Entry of Russian disrupts rituals at Lingaraj

Bhubaneswar: Rituals at the Lingaraj Temple here was halted for some time after a Russian was spotted inside the sanctum sanctorum of the 11th century shrine today. The priests opposed his presence there and was handed over by them to temple administration, who in turn sent him to the police, temple executive officer Abanikanta Patnaik said.

"The security personnel at the temple could not detect the trespasser as he had entered it after covering his face," he said adding the Russian was dressed in typical Indian dhoti and kurta which helped him to evade attention at the crowded main gate. The foreigner, identified as Skukhzat had, however, claimed to be a Hindu and had said his religious name was Sunder Gopal Das. He was later released on personal bond at the police station, Patnaik said.

Later the temple was `purified` and the `Mahasnan` ritual of the deity Lord Shiva was held as per tradition, Patnaik said. A signboard at the main entrance of the temple mentions that only Hindus are allowed entry into the shrine.