Himansu Shekhar Rout

With the Puri Srimandir Parikrama project all set to be inaugurated on January 17, 2024, the Shree Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA) is on its toes rushing to finish all preparations. It has drawn up a list of temples and guests as invitees to grace the inauguration ceremony which is expected to draw lakhs of devotees from across the country and abroad.

As per reports, in the list of invitees are 857 temples, the Shankaracharyas of Chardham (Four major Hindu shrines), and the king of Nepal. 

On the other hand, devotees and servitors have demanded to ensure smooth and disciplined solemnisation of rituals of the deities on the day. 

The SJTA is bracing up to send invitation cards to 746 Jagannath temples in Odisha and other states, and 111 other religious shrines.   

Sources said the Balasore district has the highest number of temples on the invitee list. As many as 68 Jagannath temples in Balasore, 60 in Ganjam, and 58 each in Cuttack and Khordha, apart from the Srimandir are on the invitee list. 

Some designated teams of the SJTA will venture out to different parts from December 20 and invite the guests with an invitation kit containing the invitation card, Olagi Dhwaja of Lord Jagannath, Mahaprasad, and a brochure of the Srimandir Parikrama Prakalp.      

SJTA chief administrator, Ranjan Das said, "For the grand inauguration of the Parikrama Prakalp, invitations will be sent to major temples, peethas, and dhams across the country, and prominent seers and saints. Servitors and officials of the temple administration will be part of the teams that will invite the guests.”  

Durga Dasmohapatra, a member of the Srimandir Management Committee informed, "The teams will go out on December 19 and 20 to distribute invitations mainly to Jagannath temples across the state and the country. If some invitation cards are left, we will try to send them through post and emails.”   

Besides, to make the occasion special and attractive, the temple and the district administrations have taken up a host of programmes and measures. As per the provisions, a reception hall and an exhibition hall will be set up at the Jagannath Ballabh parking lot, where the guests and devotees will be received upon arrival. The exhibition hall will have pictorial display and illustrations on the history of the Srimnadir, activities of the deities, rituals and festivals of the Lord Jagannath.

A laser show will also be organised at the Municipality Market where stories of the glorious Kanchi expedition will be displayed. The entire pilgrim town of Puri, all mutts and temples will be illuminated with colourful lights.    

Also Read: Under-construction Puri Srimandir Parikrama Project becomes nightmare for commuters, tourists

Expecting a huge rush on the occasion, devotees and servitors have underscored the need for smooth darshan and soleminisation of rituals. Binayak Das Mohapatra, a senior Daitapati servitor said that because of the huge rush of people, the state government and the temple administration should make adequate arrangements for their accommodation, food, and other facilities so that things would go smoothly.

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