Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik today inaugurated the Rs 800-crore heritage corridor project, which aims at providing improved amenities for pilgrims around the historic Shree Jagannath Temple in Puri.
The Srimandir Parikrama Prakalpa was officially unveiled by Mr Patnaik in presence of Gajapati Maharaja of Puri Divyasingha Deb and representatives of about 90 temples, including the Pashupatinath Temple in Nepal, Mahakal Temple in Ujjain, Kashi Vishwanath Temple in Kashi, Jagannath temples in Dubai, Australia and UK, and thousands of devotees.
“The project has been possible due to the blessings of Lord Jagannath,” the Chief Minister said.
It includes parking areas, a new bridge and a road to ease pilgrim movement, a pilgrimage centre, restroom facilities, cloakrooms, toilets and other amenities for devotees in and around the Jagannath temple, officials said.
After inaugurating the project, Mr Patnaik walked bare feet along with Puri’s titular king Divyasingha Deb and other dignitaries in a procession around the temple.
The pilgrim town of Puri has been decked up with flowers, colourful lights and graffiti for the occasion.
Shree Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA) chief administrator Ranjan Kumar Das said a hall fitted with large digital screens has been set up in the corridor for 900 guests.
“… All arrangements are in place. The administration has made Shree Marg (a new road), Shree Setu (a new bridge) and the Jagannath Ballav Parking area functional,” Puri Collector Samarth Verma said.
Meanwhile, security has been bolstered in the temple town, with the deployment of 90 platoons (1 platoon comprises 30 personnel) of police force.
Apart from CCTV surveillance, the police have engaged bomb disposal and anti-sabotage teams, as well as dog squads, in the area, DGP Arun Kumar Sarangi said.
The state government had earlier declared Wednesday as a public holiday.
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