Himansu Shekhar Rout

New restrictions came into force at the Lingaraj Temple in Bhubaneswar from New Year's Day on Monday. Devotees and servitors are now barred from consuming or chewing paan, gutkha, and tobacco items on temple premises. 

Besides, devotees have been restricted from carrying plastics and polythene bags inside the temple. The temple's administration issued a directive that all these rules should be strictly followed. Moreover, the Lingaraj temple administration has decided to prepare Kotha Bhoga of the Lord by using Omfed ghee only. 

Rajkishore Mohapatra, a servitor of the Lingaraj Temple, said that some restrictions have been imposed on devotees and servitors coming to have darshan of Lord Lingaraj in the temple. “Only Omfed ghee would be used in earthen lights to be offered before the lord. Plastic tumblers to carry milk for puja will not be allowed. Consumption of tobacco and gutkha will be strictly banned on temple premises,” he added.

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On Monday, the temple opened at 5 am and all routine rituals were performed smoothly in time. Thousands of devotees thronged the temple on New Year's Day and had the darshan of the deity. The Sahana Mela of Lord Lingaraj was organised amid a huge rush of devotees. Two platoons of police force were deployed in and around the temple.