Odishatv Bureau

Bhubaneswar: While the Orissa High Court has allowed the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) to carry out an inspection of Puri Srimandir's Ratna Bhandar, the chamber containing Lord Jagannath's treasure trove, on March 26 and 27, Shree Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA) has sought permission from the state government to go ahead with such inspection.

"The inspection will be carried out only for the sake of assessment of structural condition of the inner chambers by members of a technical committee. There is no intention whatsoever to inspect any articles or other things. If the state government allows then only we will move forward," Chief Administrator (Rituals), Pradeep Kumar Das said.

According to sources, in 1978, a detail inspection of the valuables stashed inside the Ratna Bhandar was carried out which took a total of nearly 70 days to complete. Statistics revealed that there are 598 different types of diamonds, pearls and other extremely valuable items out of which 31 are used for embellishing the three deities during several occasions and rituals.

This is the reason why all eyes are now on what procedures will be followed by the authorities to inspect the chamber.

"Despite being attacked 18 times during its long history, foreign forces managed to loot only the valuables present in the outer chambers but not from the inner precincts where the security is extremely tight. So, we should be very careful to maintain that level of security during inspection," Historian Dr Surendra Mishra said.

"The Ratna Bhandar was opened during Nandini Satpathy led-government and then again in 1984 for Chita repair of Lord Jagannath. But all the chambers were not opened so we want that this time the government should asses all the chambers inside the Ratna Bhandar and make a detailed assessment about the security and maintenance of the chamber at once," temple managing committee member Ram Chandra Das Mohapatra said.

Earlier today, protesting the decision to open the Ratna Bhandar, servitor Narasingh Pujapanda has sought Puri ADM court's approval for Euthanasia or passive death.

He has also demanded that if the government proceeds with the decision, then they should carry out the inspection in presence of the members of the Chhatisa Nijog and temple managing committee.