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A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

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Supreme Court asks Puri Jagannath Temple to Allow Visitors Irrespective of Religion
By J Venkatesan   |  Jul 09, 2018

The following news will be exciting for ISKCON devotees, who have always been banned from entering the Jagannath Temple in Puri due to their birth, despite many being dedicated Vaishnavas for decades. However let’s not celebrate too soon — it’s important to note that according to The Telegraph India, the Supreme Court ruling is not final. The servitors of the Jagannath temple are already planning to present their objections before the Court. – Editor

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday asked the Puri Jagannath temple to consider permitting every visitor irrespective of his religious faith to offer respects and make offerings to the deity subject to regulatory measures. The court will extend this to other temples also in due course.

A Bench of Justices AK Goel and Abdul Nazeer passed this order taking note of the report of the Puri District Judge who has observed that in spite of the earlier orders, Thalis (plates) and Pitchers are being exhibited for collection of money illegally. It was also brought to the court notice that a large number of foreigners and visitors of other religious faiths also visit the Puri Jagannath temple and at present they are not allowed inside main sanctum. 

The Bench in its order on a petition filed by Mrinalini Padhi said the temple management may consider, subject to regulatory measures, with regard to dress code, giving of an appropriate declaration or compliance with other directions, permitting every visitor irrespective of his faith, to offer respects and to make offerings to the deity.

Amicus curiae Gopal Subramaniam and others mentioned Kamakhya Temple, Assam; Kalibari Temple at Calcutta, Pracheen Hanuman Mandir at Jamuna Bazar, Delhi, Tiruchendur Temple at Tamil Nadu and Dargah Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti, Ajmer, which attract large number of visitors of other faith.

Additional Solicitor General has assured that Union Ministry of Culture will take due interest in the matter as the issue involves protection of cultural heritage of the country. Amicus curiae state that there are 7,000 antique temples in the State of Tamil Nadu itself.

It said, “We have noted that Hinduism does not eliminate any other belief and is eternal faith and wisdom and inspiration of centuries, as noted in earlier judgments of this Court.”

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