The lost keys of the inner chambers of the Ratna Bhandar (treasury) have been traced. Bhubaneswar-based English Daily Orissa Post today reported that the lost keys were traced by officials from the district record room in Puri. Two special teams of the Puri district administration found a sealed envelope containing the keys of inner chambers of the Ratna Bhandar, the report said. The envelope has not yet been opened but officials have informed the Shree Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA) about the recovery.
PTI reported early this month that keys of the 12-century Jagannath Temple’s treasury had reportedly gone missing, leading to protests by the Shankaracharya of Puri and the opposition BJP. On April 4, a meeting of the Sri Jagannath Temple Managing Committee had recorded that the keys of the inner chambers of the Ratna Bhandar had gone missing.
According to PTI, following an order of the Orissa High Court, a team comprising 16 members had entered the ‘Ratna Bhandar’ after 34 years on April 4. They had a quick scrutiny of the physical condition of Ratna Bhandar amid tight security. A SJTA official had said after the inspection that the members of the inspection team did not need to enter the inner chamber as the chambers were visible from outside through an iron grill. Howeevr, it later became clear that the members coudn’t enter the inner chambers of the Ratna Bhandar as the keys were not available.
On June 3, Shankaracharya of Puri Swami Nischalananda Saraswati had slammed the Odisha government for the incident, while the opposition BJP sought a clarification from Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on the matter. Saraswati said that the missing Ratna Bhandar keys the state government and the temple administration have failed to discharge their responsibilities.
“The chief minister should give a clarification on how the key of the temple’s inner treasury went missing and who is responsible for it,” PTI had quoted BJP spokesman Pitambar Acharya as saying.