Ten people, including two experts of Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), will be allowed to enter the Ratna Bhandar (storehouse of ornaments) of Shree Jagannath Temple to inspect its structural stability, a senior administration official of the 12th century shrine said today.
The Orissa High Court had on March 22 ordered the ASI to examine the condition of Ratna Bhandar and submit a status report.
A meeting of Chhatisa Nijog (an apex body of priests) last evening decided on the names of members, who would be given permission to walk into the repository for its inspection, the chief administrator of Shree Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA), PK Jena, told reporters here.
Puri SP Sarthak Sarangi was also present at the meeting along with temple administration officials and priests, he said.
The ten-member team will comprise Puri King Gajapati Maharaj Dibyasingha Deb or his representative, 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.
“The Chhatisa Nijog meeting has decided that the 10 members would be thoroughly searched before and after the inspection,” Jena said.
Each member of the team will have to submit his individual report on the condition of the Ratna Bhandar on the same day of inspection, he said.
“The team members will be provided a “Gamuchha” (a towel) while entering into the Ratna Bhandar. They will inspect the floor, roof and walls of the Ratna Bhandar.
“None of them will be allowed to touch the jewellery boxes inside the repository. There will be arrangements for light and oxygen inside the Bhandar, which was last opened in 1984,” Jena explained.
Earlier this week, an ASI team inspected the Ratna Bhandar from outside and said its outer surface is in good condition.
The High Court has been monitoring the repair work in the 12th century shrine since 2016 in response to a PIL seeking judicial intervention for effective renovation of the temple.