Finally, devotees get Puri temple prasad

A servitor carries mahaprasad outside the Jagannath temple in Puri on Friday. Picture by Sarat Patra

Bhubaneswar: Normality returned to the Puri Jagannath temple on Friday with devotees tasting abhada - cooked mahaprasad offered to the deities - after four days.

Pilgrims thronged the shops at the temple market, popularly known as Ananda Bazar, to buy the offerings made to Lord Jagannath and his siblings.

Temple public relations officer Lakshmidhar Pujapanada said the situation on Friday was completely normal with rituals being conducted smoothly and on time. " Mahaprasad is available at the Anand Bazar," he added.

However, no decision has been taken on the demand of the suar sevayats for compensation against the losses sustained by them on April 16 when the mahaprasad cooked by them could not be offered to the deities. The mahaprasad that could not be sold was later buried on the temple premises.

The Suar Mahasuar Niyog secretary Krushna Chandra Samantara said their demand for compensation still stood and if necessary they would move the court in the matter. Asserting that the niyog members had never shied away from discharging their duties, he blamed the administration for the problems that the temple witnessed during the last four days when the devotees could not get abhada.

"Some administrators wanted to prove their superiority," he said.

The tussle between the temple administration and the servitors has been going on for past sometime. This had led to delay in the conduct of rituals on April 16 when Jagmohan was reopened for the devotees after two years following repairs. The delay resulted in the mahaprasad cooked by the suar sevayats not being offered to the deities and thus remaining unsold.

Orissa High Court on Thursday had steered clear of the controversy over the restriction on the entry of servitors to sanctum sanctorum of the temple saying that it was a matter to be resolved by the state government and the shrine administration.

Sources said while the temple's niti (ritual) administrator had submitted a report on the situation in the shrine, chief temple administrator Pradeep Jena was trying his best to ensure cordial relations with the sevayats to ensure that there was no disruption in conducting rituals and devotees go back satisfied.

"The temple administration always does its best to ensure that the shrine's affairs run smoothly," said sources.


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