Odishatv Bureau

Puri: After a gap of 4 days, devotees and tourists thronging Puri Srimandir heaved a sigh of relief today as they were served 'Mahaprasad'- the food offered to Lord Jagannath.

The Anand Bazaar where the 'Mahaprasad' is sold looked very lively today after four days of lifelessness. Devotees were seen jostling with each other to have Mahaprasad in the Anand Bazaar.

“After coming to know about the controversy we thought we would miss 'Abhada', but felt so lucky when we saw Mahaprasad being served,” an elated devotee said.

Normalcy also returned to the conduct of rituals as ‘Sakala Dhoopa’, ‘Jatarangi Mahasnana’ and ‘Madhyana Dhoopa’ of deities were carried out on time today.

Over the last four days, ‘Mahaprasad’ was not available to devotees after a delay in rituals of the Lord Jagannath triggered a rift between ‘Suara-Mahasuar Nijog' and the temple administration over unsold ‘Abadha (Mahaprasad)’ on April 16.

The servitors’ body has been demanding Rs 50 lakh compensation for losses due to wastage of the Abadha.

Earlier on Thursday, the Orissa High Court expressed displeasure over non-availability of Mahaprasad and delay in rituals of Lord Jagannath following which the servitors’ body halted their protests and assured to cooperate in restoring normalcy in the functioning of the temple.

Rapping the state government for wrong interpretation of its order, the High Court clarified that it only reviewed the temple repair works and didn’t pass any orders pertaining to the rituals of Srimandir.

“We withdrew our protests following High Court’s order and after a consensus with the state government on the compensation for the wasted 'Abadha'. We have always been suffering losses due to any kind of disruption in rituals since we have a window of a few hours within which we have to serve the 'Mahaprasad' to the Lord and then make it available in Anand Bazaar. But the state government has assured that it will look into our various demands and ensure that we do not face such losses in future,” servitor Madhusudan Suara said.

Meanwhile, senior servitor Binayak Das Mohapatra said that “In the coming days, demands will also be raised before the state government to allow devotees free of cost into the 'Garbha Gruha' for at least an hour.”

The High Court has ruled that as per the recommendations of the BP Das Commission, no one other than Palia servitors can go inside the 'Garbha Gruha.'