the word ‘Puri’ after Ayodhya, Mathura, Ujjain, Haridwar, Kashi, Kanchi and Dwarka though these are also the seven ‘Puris’. Jagannath Puri is the eighth ‘Puri’. Moreover, ‘Puri’ signifies only ‘Jagannath Puri’,” said the Shankaracharya.

He added, “The whole world knows Puri as Jagannath Dham, so there is no need to change the name”.

Earlier this week, Puri District Collector Samarth Verma had assured that the issue surrounding the change in the nomenclature would be raised at higher levels for thorough discussions before an appropriate decision was taken. 

“Every member has put out suggestions and decision will be taken soon,” he added.

The town is famously known all over the world by several names since the ancient times, like Shreekshetra, Nilachal Kshetra, Niladei Vihar Kshetra and Purushottam Kshetra, to name a few.

Meanwhile, top State leaders of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) performed the ‘Mahodadhi Alati’ and took part in Nagar Kirtan as well as various processions in Puri on Friday morning as part of the party’s nationwide programme marking the inauguration of a 12-foot statue of Adi Guru Shankaracharya by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the premises of the Kedarnath Temple in Rudraprayag district of Uttarakhand.

Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, Puri MLA Jayant Sarangi, BJP National Vice President Baijayant Panda, BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra were among the top leaders from the State who were present at the functions.

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