Odishatv Bureau

Puri: The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) today gave permission for the entry of the devotees inside the Jagamohan and garbha griha of Shri Jagannath temple after completing its temporary repair and restoration work.

However, the Shri Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA) said it will take a final decision on the entry of devotees only after it receives a written report from the ASI.

Talking to OTV today, Dr Ashok Kumar Patel, Director (Monuments) ASI, said the repair of Jagamohan has been completed as per the decision taken by the expert committee during its inspection on July 8 this year.

“Like previous years, the repair and restoration work of Jagamohan has been smoothly conducted this year. The scaffolding pipes on the first floor of the Jagamohan has been cleaned and applied with anti-corrosive paint. Besides, the holes which we had made on the first floor of Jagamohan this year have been widened a bit so that the hot air inside it would pass through these holes. The lower portion of the garbha griha has also been chemically cleaned,” Patel said.

He further said the most important work taken this year was the repair of the beams of Jagamohan. ASI has given support to the beams on which cracks had appeared. “This is a temporary support. Permanent repair would be taken up only after the IIT-Madras and other expert teams take a final decision in this regard,” he pointed out.

Patel further said the north-west column capital of Jagamohan has been repaired meticulously.

“We have strengthened this pillar through boring, grouting and making it completely waterproof. The Temple Administration has confined that portion. ASI has also repaired the three other pillars which would be confined by the Temple Administration. I don’t know when the Temple Administration would confine these three pillars. But it is its responsibility to confine these three pillars,” he noted.

He, however, said steel framing of the pockets of Jagamohan has been temporarily put on hold as per the order of the ASI Director General. “We are waiting for the recommendation of the IIT-Madras and other experts. Steel framing work will be taken up as per their recommendation,” he added.

Asked whether the devotees can enter into the temple through Jagamohan after its repair, he said the devotees can have the darshan of the deities inside Jagamohan. "But it is the Temple Administration to take a call on this matter,” he said.

Talking about the other repair works inside the temple that ASI has completed, Patel said the drain inside the temple was lying choked for a long time. "To clean the drain, we had to dismantle the water tank built on it. After dismantling, we have cleaned the drain and laid poly pipes inside it to ensure there is no blockage," Patel said.

He further informed that ASI had drilled a portion to a depth of 1.52 metres on the southern side of the temple to assess the condition of the basement area of the temple. "After drilling, we have come to know that the temple has been built on a layer of stones."

SJTA chief administrator Suresh Mohapatra said there were two major works in Jagamohan.

“The first is the steel framing of all its pockets, which has been put on hold as the ASI is waiting for the report of experts from IIT-Madras. Secondly, ASI has not taken any decision regarding the support structure to be given to the main beam of the Jagmohan where cracks have appeared. This is a major work to ensure the structural stability of the temple. Considering this, the temple administration will seek a deadline from the ASI for completion of this work. We will allow the devotees only after the ASI informs us in writing that the Jagamohan is safe,” he pointed out.

Mohapatra said a meeting convened by the Union Culture secretary in New Delhi has been cancelled for some reason. “We do not know when the meeting will be held. We will wait for the decision to be taken at the meeting. Until then, we will not allow the devotees to enter into Jagamohan. The devotees will be allowed to have the darshan of the deities from the Bahara Katha of the temple,” he informed.