In this season of temple and temple town makeovers, the Jagannath Temple in Puri, Odisha, stole a march over the Ram Temple in Ayo­dhya. Or perhaps that was exactly the reason why the Naveen Patnaik government chose to unveil its ambitious temple project—a Rs 800 crore heritage corridor around the 12th century shrine—on January 17, five days ahead of the grand event in Ayodhya on January 22. The early inauguration managed to draw the shrine some attention it would never have been able to attract in the forever afterglow of Ayodhya. And so it was that the Shree Mandira Parikrama Prakalpa—one component of a Rs 4,200 crore project aimed to transform Puri, one of the holiest of Hindu pilgrimage centres, into a world-class heritage city—was opened to the public.


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