Puri: Union HRD Minister Dharmendra Pradhan marked a significant milestone by laying the foundation stone for development projects worth Rs 100 crore at the Central Sanskrit University in Puri.
The ceremony took place during the inauguration of the 3-day International Seminar on Lakshmi Purana at the Sanskrit University.
During the event, Minister Pradhan initiated the construction of an eight-storey administrative and academic building, a five-storey women’s hostel with a capacity for 300 occupants, and a five-storey guest house featuring a gens hostel.
The focus of the seminar is to explore ways of building a healthier society by transcending the constraints of the caste system. Pradhan emphasized that the primary goal of the program is to empower women through devotion, worship, and prayer.
Earlier in the day, Minister Pradhan paid a visit to the Shree Jagannath temple, where he offered prayers to the trinity. He also inspected the ongoing works at the Nata Mandap.
During his visit, Dharmendra emphasized the importance of the early opening of the Ratna Bhandar, swift completion of the Shreemandir Parikrama Prakalpa (Shreemandir Heritage Project), and the reinstallation of ancient sculptures within the project.
Expressing his contentment after having Darshan of Lord Jagannath during Mangal Alati, Pradhan stated, “I hope the State Government and the Shree Jagannath Temple Administration will take steps for the early opening of the Ratna Bhandar, early completion of Shreemandir Parikrama Prakalpa, and reinstallation of ancient sculptures in the project.”
Pradhan advocated for the renovation and reinstallation of all old mutts, temples, and the statue of Pandit Gopabandhu Das by the local administration. Discussions with the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) and Shreemandir authorities were held by the Union Minister on issues concerning the Ratna Bhandar, and he inspected repair works at the Natamandap conducted by the ASI.
Highlighting the cultural and religious significance of the Shreemandir and the Ratna Bhandar in the sentiments of the Odia people and Hindu Sanatanis, Pradhan urged both the State and Centre to prioritize heritage issues alongside the Parikrama project.
He expressed optimism that the ASI would successfully complete its work with the grace of Lord Jagannath and assured that all works at Shreemandir would proceed smoothly with the support of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Addressing the matter of opening four gates, the Union Minister stressed the importance of ensuring that devotees always have unhindered access for a smooth Darshan of the deities. Concluding his remarks, Pradhan emphasized that the Jagannath Culture represents not only religious devotion but also stands as a symbol of social reformation, social orientation, social customs, and a progressive society.