Puri, Aug 8: The Shree Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA) of Puri may open ‘Bhitara Ratna Bhandar’ (inner treasure house) after 38 years to assess its structural stability and safety.
The SJTA Chairman, Gjapati Maharaja Dibyasingha Deb, has urged for the repair of Ratna Bhandar by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) following the deteriorating condition of its inner structure.
In the SJTA meeting held on Saturday, the representatives of servitors also demanded the opening of the Bhitara Ratna Bhandar for repair.
On April 4, 2018, a 16-member team had entered the outer chamber of the ‘Ratna Bhandar’ and made scrutiny of its physical condition following an order of the Orissa High Court.
However, the team failed to inspect the inner chamber as the keys were missing. As far as it was visible from the outside through an iron grill, the structures were not in good condition with water seeping through walls and the roof.
Later, the Puri district administration found the “duplicate keys” of the treasury, kept in a brown sealed envelope, inside the locker of the district record room in June 2018. “Duplicate keys of Ratna Bhandar” was written on the envelope.
After four years, the Puri Gajapati Maharaja and servitors have once again raised the demand for the opening of the inner treasure house.
“We saw the Bhitara Ratna Bhandar from outside through an iron grill. We spotted water seepage and rubbles of lime plaster inside it”, said senior Daitapati servitor Ramachandra Das Mahapatra, who was a member of the 16-member team. Besides, several boxes were seen unlocked and a few gold ornaments were lying unattended, he added urging repair of it.
The Bhitara Ratna Bhandar was last inspected in 1984 and only three of its seven chambers had been opened then.
According to the Record of Rights-4, 1952, there are 150 varieties of gold jewelry inside the “Bahar Bhandar” (outer treasury) and precious gems including diamonds and other ornaments of gold and silver are kept inside the Bhitara Bhandar.