Bhubaneswar: The Puri Jagannath temple management will shortly make yet another effort to open the doors of the inner chambers of the ratna bhandar, the treasury of the deities.
It will be the fourth attempt by the temple management in the last 40 years to open the inner chambers of the treasury. The first attempt of the recent past was made in 1978 and subsequent attempts were made in 1992 and 2014. However, all the attempts had ended in a failure.
During the first attempt in 1978, workers feared to enter inside the chambers hearing hissing of snakes. The other two attempts could not be successful due to protest of the servitors.
The treasury has seven chambers. Of these, the temple management uses only two – the bahar bhandar (outer treasury) and the bheetar bhandar (inner treasury). The remaining five have remained locked since time immemorial. No one knows the exact amount of gold and other ornaments stored there.
In the two chambers of the treasury, which have been opened, there are 150 items of gold, including three gold necklaces, golden feet, golden hand and gold crowns, and other ornaments studded with precious stones. The wealth lies in the outer treasury.
The inner treasury contains 180 items of jewellery, which include 74 items of pure gold ornaments, silver articles, pearls, diamonds and corals.
Temple chief administrator P.K. Jena said, “We are planning to repair the nata mandap and the ratna bhandar of the temple. We want to ensure that the treasury is in safe condition. To be able to do so, we will make an inventory of the gold ornaments kept there. There is a sub-committee to look after the ratna bhandar. The treasury will be opened in front of the sub-committee.”
Precious gold and silver jewellery and gems, including pearls and diamonds, of lord Jagannath, goddess Subhadra and lord Balabhadra are stored in the treasury.
Financial advisors to the temple management felt that the expensive jewels and other items inside the ratna bhandar should be insured. The temple treasury has been receiving donations from devotees across the country and even from abroad, the most generous donors being the Hindu kings of Odisha, Maharashtra and Punjab.