Bhubaneswar: Keeping in view the massive arrangement required for Lord Jagannath`s `Nabakalebara` festival in 2015, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Thursday sought Special Central Assistance of Rs 1,397 crore from Planning Commission.
"I seek your personal intervention for the support of the Planning Commission for this important religious and cultural event of Eastern India," Patnaik wrote to Planning Commission deputy chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia.
The projected requirement of funds for developmental works to be taken up in view of Nabakalebara festival is around Rs 1,397 crore, Patnaik said.
"The state government was gearing up for this momentous occasion when around 50 lakh pilgrims, visitors and tourists are expected to congregate at Puri town," he said.
Patnaik told the Planning Commission that this religious and cultural event takes place every 12 to 19 years when deities leave their old form and assume new forms.
"It is a ritual followed for centuries and the grandest of all ceremonies associated with Jagannath Temple," he said.
Stating that the next Nabakalebara was scheduled in 2015 after a period of 19 years, Patnaik said the event would continue for three months during which a number of religious activities are organised simultaneously all over Puri.