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Jagannatha Puri Ponders Temple Entrance Policy

by www.newindpress.com

Posted December 5, 2005


BHUBANESWAR, INDIA, November 25, 2005: Will January 2006 bring cheer to the Hindus, Buddhists and Jains of foreign origin by opening the doors of Shri Jagannath Temple along with several other Hindu places of worship, which have so far been out of bounds for them? Well, it just might. For, all those who have a say in the matter are set to assemble at Muktimandap of Shri Jagannath Temple and take a decision on the centuries-old tradition. As a heated debate rages whether to or not to allow Hindus, Buddhists and Jains of foreign origin into the Hindu temples, most particularly the 12th Century Shri Jagannath Temple, Puri Shankaracharya Nischalananda Saraswati is expected to convene a meeting with the Gajapati Maharaja of Puri, Sevayats (servitors), temple administration and the Government representatives to discuss the issue by December-end.


Sources close to Shankaracharya, who is on a religious trip outside the State, said, he is aware of the development and is keen to sort it out in consultation with the stake-holders. "He will return to Puri by the last week of December and would initiate the discussions immediately,'' sources said emphatically. The move of the Shankaracharya assumes significance as he heads Muktimandap, which is the apex decision-making body of the temple and whose verdict is also accepted by other Hindu temples and places of worship. Even Hindu organizations like Vishwa Hindu Parishad have called for relaxation of the tradition and allowing Hindus, Buddhists and Jains of non-Indian origin to enter the Jagannath Temple.