Mrunal Manmay Dash

The dispute between Brahman nijog and Badu nijog over Lord Lingaraj’s land marred Governor Raghubar Das’ visit to Lingaraj temple hours before his oath-taking ceremony on Tuesday.

As per reports, the servitors of Badu nijog guided Das and his family to see the temple, perform puja and avail darshan of Lord Lingaraj. However, the Brahman nijog raised questions on this.

Brahman nijog alleged that the Governor has been misguided and misled in the temple. Badu nijog does not have right to offer ‘bhoga’ to Lord Lingaraj. Only offering water and dry bhoga to the Lord do not constitute a proper puja, the nijog said.

“Only Brahman nijog servitors have the right to perform puja at the Lingaraj Temple. Others can offer flower and water to the Lord but that cannot be considered Puja. The Governor does not know the rituals and customs of the Temple. So the Badu servitors misled him in believing that he actually performed a puja at the temple. But that is not the fact,” said Secretary of Brahman nijog Biranchi Narayan Pati.

Pujapanda nijog Secretary, Sachhikanta Pujapanda said, “Badu servitors are non-brahmin. So they do not have any right to perform puja at the temple. The administration has only allowed them to act as a guide in the temple and help devotees avail darshan. According to a judgement in 1910, only Pujapanda servitors can offer bhoga to the Lord. If Badu servitors have offered bhoga today, then it is really unfortunate.”

However, the Badu nijog refuted the allegations. Replying to the Brahman nijog, a Badu servitor Krushnachandra Badu said, “Our duty at the temple is to offer flower and wood apple leaves to the Lord on behalf of the devotees. Mahasuar servitors prepare the prasad and keep it inside the temple. Pujapanda nijog performs puja when the prasad enters temple.”

“We showed the Governor the temple and helped him avail darshan of Lord Lingaraj. We offered flower and dry bhoga including a coconut bhoga to the lord on behalf of the Governor. He was pleased with the darshan and left happy,” Badu said.

The servitors of the Brahman nijog and Pujapanda nijog were absent from the Temple during Das’ visit today as they have resigned from the temple trust board following the dispute on Friday.

Notably, three groups of servitors - Badu Nijog, Pujapanda Nijog, and Brahman Nijog - are locked in a dispute over alleged encroachment of land belonging to Lord Lingaraj in the temple area leading to disruption in daily rituals in the 11th-century shrine.

Following the darshan at Lingaraj temple, Das was sworn in as the 26th Governor of Odisha. He was administered the oath by Chief Justice of Orissa High Court in a special function held at Raj Bhavan today.