Ratna Bhandar of Jagannath Temple not to open on July 8: Odisha Minister clarifies

Ratna Bhandar of Jagannath Temple not to open on July 8: Odisha Minister clarifies

Puri: Entrance gate of Puri Jagannath Temple

Bhubaneswar, June 20 (IANS) Hours after a senior Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) official said that the Ratna Bhandar (treasury trove) of Shree Jagannath Temple at Puri will be opened on July 8, Odisha Law minister Prithiviraj Harichandan on Wednesday said that the government was yet to take a decision on the matter, adding action will be taken against the official "who misled all" by making the announcement.

"No decision has been taken regarding the opening of Ratna Bhadara in the meeting of Chhatisa Nijog, the apex body of servitors. An ASI official has indiscreetly given a statement in this regard. The government is still in the process of making a decision on this issue. Stringent action will be taken against the official concerned as per the law for making the misleading statement," the Minister said.

Earlier on Wednesday, speaking to mediapersons, D.B. Garnayak, the Superintending Archaeologist of ASI, had claimed that Ratna Bhandar will be opened on July 8. 

The missing keys of Ratna Bhandar was one of the major poll planks of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which had assured to initiate a probe into the mystery behind the missing keys and carry out an inventory of the ornaments stored in the treasure trove if the party wins the elections.

"The Ratna Bhandar will be opened on July 8 in the presence of the technical core conservation committee of ASI and the 12-member Ratna Bhandar committee formed by the state government. Following the inspection and assessment of the condition of the treasury trove of the 12th century shrine, decisions will be taken regarding the immediate steps needed for conservation and preservation of Ratna Bhandar," Garnayak said.

Notably, the Ratna Bhandar of the Jagannath temple has two chambers.

The inner chamber contains precious ornaments used on rare occasions, while those ornaments needed during daily rituals and particular festivals are kept in the outer chamber of the Temple's treasury.

The inner chamber was last opened around 39 years ago, on July 14, 1985.

The inventory of precious ornaments kept in the treasury of Jagannath Temple was conducted in 1978 for the last time.

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