Puri Bagala Dharmasala to get a facelift

Puri: Carrying a century-old history, Puri’s Bagala Dharmasala, which was once the most sought-after lodging house for thousands of tourists thronging the pilgrim city every year, is all set to get renovated.

The three-storied building is being demolished for construction of a new building which will be fully equipped with VIP suites, bedrooms and dormitories for tourists and devotees.The three-storied building will also have three large halls, parking facilities in the ground floor. The railways will also open up a ticket booking counter.

The new building will be constructed at an estimated cost of Rs 21 crore by the ITDC and the funds will be allocated from the Union Government’s Prasad Yojana.

Named after a philanthropist, Kanheia Lal Bagala who donated his land for the purpose of building, the lodging house is being managed by Puri Lodging House Fund, set up by the Bihar and Orissa Pilgrimage Act of 1920.

The district collector acts as the chairman of the Fund while the municipal executive officer is authorised to look after its day-to-day affairs.

The dharmasala which dates back to the British era had become somewhat defunct due to gross mismanagement over the years.

Technical snag in water supply, disruption and disconnection of power supply, dilapidated condition of its infrastructure, poor condition of lavatories were leading to discontent among the tourists as well as devotees.

Tourists have urged the government to complete the renovation works at the earliest so that people can get the benefits of staying in Puri at affordable rates.

The dharmasala offers lodging facilities at Rs 50 to Rs 60 while the cost is much higher in other places in the city. The administration should try to renovate it soon, said Narasingha Pradhan, a tourist.

On the other hand, the city tourism department has said the renovated building will have facilities for nearly 350 tourists in the dharmasala.

“We have already approved the plan and the project is likely to be completed with a year,” Puri Tourism Officer, Bijay Kumar Jena said.