Open Jagamohan for devotees by Apr 16: HC directs SJTA

Legal State

Cuttack, Apr 10

The Orissa High Court today directed Sri Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA) to open Jagamohan, the hall facing the sanctum sanctorum of Srimandir in Puri, for public by April 16.

Besides, the Court also directed for implementation of the one of the suggestions mentioned by Justice BP Das Commission on Srimandir Reforms which has been duly accepted and approved by the State government. The suggestion is that nobody other than servitors who have rituals to perform inside ‘Garbha Gruha’ (sanctum santorum) be allowed beyond the ‘Bhitara Katha’.

As per the BP Das Commission’s recommendation, the darshan of the deities by the devotees including VIPs shall be restricted only up to Bhitar Katha. As per report, the court which in its previous hearing had passed stricture on SJTA for dilly-dallying on mentioning the specific date in its affidavit for opening of the Jagamohan for public visiting the temple for darshan (obeisance) of the deities, had directed SJTA to mention specific date for opening of Jagamohan to facilitate the repair work of Natamandap (Dancing Hall).

However, SJTA today filed an affidavit seeking time for opening of Jagamohan after August 1 citing different festivals beside commencement of chariot making from Akshaya Tritiya. Expressing extreme displeasure, the division bench of the High Court comprising Chief Justice Vineet Saran and Justice BR Sarangi not only rejected the SJTA’s plea to keep the Jagamohan closed till August 1, but also summoned  temple administrator to appear in person before the court while posting the hearing to the afternoon.

As per the direction, Puri Temple Administrator (Rituals) Pradeep Dash appeared before the court at 2 PM following which the hearing again commenced. The court which then directed to open Jagamohan by April 16 also directed the SJTA to inform about the action taken on the matter while posting the next hearing on the case to April 19.  Notably, the Jagamohan has been kept out of bounds of devotees since the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) took up its repair works two years ago on January 27, 2016.

On March 6, 2018, the ASI informed the Court that it has completed the repair works of Jagamohan and it could be opened for public to facilitate the repair of Natamandap.

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