Lingaraj Temple Rituals Neglected Amid Squabble Between Servitors

Bhubaneswar: A fresh row between sects of servitors at the Lord Lingaraj Temple in Bhubaneswar over ownership and construction on a piece of land caused disruption in the conduct of rituals at the 11th century shrine today.

No rituals at the Lingaraj Temple have been conducted since morning today after a dispute surfaced between the Brahmin and Puja Panda servitors on one side and Badu Nijog on the other.

According to sources, the Badu Nijog carried out construction on a piece of land near Gangua River Bed which was opposed by both Brahmin and Puja Panda servitor groups.

As a mark of protest, the Brahmin and Puja Panda servitors did not perform the rituals today morning. They alleged that since the piece of designated land belongs to Lord Lingaraj, the Badu Nijog has no authority to carry out construction on the property.

However, the Badu servitors claimed that the land has been their property for last five centuries. “We were handed over this property about five hundred years ago. Apart from that our Nijog had also got the ownership of the land from the temple administration through mutation way back in 1914,” said Kamala Kanta Badu, secretary of Badu Nijog.

“After the lifting of Zamindari and the transfer of power to the State government followed by implementation of rights of servitors, we think that the property belongs to us and not to Mahaprabhu Lingaraj,” he added.

On the other hand, the temple administration has also declared the Badu Nijog’s construction on the land as unauthorized.

Chief Executive Officer of Lingaraj Temple Trust Board, Pradip Kumar Sahu refuted claims made by the Badu Nijog and said the entire property belongs to Lord Lingaraj.

“I call upon people to see that the land is the sole property of the Lord as it has mentioned in the official documents and even in the website. It will also continue to remain in the possession of the Mahaprabhu in future. As per the rules, the administration and servitors are like the gatekeepers and are responsible for safety and preservation of the property of the Lord. Forget about the five hundred-old history, after the state government took charge of the management of the shrine and enforced the Endowment Act, the Lord became the owner of all the property,” said Sahu.