By Pradeep Kumar Panda
Bhubaneswar, December 31: Shree Jagannatha is the ‘Aradhya Devata’ of Odias and millions of Hindus across India and the world. He is worshiped as Brahmadaru at his Mula peetha at Puri. The divinity & worship of Shree Jagannatha, as the ‘Lord of Universe’ is as timeless and as infinite as the cosmos itself.
The Shreemandira Parikrama will be a 75-meter corridor around Shree Jagannatha Temple at Puri. The intent of the project is to provide expansive, unobstructed corridors around the Meghanada Pacheri for giving an opportunity to devotees and pilgrims to have visual connect with the Temple, Neelchakra and Meghanada Pacheri. Shreemandira Parikrama will also serve the function of providing amenities for pilgrims and for strengthening safety & security of the temple and devotees.
The dream project of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik is almost complete and will be inaugurated on 17th January 2024. According to one source the Lokarpan Yajna for the project is scheduled to be performed from January 15th to 17th, 2024, with Vedic recitations at the four gates of the temple. Rigveda for the eastern gate, Yajurveda for the southern, Samaveda for the western, and Atharvaveda for the northern gate have been finalized. Uniform painting is underway for prominent structures along the three-kilometer-long Grand Road connecting the Jagannath Temple and Mausima Temple. Vibrant lighting will adorn all temples and subsidiary shrines.
The Puri Shree Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA) and Puri district administration are leaving no stone unturned to make the inauguration ceremony of the much-awaited Srimandir Parikrama (Heritage Corridor) Project a grand success.
About 30 teams comprising servitors and SJTA officials have left for various parts of the country to distribute invitation cards. Among others the invitation cards will be handed over to religious heads of various shrines across the country.
The Shreemandira Parikrama is a 75-meter corridor around Shree Jagannatha Temple at Puri. It will ensure expansive, unobstructed corridors around the Meghanada Pacheri of the temple for giving an opportunity to devotees and pilgrims to have an excellent visual connect with the 12th century shrine. It will also provide amenities for pilgrims and strengthen the safety and security of the temple and devotees.
Taken up at a cost of ₹1,000 crore, the project includes a seven-metre green buffer zone, 10-metre Antar (inner) Pradakshina – pedestrian-only path round the year. It will be used by the general public for parikrama (circumambulation) of the temple. The eight-metre outer circumambulation path would be covered by trees on either side. There will be a 10-metre public convenience zone.
The main project includes 36 major projects including development of a security zone around the temple, creation of parking space for vehicles, flyover and Jagannath Ballav Math Pilgrim Center (JBMPC). The JBMPC is a unique infrastructure that will have meditation space (10,000 square metres), pilgrim amenities (5,000 sq. m.), commercial space (8,000 sq. m.) and multi-level car parking for 1,000 vehicles over 35,000 sq. m.
The project also proposes a queue management facility that can handle 6,000 people, along with security checking facility. Efforts are also being made to redevelop ‘matha’ temples within the 75-metre Shree Jagannath Heritage Corridor. These ‘matha’ temples will be redeveloped in the Kalingan style in general and specific ‘matha’ traditions.
Components of Heritage Corridor
The 75 meters of the Shree Jagannath Heritage Corridor (SJHC) abutting Meghanada Pacheri is broadly divided into nine (9) zones on the northern, southern and western side. These include:
- 7-meter Green Buffer Zone (adjacent to Meghanada Pacheri) : This consists of a 2-meter hardscape area abutting Meghanada Pacheri for access by staff and for maintenance purposes. The remainder 5-meter is a 1-feet high terraced landscape green.
- 10-meter Antar (Inner) Pradakshina : For ceremonial procession of deities year-round and use by general public for parikrama of Shree Mandira complex.
- 14-meter Landscape Zone : These gardens have been designed through meticulous research of the local arboriculture practices. Local varieties of trees and shrub used in Jagannatha Culture will be planted here.
- 8-meter Bahya (Outer) Pradakshina : Covered by trees on either side, this will act as a shaded pathway for visitors / pilgrims.
- 10-meter Public Convenience Zone : Along with plantation of tall trees and shrubs, this zone will have facilities such as restrooms, drinking water fountains, information-cum-donation kiosks, and shelter pavilions for shade and rest.
- 4.5-meter service lane: For access by service vehicles and maintenance of the corridor.
- 4.5-meter-wide dedicated shuttle cum emergency lane for any kind of emergency and disaster management.
- 7.5-meter mixed traffic lane to aid in movement of vehicles around the Heritage Corridor and to ensure access to properties abutting the outer access road as well as the lanes from the neighbouring Sahis meeting this outer access road.
- 7-meter wide shaded footpath with trees is designed adjacent to the mixed traffic lane for a smoother pedestrian flow around the corridor and neighbouring area for people to commute. This will be equipped with parking bays for Sevaks and temple officials. It will also have provision for waste bins, street furniture, drinking water fountain etc.
The eastern plaza of the heritage corridor is proposed as a large open space as many festivals of Shree Mandira including the Rath Yatra starts from here. This will allow large congregation of devotees to take place in a safe and secure environment.
Efforts have been made to redevelop Matha temples existing within 75-meter Shree Jagannath Heritage Corridor (SJHC). These matha temples will be redeveloped by keeping in mind Kalingan style of architecture in general and specific traditions of the concerned matha. Further, this redevelopment will also provide for Garbha Griha, Jagamohana, & Nata Mandapa for all such temples.
The Shree Mandir Parikrama Project is one component of a massive ₹4,224.22 crore project which seeks to transform Puri into a World Heritage City. The ongoing transformation is being described as a once-in-a-century temple development project with which Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik seeks to leave a lasting legacy.
Shree Jagannath cult has the biggest influence on the minds of the Odias. Nothing can impact the minds of the people of Odisha more than the sanctity of the 12th century temple and things attached with lord Jagannath who is considered to be a living god.