The Jagannath Temple Management Committee has approved a Rs 800-crore heritage corridor project aimed at redeveloping the surrounding area of the 12th century shrine, sources said on Tuesday. The Jagannath Temple at Puri is an architectural wonder and a great tourist attraction. The Jagannath Temple committee, during a meeting chaired by Gajapati Maharaha of Puri, Divyasingha Deb approved the proposal for the herirage corridor project. The temple administration will seek the approval of the National Monuments Authority, Archaeological Survey of India and the Puri-Konark Development Authority before starting work on June 1.
The project includes plans to beautify and develop the 75-metre corridor around the Jagannath Temple’s boundary walks (meghanada pacheri), set up the Shree Jagannath Reception Centre and conserve temples in various mutts linked with rituals of Lord Jagannath, officials said.
According to the officials, the mutts were earlier demolished by the district administration to create open spaces around the temple to develop the heritage corridor. The heritage corridor project will be undertaken under the Augmentation of Basic Amenities and Development of Heritage and Architecture at Puri (ABADHA) scheme, which was approved by the state cabinet in 2019.
The scheme envisages to make Puri a world-class tourist and religious centre at an expenditure of Rs 3,200 crore. The heritage corridor is expected to be completed by February 2022, chief temple administrator Krishan Kumar said.
The project aims at providing an expansive and unobstructed path around the ‘meghanada pacheri’, dividing the corridor into nine layers. The Jagannath heritage corridor project was approved days after the Centre withdrew its notification for the draft heritage bylaws for temple.
Noting that as many as 50 meetings with experts were held before approval of the project, Mr Kumar said according to the plan, a 55-metre stretch of the 75-metre corridor, from the temple boundary will be declared no-parking zone and movement of vehicles will not be allowed.
Battery-operated vehicles will be introduced on the stretch for devotees to commute to the shrine free of cost. The Shree Jagannath Reception Centre, with a capacity of 6,000 people will be built in an open space for management of queues.
A luggage scanning system, cloakroom for keeping belongings, drinking water facilities and washrooms are some of the other features of the heritage corridor, the official added. A book shop will also come up at the reception centre that will provide souvenirs and journals to devotees.