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Odishatv Bureau

Bhubaneswar: The Shrimandir Project Sub Committee has approved a proposal for construction of more than 200 rooms to provide accommodation to the large number of tourists visiting Puri.

Briefing newsmen after the meeting, chief administrator of Shri Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA) Suresh Chandra Mohapatra said the committee approved a number of proposals of which priority was given to more and better accommodation for tourists during their visit to the pilgrim town.

“It has been decided that two big accommodation projects, with more than 200 rooms, would be constructed near the Town Police Station and near the Jail. A master plan has been prepared for construction of these projects. The tendering process for construction of these projects would begin shortly. Plans are also afoot for construction of new dharmasalas,” Mohapatra said.

The SJTA chief said efforts are on to bring temple lands, which are in the name of some of the mutts, under the possession of the Temple Managing Committee as per the directive of the Supreme Court.

“After taking possession, rest sheds for tourists would be constructed on such land,” he added.

Mohapatra also informed that the Sub Committee had approved another project on construction of a pathway along the boundary of the temple at a cost of Rs 3 crore. The Works department will take up the construction work of the pathway so that the devotees can move around the temple without any hassles.

“We have also decided to develop empty spaces of the mutts around the temple for accommodation of tourists,” he pointed out.

Replying to a question on the resentment of the Shri Mandir Dattamohapatra Nijog on irregularities in the Banakalagi (painting of faces of the Lords with natural colours) ritual, Mohapatra said the temple administration is conducting the ritual in keeping with the timing of other rituals. In fact, the ritual should be performed once a week. “We are trying to give more time for this ritual,” he added.

As per the Records of Rights (RoR) of the temple, Banakalagi ritual is performed each Thursday in a month. The ritual is conducted by the Dattamohapatra sevayats who paint the faces of the Lords with natural colours.

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