Odishatv Bureau

Puri: After probe revealed that out of the 16.4 acre land belonging to the Swargadwar, 10.342 acre land has been recorded in the name of as many as 158 persons at various points in time, it is now being alleged that even parts of the existing crematorium have also been encroached upon.

The case in point being the ‘Staircase to Heaven (Swarga Ku Nishuni in local parlance)’ structure, which is built as an adaption of the endeavour of mythical Hindu demon God Ravana to build a staircase to heaven in the Treta Yuga of Hindu Mytholoty. As per allegations, a guest house is now standing on the one of the pillars of the staircase. The other pillar and the Shiva temple are now narrowly squeezed between the encroachments.

The land record numbered 828 and the plot numbered 1,399 clearly state that the said land has been allotted for the staircase and the caretaker of the said land is the Sri Jagannath Temple Management Committee.

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“It has been clearly mentioned in the revenue records that the land is religious place and a historical place. However, a hotel has been built over the staircase and the Mahadev temple. People come looking for the staircase but they don’t find it,” said President of the Belabhumi Suraksha Parishad, Jagannath Bastia.

“This place measures 14 decimal out of which 4 decimal is allotted to the temple. The total 14 decimal land is intact. The said hotel is built on a different patch of land,” said hotel owner, Nityanand Sahoo.

The encroachment on the symbolic Staircase to Heaven has elevated concerns among the Jagannath Culture lovers and voices are being now raised to reclaim the structure.

“The Swargadwar is the pride and glory of Sri Kshetra Puri. It is the duty of everyone to protect the Swargadwar, the staircase and the sentiments of devotees,” said Sri Jagannath Culture expert, Suryanarayan Rathasharma.

“How the land has gone into their hands and under whose permission they have built a hotel needs to be probed. We demand that all the structures should be reclaimed so that the devotees are able to witness them,” said convenor of Sri Jagannath Sena, Priyadarshan Patnaik.