PURI, INDIA, April 3, 2018 (NDTV): This dark room laden with treasure has remained shut since 1984. Someone entering it now will need an oxygen cylinder. For 34 years, the door of the ratna bhandar or treasury of the 12th century Jagannath temple in Puri, has not seen light. But tomorrow, 10 people will unlock the room and step inside to check its structural integrity under close watch of the temple administration and the Archaeological Survey of India or ASI. The temple administration has allowed five of its people, two government archaeologists, two experts chosen by the ASI, and a legal professional to enter the room, following an order of the Orissa High Court on March 22 that asked the ASI to check the structural condition of the treasury and submit a report.
"The 10 members would be thoroughly searched before and after the inspection," chief administrator of the Shree Jagannath Temple Administration P.K. Jena told reporters on March 30. They will not be allowed to touch anything inside the room, and cannot take stock of the assets, he added. The Orrisa High Court has been monitoring repair work at the 12th century Jagannath temple since 2016. In late March, a team from the ASI had determined that the outer surface of the ratna bhandar was in good condition. The treasury has seven chambers, and only three were opened back in the 1984 expedition to the dark room.