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Sanjeev Kumar Patro

Bhubaneswar: There goes a saying in Upanishads “Dreams are real as long as they last”. With the Odisha Cabinet having given its nod to bring the Lord Shree Lingaraj Temple Act ordinance on Monday, the dream to manage the ancient 12th century of Lord Shiva on the lines of Puri Shree Jagannath Temple has become a reality. Prior to the Act, Lingaraj Temple was administered under Odisha Hindu Religious endowment Act 1951.

The demand to bring the ancient temple under temple act has been raging since last 30-years. The servitors, historians and prominent personalities moved to the government to bring the 12th Century temple under a special act, following which the then law minister Raghunath Mohanty had held discussions with senior officials. And an affirmation was moved in 2012 to bring Lingaraj Temple under Special Temple Act. However, it took 8-long years to see the light of the day, and the monumental neglect has finally ended.

Why Lingaraj Temple Needs A Special Act?

A special act is in the interest of the temple as it will help immensely in regulating the daily affairs of the shrine. Moreover, owing to absence of such special legislation property of Lord Lingaraj is being encroached upon since long, claimed Ratnakar Garabadhu, servitor in the temple. He added that the temple has around 1500 acres in various parts of the State, and a significant chunk of the landmass is under encroachment.

“Unlike Shri Jagannath Temple, due to not under Temple Act, the ancient temple had not received a single pie from State government for better administration and governance,” said Kashinath Pujapanda, servitor in the temple.

 

“The temple would immensely gain following its inclusion under the Temple Act. Lord lingaraj has been now living on the small donations and alms of pilgrims. The income of the temple on an average touches hardly Rs 4 lakh a day, and during special festivals like the lord’s annual car festival the income hardly suffices the expenditure,” observed former Lord Lingaraj Temple Trust Board Executive Officer Manoranjan Panigrahi,

He further added that with such hand-to-mouth existence, the temple administration hardly finds any resources to develop the shrine to its true grandeur or have a major say in the temple affairs.

“As a consequence, the temple was managed by unruly Sevayats that delays rituals almost every day. No record of rights (Satwalipi) has been formulated for the temple till date, unlike the Jagannath Temple," he explained.

How Will It Help?

  • Henceforth, by the end of the month of April every year on or before such other date, an annual report on the temple has to be submitted.
  • Besides, taking into custody all documents, gifts, jewelleries and assets, an annual budget will be presented. The expenditure and income will be recorded.

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