Lingaraj Temple structure unsafe! Endowment Commissioner Blames ASI

Bhubaneswar: The beauty of Lingaraj temple, which once mesmerized PM Modi, now reels under neglect.  The architectural marvel from the 11th century has become unsafe due to alleged lapses and negligence on the part of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI).

In a letter to Director General of ASI, Commissioner of Endowments has mentioned that the pinnacle of the main temple has developed cracks. Though the servitors, who tie flags atop the temple, had drawn the attention of ASI officials regarding the cracks, no step was taken, the Commissioner wrote in his letter.

The cracks of Dadhinauti of the main temple requires urgent repairs while the divine and semi-divine images surrounding and decorating the walls of the temple, which are in broken and damaged condition, needs to be restored  or replaced by expert designers and engineers of ASI.

As per official sources, nearly 8,000 devotees visit the temple every day while the turnout is in lakhs during major festivals. The 11th century temple, which is built in Deula style, has four main components- Vimana (structure containing the sanctum), Jagamohana (assembly hall), Natamandira (festival hall) and Bhoga-mandap (hall of offerings) each increasing in height from its predecessor. The temple complex has 62 other shrines and is enclosed by a large compound wall.

Lingaraj Temple was declared centrally protected monument vide a Gazette notification dated October 10, 1918 under the provision of Sec-3 of Ancient Monument Preservation Act, 1904 and subsequent amendment of Ancient Monuments Archaeological Sites and Remains Act, 1958 and Rules 1959.

The tropical storm, Fani which caused massive destruction across the State in May 2019 also damaged temple property. However, the ASI has not shown any promptness nor has assessed the damages till today, the letter read.

In its letter, the Endowments Commissioner has further highlighted that despite regular complaints, the ASI authorities in Odisha have not taken any tangible steps for the repair works.

“There is every possibility of stone falling incident in Lingaraj temple akin to what had taken place earlier at Jagannath Temple in Puri,” the endowments commissioner wrote in its letter.