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Thai Princess Denied Entry to Puri Temple

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Times of India


BHUBANESWAR, INDIA, November 22, 2005: Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn of Thailand, on her maiden trip to Orissa, was denied permission to enter the world famous Jagannath Temple as foreigners are not allowed inside temples in Orissa. Arrangements were made for the princess to view the temple from outside. This, incidentally, came quick on the heels of US-born Pamela K Fleig, who married an Indian and embraced Hinduism, being denied entry into the Lingaraj Temple in Bhubaneswar recently, sparking off a row. ''This has been a practice for centuries,'' a senior temple official said. He added that the Centre had earlier sought a clarification from the state government on whether it would be possible to allow the Thai Princess into the temple. "We immediately consulted the temple's body of priests and pundits, who did not agree,'' the official disclosed. Consequently, an arrangement was made atop the nearby Emara Mutt building for the princess to have a glimpse of the gigantic 12th century temple. "It is a sensitive issue. We didn't want to risk ignoring views of priests and pundits on the matter. They are okay with people from undivided India but not beyond that,'' the official told TOI. Indian Buddhists and Jains, besides Buddhists, Jains and Hindus from neighboring Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Bhutan are allowed in the Jagannath Temple. But converted Hindus, Buddhists and Jains from other countries are not allowed. Even the late PM Indira Gandhi was denied entry into the temple as she was married to a Parsi.



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This mentality is not new. Haridas Thakur did not enter to avoid disturbing the mind's of the ignorant and Lord Caitanya would personally bring him Maha-prasadam from Lord Jagganatha.


I think there is an important lesson there for us.



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