The BJD leader and Rajya Sabha member Pyarimohan Mohapatra on Sunday touched off a hitherto controversial issue of entry to Puri Jagannath temple. Talking at a workshop on tourism, Mohapatra advocated entry of people of all religions into the temple. This would help increase the State’s tourism potential by 50 per cent, he maintained.
Posted at indianexpress Express News Service , The New Indian Express
The issue of entry of foreigners and people of other religions into Puri temple has remained contentious and often faced strong resistance by the sevayats. In view of the strong feeling, there has been no move in this regard in the past.
But Mohapatra tried to reason it out that the temple should be open to all. Lord Jagannath, he explained, is considered as a universal God. “When Hindus are allowed into mosques and churches elsewhere in the country and abroad, why should there be restriction on entry of people belonging to other religions to the Puri temple,” he asked.
Mohapatra, also the president of Sabara Srikhetra Jagannath temple managing committee since 1972, pointed out that there is no such restriction at the Sabara Srikhetra temple in Koraput. “There is a lot of curiosity among people about the Puri temple and the inflow of tourists will certainly rise if the restriction is removed,” he said. Mohapatra also suggested liberalisation of State’s tourism policy. When places like Goa and Sikkim are earning huge revenue by opening casinos, the same can be done in Orissa as well, he proposed.