Elaborate arrangements have been put in place for opening of the ‘Ratna Bhandar’ (storehouse of ornaments) at Lord Jagannath Temple in Puri on Wednesday, April 4.
The air of mystery surrounding the Ratna Bhandar, and the legends and stories attached to it have created much anxiety among people across the state and the temple administration in particular. It was last opened (only one of the rooms) in 1984.
This time around, the Archaeological Survey of India, which is in charge of protection and conservation of the 12th century Jagannath Temple, sought to open the Ratna Bhandar to check the ceiling and walls – not the ornaments.
A 16-member team comprising ASI officers, select temple priests, representative of the Puri Maharaja, High Court appointed amicus curiae N K Mohanty — all of them wearing dhotis — will first perform puja at the Loknath temple inside the Jagannath Temple premises and then unlock the Ratna Bhadar.
They will take a vow of secrecy on what they see inside the storerooms. Before leaving the temple, they will write their inspection report and submit it to the Chief Administrator of the temple Pradip Jena.
Public darshan of Lord Jagannath will not be allowed from 2 pm onwards when the inspection is scheduled to begin.
Security arrangements have been stepped up outside the temple. Ambulance, snake helpline service etc have been kept ready.
The inspection is likely to be over by 5 pm.