Rashmi Rekha Das

Rituals at Lingaraj temple, Bhubaneswar have yet again come to a grinding halt since Sunday morning over entry of a non-servitor to the Bhoga Mandap. 

Tension ran high in the temple after priests of the 11th-century shrine protested the entry of a non-servitor to the Bhoga Mandap.  And it led to a spat between Badu Nijog and Brahmana Nijog. 

Brahmana Nijog, meanwhile, accused the Badu Nijog of not cooperating to resume the temple rituals.

On the other hand, devotees have alleged that disruption of rituals at the Lingaraj temple seem to have become the order of the day thanks to lack of cooperation between temple servitors. Besides, they held the temple and the district administration responsible for not intervening in the temple issues which is why such situations arise on regular basis.

Biranchi Pati, a member of Brahmana Nijog, talking to OTV said, “Yesterday was the first day of 2023 for which the temple witnessed a huge rush. It was then a non-servitor entered the Bhoga Mandap and thus the ‘bhog’ being prepared for the Lord Lingaraj had become ‘impure’. Badu Nijog members made it clear that they would resume the temple rituals of the deity after all ‘impure’ bhog is thrown away. Till now, temple services are yet to resume. The administration, temple trust board and District Collector seem to have no interest in sorting out the issues.”

He went on to add: “As many as four board meetings were held in last 11 months to sort out the dispute between servitors but in vain. District Collector is solely responsible for it. Neither the state government, nor the trust is paying heed to the issue.”

It may be mentioned that although the Orissa High Court had made it clear in its ruling that rituals in Lingaraj temple cannot be stopped at any circumstance, servitors failed to carry it out.