Pradeep Pattanayak

The unprecedented delay in lifting Mahadipa atop the Lingaraj temple which was witnessed on Maha Shivratri yesterday has triggered resentment among the devotees. 

Every year, the timetable for the rituals to be followed on the occasion of Maha Shivratri is prepared ahead of the festival. This year too, the timetable was prepared. As per the timetable, the scheduled time for lifting Mahadipa was 10 pm. But it got delayed by more than three hours. The Mahadipa was lifted atop the temple at 1.08 am. 

Meanwhile, the possible reason what caused this unprecedented delay has come to the fore. 

The servitors used to have possession of Lord Lingaraj’s lands. The temple administration has recently evicted them from these lands. This has caused anger among the servitors. They have taken up the matter with the administration but to avail. 

It has been discussed that they vented out their pent-up anger by causing the delay. 

“It was when declared that the rituals were getting delayed by two and a half hours that many devotees who were eagerly waiting to witness the ritual of the lifting of Mahadipa felt dejected and went back to their respective houses. They (temple administration and servitors) shouldn’t have disheartened the devotees,”  rued a devotee.  

“The administration has taken back the land once given to the servitors to Lingaraj’s name. As a result, the servitors can’t do anything on those lands. Why the lands were given to them?” asked the secretary of the Brahman Nijog, Biranchi Narayan Pati. 

“Puja Panda Nijog took one hour instead of a fixed 15 minutes to complete rituals of offering prasad to the deities. On normal days, they perform the same ritual in five minutes,” alleged the secretary of the Badu Nijog, Kamalakant Badu. 

Khordha district Collector K Sudarshan Chakravarthy said he would take the demands of the servitors into consideration.  

Besides the land issue, several other issues like the Badu Nijog having the right of performing puja during the visit of VVIPs. 
Meanwhile, Bhubanesawr BJP MP Aparajita Sarangi held the administration squarely responsible for the delay. 

“The ritual of lifting Mahadipa got delayed because the servitors had some demands. The servitors said they had already taken their matters up with the administration and trust board thrice but yielded no result. I hope, the government and the administration should realise the pain of the lakhs of the devotees,” said Sarangi. 

On the other hand, Ekamra MLA and Minister Ashok Panda said, “Instead of holding someone responsible, she should take steps to get passed the Special Act for Lingaraj Temple which has got stuck in Delhi.”

Holding the State government responsible for the delay, Congress leader Suresh Routray said, “The Government should discuss with the servitors and find solutions to their problems as it doing in the case of Puri.”


(Reported by Niranjan Reddy, Atulya Baut and Manoj Swain, OTV)