Puri: The Puri district administration Sunday organised several cultural events near the Lions’ Gate of Srimandir as part of its effort to add to the spiritual environment near the 12th century shrine.
Additional collector Binaya Kumar Dash, District Rural Development Agency (DRDA) project director Vishal Singh, sub-collector Bhabataran Sahu, senior Srimandir servitors Madhab Pujapanda and Janardhan Pattajoshi and religious scholar Suryanarayan Rathsharma inaugurated the programme formally by offering earthen lamps near Aruna pillar at the Lions’ Gate of the 12th century shrine.
Officials of the district administration, artistes from various institutions and devotees took out a procession around Srimandir as part of the inaugural ceremony of the programme.
Soon after the inaugural ceremony, artistes from various dance institutions displayed their skills on a portion of the Grand Road starting from the Lions’ Gate of Srimandir to the office of Shree Jagannath Temple Administration.
Odissi performance by the artistes of Puri Dance Academy enthralled the devotees and audience while Gotipua dance by artistes from Dashbhuja Gotipua Academy was a point of attraction for many. Similarly, artistes led by Guru Durgaprasad Pandey and Soubhagini Swain performed the traditional Medha dance of Puri while a group of artistes led by Laxmidhar Swain performed Sankirtan at the Lions’ Gate.
This apart, members of various women self-help groups (SHGs) from across the district added colours to the occasion by preparing Rangolis on the Grand Road. Children also displayed their painting skills at the programme.
Hundreds of devotees and common people were seen enjoying the cultural events near Srimandir.
“The Puri district administration has decided to organise cultural events near the Lions’ Gate of Srimandir every Sunday. The initiative would promote spiritualism and Jagannath culture. Devotees as well as common people can participate in the programme,” said the additional collector.
Yugabrata Kar, the secretary of voluntary organisation Barefoot, meanwhile urged the district administration to take steps to ensure the participation of tourists in the cultural programmes. “We welcome the decision of the administration to organise cultural events near Srimandir. Tourists’ participation will add to the popularity of the programme,” Kar said.
Among others, Puri municipal executive officer Bijay Kumar Dash, assistant director of Tourism department Bijay Kumar Jena, divisional forest officer Harshabardhan Udgata and district culture officer Choudhury Arindam Das were present on the occasion.
It is worth mentioning here that the district administration has recently declared the surroundings of Srimandir as a no-parking and no-vending zone. It has also imposed one-way traffic system on the Grand Road from the SJTA office to the Lions’ Gate of Srimandir.