Suryakant Jena

Bhubaneswar: Year after year and meetings after meetings, there seems to be no solution to disruption in the ‘Handi Bhanga’ ritual of Lord Lingaraj in Bhubaneswar.

The long-standing dispute between two sects of servitors has once again resulted in suspension of the age-old neeti at the 11-century shrine. This is the sixth consecutive time when the important ritual of the Lord has been called off.

According to information, a disagreement surfaced between sects of Khuntia and Malia servitors at Kapileswar temples over conduct of the ‘Handi Bhanga’ ritual on Saturday evening.

When the Malia sevayats refused to participate in the ritual as per the tradition followed five years ago, the temple management called for a meeting to resolve the dispute, however it was of no use. The group of servitors also left the meeting midway.

Amid apprehension over the conduct of the special neeti, all other rituals of the Lord were also stalled.

As per the practice, the Kapileswar temple plays a vital role in ‘Handi Bhanga’ ritual. Lord Lingaraj is taken out in a procession to Kapileswar Temple and the lord returns after observance of certain neetis every year on the first Saturday following Maha Shivaratri.