Puri: Amid protests from a section of servitors, the doors of the Ratna Bhandar, the mystery-wrapped treasury of Lord Jagannath, will be opened on April 4 for inspection.
This was announced by Shree Jagannath Temple Administration Chief Administrator Pradeep Jena on Monday.
Precious gold jewellery, gems, pearls and rare diamonds, apart from silver and other decorative items of the siblings deities are being kept in the secret chambers of the Ratna Bhandar.
Earlier, the Odisha Government granted permission to the SJTA to open the Ratna Bhandar after 34 years for inspection by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI). The Ratna Bhandar was last inspected in 1984 and only three of its seven chambers had been opened then.
Out of the seven chambers, the temple management uses only two — the Bahar Bhandar (outer treasury) and the Bheetar Bhandar (inner treasury). The remaining five are yet to be opened and no one knows the exact amount of gold and other ornaments stashed away in the bhandar
The keys to the treasury are with three persons, including the Puri King who is the chairman of the temple management committee.
Ten people, including two experts of ASI, will be allowed to enter the storehouse of ornaments of the 12th century shrine to inspect its structural stability.
The names of members who would be given permission to enter the secret chamber of the Ratna Bhandar for inspection were approved by the Chhatisa Nijog (an apex body of priests) recently.
The ten-member team will comprise the representative of Puri King Gajapati Maharaj Dibyasingha Deb, four servitors, two members of the ASI Core Committee, two experts of ASI, and Advocate NK Mohanty, who has been appointed as Amicus Curiae by the Orissa High Court to inspect the repair work of Jagamohan, facing the sanctum sanctorum.
The members will be provided a “Gamuchha” (a towel) by the temple administration while entering into the Ratna Bhandar. They will inspect the floor, roof and walls of the Ratna Bhandar and will not touch ornaments.
The Orissa High Court had on March 22 ordered the ASI to examine the condition of Ratna Bhandar and submit a status report on its structural stability.