Bhubaneswar, September 16 (LocalWire): The Puri district administration on Sunday announced the deities of Mangu mutt, the abode of the Nanak Panthis of Sikh community, will be protected.
“As per the decision at the highest level in this regard, the deities in the mutt will be protected while the commercial shop and the illegally constructed Bhakta Niwas at the mutts will be bulldozed in the ongoing demolition exercise of permanent structures within 75-meter radius of Meghanad Prachir, the compound wall of the 12th century Shree Jagannath Temple’, Puri district collector Balwant Singh told the LocalWire.
Our policy remains the same for all the mutts and monasteries located within the 75-meter radius of the prohibited zone around the 12th century Jagannath temple.
“The Emar and Bada Akhada Mutts were demolished. But the deities were kept intact and were duly protected. Similarly, we will adopt the policy of protecting the deities of Mangu and Punjabi mutts, which are mostly visited by people from Sikh religion,” he said.
The Sikh community members from Delhi Sikh Gurudwara Management Committee today met the district administration and expressed concern over the proposed move to demolish the mutts and the deities. However they were assured that no harm will be caused to the deities, he said.
“The connection between Sikhism and the Jagannath temple goes back to more than 500 years when Guru Nanak Dev visited the holy temple to spread the message of Ek Onkar, meaning one supreme reality,” Singh stated.
“It was at the Jagannath temple that the Holy Sikh Arti, which is enshrined in the Sri Guru Granth Sahib, was composed. The association of Sikhs with the Jagannath temple that was formed then continues till today,” researcher Anil Dhir said.
“Every year, thousands of devout Sikhs visit Puri to pay obeisance to Lord Jagannath. The holy temple is as sacred to Sikhs as any Gurudwara,” he added.
The Mutt was the abode of the Nanak Panthis, who would travel 2000 miles each year to visit Puri. The Nanak Panthis were primarily responsible for taking the Jagannath culture to Northern India and spreading the word of the Lord, Dhir stated.
The mutt was set up sometime in 1615 CE by Bhai Almast, the Sikh preacher and head of the Dhuari of the Udasi sect.
He had been deputed to the eastern provinces by Baba Gurditta, the eldest son of Guru Hargobind, to preach the message of Guru Nanak Dev Ji in the eastern provinces.
The image of Baba Shri Chand, the son of Guru Nanak Dev Ji is kept in the shrine inside the mutt. It is because of Almast’s impressive work that Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji chose to visit the place in 1670 CE, researchers indicate.