The Puri Jagannath temple authorities on Saturday allowed the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), the custodian of the 12th century shrine, to conduct a structural lidar survey of the Lord’s Ratna Bhandar (treasure chest) to examine its structural status. Laser scanning is a process to ascertain if there are cracks and damage on stone walls. “We have allowed the ASI to undertake laser scanning of the Ratna Bhandar and the agency will conduct it keeping in view the rush of devotees in the temple,” Shree Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA) Chief Administrator Ranjan K Das said. The laser scanning is likely to be done after the holy month of Kartik, October end to November end, he said.
From an article in Hans India.
“Every stone of the Ratna Bhandar will be scanned and documented to reveal even the minute cracks. The documentation will be used to plan conservation and evaluate the condition of the physical structure of the Ratna Bhandar,” an ASI official said. The issue was raised at the SJTMC meeting chaired by Gajapati Maharaja Dibyasingha Deb, the titular king of Puri. “The committee decided to allow the ASI to carry out laser scanning of the Ratna Bhandar after discussing a proposal from various angles,” he said.
Earlier, concerns were expressed from different quarters over the structure of the Ratna Bhandar and its inventory. The Ratna Bhandar has not been opened since 1978. The temple managing committee earlier decided to recommend to the Odisha government to allow the ASI to open and carry out repair work of the Ratna Bhandar during the Rath Yatra next year. Two PILs were filed at the Orissa High Court seeking its direction for opening of the treasure chest. In response to a question, Das said the construction work for Shree Jagannath Heritage Corridor project will be dedicated to the people on January 17 next year.
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