Lord to get new abode at Patali - Puri king lays foundation stone of Jagannath temple

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  • Published 6.07.12

Sonepur, July 5: Puri king Gajapati Dibyasingh Deb today laid the foundation stone for a proposed Jagannath temple on top of the Chhalia hills at Patali Srikshetra, about 20km from here.

As the hillside at Kotasomalai echoed to the chanting of hymns, the Brahmins from Puri, who accompanied the Gajapati, performed the auspicious bhoomi puja, after which the temple construction would start.

Describing it as an historic event, the Gajapati said the efforts of local people for setting up a Jagannath temple here had moved him.

“This place had been the abode of Lord Jagannath for nearly 144 years. Here, in a cave, the Lord was hidden to dodge the attack by Raktabahu and Kalapahad. It is a holy place. The temple should come up soon and all rituals as per the Puri temple should be followed here,” he said, appealing to the people to keep away from controversy.

“This place should be above any kind of controversy and an attraction for religious and spiritual tourism,” he said.

Last year, during the Patali Mahotsav, the idols of Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra and Goddess Subhadra, donated by the Puri temple administration to the Patali Srikshetra Management Committee, were installed in the existing temple at Kotasomalai.

In 2007, a team of Jagannath cult researchers and Puri temple servitors, led by temple administrator Suresh Mahapatra, visited Kotsomalai village and concluded that Lord Jagannath had been indeed hidden in a cave of the nearby Trikuta hills for 144 years. Accordingly, the Puri temple administration granted “Patali Srikshetra” status to Kotasomalai.

Minister of culture and tourism Prafulla Samal said the government would try to arrange for funds up to Rs 1 crore from the 13th Finance Commission for the temple construction and peripheral development.

“We will see to it that the chief minister recommends for funds from the 13th Finance Commission for construction of the temple. I wish to see Patali Srikshetra developed as a place of ecological and spiritual tourism. I will do my best to see that the mission is fulfilled. We have also decided to build a tourist bungalow here,” Samal said.

The forest department had approved allotment of one hectare for the temple, said minister for forest and environment Debi Prasad Mishra. “The Patali Srikshetra area comes under reserve forests. But, we have cleared one hectare for the temple. If the Patali Srikshetra management requests us for more land, we may consider it,” he said.

Chairman of the Patali Srikshetra Trust and Sonepur district collector Gagan Bihari Swain said a “mission” had been fulfilled. “It is like a dream come true. Much before I came to Sonepur as the collector, I dreamt of a temple being built here,” he said.