ANI Photo | ‘Historic moment’: Odisha’s Puri gears up for inauguration of Jagannath corridor

If you take a journey from Bhubaneswar to Puri, you will notice strategically placed hoardings on every hundred metres featuring Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, announcing the inauguration of the Sri Jagannath Temple Heritage Corridor project on January 17.
historic moment odishas puri gears up for inauguration of jagannath corridor – The News Mill
In the city of Puri, you will come across dozens of construction workers giving a finishing touch to the corridor and carrying out the beautification of the market area. Government officials are paying visits and keeping a strict vigil as the inauguration date for the ambitious project draws closer.
The corridor, which will be inaugurated on January 17, aims to enhance the visual appeal and surroundings of the iconic Jagannath Temple. The inauguration comes just five days ahead of the Ram temple coronation.
historic moment odishas puri gears up for inauguration of jagannath corridor 1 – The News Mill
Jagannath Temple is one of the four dhammas that every Hindu is advised to visit. Mahaprabhu Shri Jagannath, along with sister Devi Subhadra and elder brother Mahaprabhu Shri Balabhadra, are being worshipped in Puri (the Purusottama Kshetra).
Though no changes have been made in the temple, the area within the 75-metre corridor of the boundary wall of the Jagannath temple has been developed.
historic moment odishas puri gears up for inauguration of jagannath corridor 2 – The News Mill
The Rs 3,700 crore project encompasses various sub-projects, including the redevelopment of the Shree Jagannath Temple Administration building, a 600-capacity Srimandir reception centre, Jagannath cultural centre, Badadanda heritage streetscape, beachfront development, Puri Lake, and Musa river revival plan.
The city of Puri is wearing a new look these days, with priests and locals excited to witness the grand event.
ANI talked to several devotees and priests involved in the ‘sewa’ of the mandir for several generations to understand the importance of this renovation.
“We come to the Puri several times. Last year also, we visited, and we have great faith in ‘maha-prabhu’. This year, the mandir has turned around. It is looking beautiful,” Vikas Saxena, who was standing near the temple entrance with his wife and daughter, said.
“The temple is fully visible. Earlier, there were a lot of shops and we used to face problems during parikrama. Now the area has been cleared. The beauty of the temple has been enhanced,” his wife said while bowing to God.
Several of the devotees who are frequent visitors echo similar sentiments.
“People have a deep faith in Jagannath Puri. They come from every part of the world. During the Rath Yatra, the number increases to lakhs. But the path was very narrow; it was very difficult, and now I feel the people will be able to pray to Prabhu with ease,” Ravi (25) from Delhi said.
The officials said around 17 lakh people participated during the Ratha Yatra last year.
The Shree Mandira Parikrama Project (SMPP) has a 7-metre green buffer zone and a 10-metre pedestrian-only inner circumambulation that will be used for parikrama (clockwise circumambulation) of the temple.
The project also aims to transform the rectangular corridor around the 12th-century Jagannath Temple into a modern pilgrim centre. It will feature amenities such as a queue management system for 6,000 devotees, baggage screening, a cloakroom for 4,000 families, drinking water, toilets, hand and foot washing facilities, information-donation kiosks, shade pavilions, multi-level parking, a dedicated lane for emergency vehicles, an integrated control centre, and a souvenir shop.
One of the Sevayatts who is involved in performing the ritual services at the Jagannath temple quips that God also needs a bigger home.
“It is a historic moment for all of us. We have been waiting for this moment. When our family grows, we buy bigger homes. Earlier, due to a smaller population, there were fewer crowds. Now, every day, thousands of people are visiting. And most of the infrastructure outside was in very dilapidated condition. So change was necessary. We are looking forward to the inauguration,” said the Sevayatts.
The Odisha government has planned an extravagant event to mark the inauguration of the beautification project.
Land acquisition for the project began in November 2019, with over 600 people living around the temple giving up 15.64 acres required for the development of the security zone. The state government has spent around Rs 400 crore to shift the locals and relocate shops to different areas. Moreover, 1600 street vendors were also displaced in the process.
Some of the areas of Muths around the temple were acquired by the government.
Radha Ballabh Math, opposite the Temple, had to give up certain parts of the Math area.
“We gave 13 shops and a few halls. We dont mind giving area if something good is being done. The corridor is important. and it will help people pay a comfortable visit. It is a historic moment for all of us,” he said

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