Mrunal Manmay Dash

Srimandir Parikrama Project will be inaugurated on January 17 at Puri with much fanfare. Shree Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA) is on its toes rushing to finish all preparations. The three-day long Maha Yajna began on Makar Sankranti, yesterday as a prelude to the inauguration of the project.

While the pilgrim town braces for the inauguration of much-awaited project, let us know some major points of the project.

1- The project was conceived in 2016 and announced in December 2019.

2- The project got delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic as well as the issuance of draft by-laws by the National Monuments Authority (NMA) for the temple in January 2021 that prohibited any construction work within a 100-metre periphery of the temple.

3- The project is valued at Rs 3,700 crore. It includes sub-projects like the redevelopment of the SJTA building, parking places, Srimandir reception centre, Shree Setu, Jagannath cultural center, toilets, clock rooms, Badadanda heritage streetscape, beachfront development, Puri Lake, and Musa river revival plan.

4- The ‘Bada Danda’ has been adorned with ‘Jhoti Chita’ (traditional Odia art), and the stretch from the Yajna Mandapa towards all the four Dwaras (doors) of Srimandir has been decorated with flowers.

5- The government has invited religious heads from 90 religious institutions in India and Nepal, along with the four Shankaracharyas, for the inauguration.

6- The state government has invested in constructing a 2.3 km-long 4-lane Shree Setu (trumpet bridge) at a cost of Rs 200 crore to provide direct access to tourists, aiming to avoid traffic congestion inside Puri.

7- Additionally, a 630-meter-long road (Shree Danda) costing Rs 90 crore is being constructed. It connects the multi-level car parking inside Jagannath Ballav pilgrim center to Dolabedi, bypassing the Bada Danda (Grand Road).

8- The Odisha government has declared January 17 as a public holiday in view of the inauguration of the Shree Jagannath Parikrama project in Puri. Government offices, schools, and colleges across the state will remain closed on this day.