Concerned over diverse practices being followed by scores of Jagannath temples in the country and abroad, the administration at the main tample at Puri has initiated efforts to ensure uniformity in performance of rituals in all these shrines.
"A large number of Jagannath temples have sprung up across the country and abroad for the worship of the Lord. But many of them are not aware of the rituals followed at the most ancient Jagannath shrine at Puri," according to Gajapati Maharaja of Puri, Shri Dibyasingha Deb.
It may not be possible for these temples to adhere to all the traditions, rituals and festivals followed by the Puri shrine, but efforts could be made to see that certain amount of uniformity is maintained, the Gajapati Maharaja, chairman of Shri Jagannath Temple Managing Committee, told a recent two-day workshop.
He said that the temple administration had prepared a booklet titled 'Shrimandira Parampara' enunciating the standard rituals.
Efforts are also being made for documentation of all the shrines decidated to Lord Jagannath at various places including those on foreign shores, he said.
Though the exact number of Jagannath temples functioning is yet to be ascertained, Rabindranath Pratihari, managing committee member, quoting a researcher Surendranath Mishra of Jagannath Sanskrit University, said in Orissa there are altogether 3,029 temples of Lord Jagannath besides 400 in other states and 600 abroad.
Over the years, the number of temples has increased in view of migration of Oriyas to other parts of the country and abroad, he said.
Pratihari said the Jagannath temple at Huntsville in North Albama state in the USA is one of several such temples abroad which follows the rituals and traditions of the Puri temple.
About 60 representatives from Jagannath temples in Orissa and other states, including Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Karnakata, Maharashtra, Chhattisagarh, Jharkhand, West Bengal and Delhi, attended the workshop organised by the temple administration as part of the integration initiative.
The move came on the backdrop of the controversy triggered by celebration of annual 'Rath Yatra' on dates other than the one on which the car festival is organised at 'Srikshetra', Puri. PTI