A US citizen was fined Rs 209 for entering into Jagannth Temple in Puri, Orissa. On Friday, the tourist from New York, Paul Roediger, 59 had gone to visit the Hindu Holy place in Puri was caught by priests inside the Temple.
Police had detained Roediger for five hours for allegedly violating the tradition of the temple that does not allow non-Hindus, particularly those people who consume objectionable food to visit the Temple premises.
Later, he was handed over to police by the priests. Temple spokesman L.D. Pujapanda said further that the priests also handed over his two Hindu friends (V K Shukla and A Saxena) who were accompanied by a temple priest, identified as Ramachandra Pandato to the police.
They were released by the police because they claimed their unawareness about the temple rules. According to the Temple’s rules, Paul was fined 209 rupees.
The temple is dedicated to Lord Jagannath and located in Puri, one of the four holiest Hindu pilgrim sites in India. Non-Hindus are not allowed to visit the Temple as per the rules.
The temple once had come in the news for not allowing the then-Prime Minister Indira Gandhi to visit the Temple because she had married a non-Hindu. Later Ms Gandhi had a view of the shrine from the street only. In 2005, the Thai princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn was also not allowed to visit the temple.
Later, after more than 18 hours of discussion, the food cooked for around 7,000 devotees at the Jagannath Temple was thrown away. Some priests had insisted that the ‘bhog’ has been become discarded because it was ‘defiled’ by an American’s entry into the Hindu Holy place. The mahaprasad of Rs three lakh went waste after the decision not to distribute it among the devotees.