Anubhav Yatra, an exposure trip for priests of Jagannath Temple in Puri to different shrines in the country, got a fresh lease of life as 60 priests embarked on a 13-day tour of Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Rajasthan on Wednesday. It was discontinued in 2009.
“The servitors will observe rituals, etiquette, facilities for devotees and security arrangements at major shrines in these states. We have specifically requested them to study the system employed to keep the shrines clean. We will try to replicate some of their recommendations in Puri temple,” chief administrator of Shree Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA) Suresh Mohapatra told.
The trip will benefit the priests, many of whom have not travelled outside the state, he added.
The temple body started the yatra in 2006 with a view to instil civic sense and a sense of hospitality among the priests of the 12th century temple.
“The previous trips helped reform the servitors. They were impressed by the attitude and style of functioning of their counterparts,” said a temple officer.
Around 180 priests of the total 1,600 had travelled to several shrines in north and south India in five phases in 2006, 2007 and 2008. However, the practice, popularly known as training on wheels, was stalled thereafter.
Priests welcomed the idea of resuming the service. “I am excited about the trip. We will gain experience after interacting with priests and managements of other temples,” said Ramachandra Dixit, a servitor.