Jaganath Temple To Remain Shut For 4 Hours After Mamataa’s Visit

Banerjee, a devout devotee of Lord Jagannath is scheduled to offer prayer at the Lord Vishnu shrine, one of the four major Dhams for Hindus, at 4 PM.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee

Shree Jaganath Temple here will remain closed for devotees for four hours on Wednesday for a special ritual immediately after West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s scheduled visit to the 12th century shrine, official sources said. 

However, the temple will remain open to the public during her visit. Banerjee, a devout devotee of Lord Jagannath is scheduled to offer prayer at the Lord Vishnu shrine, one of the four major Dhams for Hindus, at 4 PM. She is scheduled to spend around one hour in the shrine.

Apart from offering prayer to sibling deities-Lord Balabhadra, Devi Subhadra and Lord Jagannath, the West Bengal Chief Minister will witness the “Bana Bandha” (tying flag atop temple) ritual as she did during her previous visit.  The temple administration will receive her at the Lion’s Gate. “There is no programme for keeping the temple gate closed for common devotees during visit of VVIP devotees,” a temple staff said adding that she will be provided with required security inside the temple also. 

The official said that immediately after Banerjee’s visit, the temple will remain out of bounds for public for four hours for ‘Banaka Lagi’ or ‘Srimukha Sringara’ ritual of the sibling deities. During this ritual, the idols would be cleaned and fresh organic colour to be coated on the deities to restore their original look, he said. 

As per the temple Record of Rights, this special ritual is performed on ‘Pratipada Tithi’ in the month of Chaitra. Dutta Mohapatra servitors will perform this ritual between 5 pm and 9 pm during which public darshan will remain suspended as it is considered as a secret activity.

Following age-old tradition, servitors prepares ‘Banaka’ by using various types of natural colours like hingula, haritala, kasturi, keshar and the glue of kaintha. The ritual is performed seven to eight times a year.

Although it's a personal trip of the CM, the fiery leader may hold a meeting with Patnaik on Thursday before boarding the return flight to the eastern metropolis on Thursday, other officials said.

This meeting is considered politically significant as the country is headed for Lok Sabha elections in a year's time. Banerjee is one of the driving forces in the opposition.

The two CMs may hold discussions on strategies for the polls, a senior TMC leader said.  Banerjee, however, had skipped a meeting called by Delhi CM and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) supremo Arvind Kejriwal for forming a third front ahead of the 2024 polls.

After a meeting between Yadav and Banerjee earlier this month, the TMC and SP stated they would maintain an equal distance from both the BJP and the Congress and would reach out to regional parties ahead of the polls.