SC Permits Puri Jagannath Rath Jatra without Visitors
| Dr Rabindra Narayan Behera, Bhubaneswar Odisha - 22 Jun 2020

With the induction of Information Technology and Internet era  it was decided to make the temple a high tech temple so as to ease the common citizens to get information on various activities, festivals, programme schedule and above all about the chariot festival (Ratha Jatra). Information Technology has paved the way to The Temple administration and Gajapati Maharaja  for better management and decision making process. 

By Dr Rabindra Narayan Behera from Bhubaneshwar

The Jagannath Temple in Puri is a famous Hindu temple dedicated to Jagannath (Vishnu) and located in the coastal town of Puri in the state of Odisha, India. The name Jagannath (Lord of the Universe) is a combination of the Sanskrit words Jagat (Universe) and Nath (Lord of). Shri Shri Jagannath Mahaprabhu lord of the Universe is the supreme solace and savior of countless devotees around the world. since time immemorial, His monumental and magnificent Shrine at Shri Purusottam-Kshetra (Puri, Orissa) one of  the four major Dhamas of India has been a most sacred centre of pilgrimage and worship symbolising and uploading one of the greatest spiritual and cultural heritages of the world.

The temple was built in the 11th century atop its ruins by the progenitor of the Eastern Ganga Dynasty, King Anantavarman Chodaganga Deva, grandson of Chola emperor Virarajendra Chola and nephew of Emperor Kulothunga Chola I. The temple is famous for its annual Rath Jatra, or chariot festival, in which the three main temple deities are hauled on huge and elaborately decorated temple cars. The most frequently depicted theme involves the holy Triad of the Jagannath Temple - Lord Jagannath, Balabhadra and Subhadra  and Sudarsan Chakra

Devotees across the Globe visit Puri  through out the year  to have a darshan of Lord Jagannath. Since time immemorial they stay in hotels, Mathas, Ashramas and dharmasalas, take various foods in and around Puri, do shopping and donate to Lord Jagannath in different means. They take Mahaprasad  and other dry foods in the temple premises. Gradually the increase of population and created lots of problem for both Temple administration, Sebayats and the pilgrims. 

With the induction of Information Technology and Internet era  it was decided to make the temple a high tech temple so as to ease the common citizens to get information on various activities, festivals, programme schedule and above all about the chariot festival (Ratha Jatra). Information Technology has paved the way to The Temple administration and Gajapati Maharaja  for better management and decision making process. 

With this view a dedicated computer lab with computer professionals are posted in the Temple Management Office at Puri near to the Temple since last 20 years. Computers are also installed inside temple premises for various automation activities.   The Computerization and automation process is supported by National Informatics Centre and other private organizations. Various high-tech activities which are carried out are as follows:

Shree jagannath Temple Portal (http://www.jagannath.nic.in/www.shreejagannatha.in):  With innovation of modern technology and internet era devotees  around the world can have the Darshan of Lord Jagannath on their  computers with internet facility. The portal (http://www.jagannath.nic.in) was the first website of Odisha in Government sector which was originated in the year 1998 and subsequently modified at various levels. It facilitates devotees, researchers  and all  religious groups to know about Shree Jagannth Temple, Lord Jagannath, Balabhadra, Subhadra and Sudarshan, History of temple, Ratha Jatra, Navakalevar, Festivals, Mathas and  Ashramas, Daily worship details, Accommodations and tourist attractions in and around Puri. They can know more about different Vesas(Costumes) of the Lord, Jagannath Culture. Online donation facilities by devotees was added on later period. The web site have beautiful photos and videos of Lord Jagannath, Temple, Sea Beach and other related areas. The website is now migrated to www.shreejagannatha.in
 

Online Donation to Shree Jagannath Temple (Jagannath.nic.in/www.shreejagannatha.in): A common man having Net Banking facility / Credit Card facility can donate to the Shree Jagannath Temple Administration for performing different  rituals and renovation. A web based portal in this respect was developed and hosted. The e-payment gateway of  HDFC  bank is  taken for transaction through credit card. For Net Banking different Banks like Punjab National Bank, HDFC and various other Banks are integrated to the system.

  • Temple banks  provide MIS about donors name, address, amount of donation  to Jagannath Temple Management.
  • Jagannath temple web site provides  MIS to Jagannath Temple Management in a confidential manner  about  donors, donation, bank, credit cards etc details.
  • Both the MIS reports account after cross verification if it matches they the donation process is foolproof.

Temple administration  can now manage the donation  through internet.

Web Casting of Rath Jatra(Chariot Festival): Every year Doordarsahan and other TV channels telecast the Rath Jatra(Chariot Festival) live. But this is available to TV viewers only.  With the introduction of Modern Technology, with collaborative effort of Shree Jagannath Temple Administration, National Informatics Centre and Doordarshan live web cast of the Rath Jatra is done every year since last 6 years  through internet portal www.jagannath.nic.in and www.rathjatra.nic.in and www.webcast.gov.in . Webcast is an event to spread live video of the event through internet across the globe. Devotees across the World those who can neither come to Puri nor can watch television can watch the live video streaming  through internet.  A web cast lab for NIC Odisha State Center is  set up with  Computer, TV, DISC TV and other web casting equipments to facilitate this service in collaboration with NIC, New Delhi.  Citizens across the globe could visualize the festivals  live in the web and submit their suggestions, queries and interact with Temple administration through this portal.

Accommodation:  Online accommodation facilities are provided at Niladri Bhakta Niwas, Shree Gundicha Bhakta Niwas  and Nilachala Bhakta and Yatri Niwas at https://accomodation.jagannath.nic.in

Ratha  Jatra in the Pandemic Covid19 Period:  This year the famous  Ratha Jatra (Chariot Festival) is held on 23rd June 2020. Hon’ble Supreme Court has disallowed the Ratha Jatra this year due to Covid 19 onits first judgment. On intervention of Gajapati Maharaja Sri Dibyasingha Dev , Puri Dham Sankaracharya, Government  of Odisha  and Government of India Hon’ble Prime Minister and ublic Demand a review petition was filed before Hon’ble Supreme Court.  Finally  Hon’ble Supreme Court has given permission for only Puri Jagannath Ratha Jatra without and visitors following Covid19 guidelines.  So this year  devotees will  visit the Ratha Jatra through this portal and live web cast through www.shreejagannatha.in, www.jagannath.nic.in, www.rathjatra.nic.in, www.odisha.gov.in  and www.webcast.gov.in and electronic  channels both TV and Utube.  Online accommodation booking is stopped due to covid19.

So the automation of Shree Jagannath temple is a major breakthrough to facilitate citizens, devotees, researchers  from all religions to know about Jagannath Culture, The Temple, Lord Jagannath and have  a  visual Darshan of the Lord and Rath Jatra and able to donate online through credit and net banking facility against the big challenge of Covid19. The concept of “Basudhaiba  kutumbakam”  originated by Jagannath Culture is   being  made live through this  internet  portal  which has facilitated the Global Village to have darshan of the Lord in their desk top,Laptop and mobile. 

Dr Rabindra Narayn Behera, the Author is a social activist and writer and can be reached at twitter @DrRNBehera2016


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