Mrunal Manmay Dash

In a good news for millions of Jagannath devotees overseas, a grand Jagannath temple will be constructed in London, thanks to the donation of a prabasi Odia businessman.

The proposed temple set to come up in the suburbs of London, will be built with Rs 250 crore donated by a businessman named Biswanath Patnaik, the Chairman of Finnest Group of Companies based in Dorset, England, to Shree Jagannatha Society UK (SJSUK).

This is the first time such a huge amount has been donated by any Indian to construct a temple on foreign soil. Fifteen-acre land has been identified in London and will be acquired at a cost of Rs 70 crore once the due process is completed.

“This is the blessing of Lord Jagannath that we have managed to secure land for the construction of the Temple and I was able to pledge the money. We will complete it as soon as possible,” said Patnaik.

“I am very pleased to inform you that our Chairman has contributed 25 million Great Britain Pounds as a contribution towards the construction of the first Jagannath Temple in London," said the MD of Finnest, Arun Kar.

The first phase of construction is targeted to be completed by the end of 2024.

It is pertinent to mention here that the first Jagannath conference was organized by the Society in England on Akshaya Tritiya. The conference was joined by the Puri King Gajapati Dibya Singha Deb and Queen Maharani Leelavati.

A number of other dignitaries graced the occasion and were felicitated by the trustees of the Society, including Sujit Ghosh, Deputy High Commissioner, Indian High Commission London and Amish Tripathi, noted author.

More than 600 devotees from England and Ireland attended the conference.

SJSUK was set up 3 years ago on the very same auspicious day of Akshaya Tritiya and registered with the Charity Commission for England and Wales.

Meanwhile in Puri, the construction of chariots for Lord Jagannath and his siblings' annual Rath Yatra began on the occasion of the auspicious Akshay Tritiya on Sunday.

The rituals began after the Biswakarma and other Maharana servitors brought the divine garland of consent (Agyan Mala) from Goddess Charchika in front of Srimandir before commencing the chariot construction as per the Vedic rituals at the Ratha Khala on the 'Bada Danda' (grand road).