Lingaraj Temple authority urges NMA to withdraw draft heritage by-laws for temple
Bhubaneswar, Feb 11: The Lingaraj Temple authority has urged the National Monuments Authority (NMA) to withdraw the draft notification of heritage by-laws for Lingaraj Temple here in Odisha.
In a letter to the NMA Member Secretary, President of Lord Lingaraj Temple Trust Board requested to withdraw the draft notification to protect the interest of the deity, servitors and the devotees at large.
“Lord Lingaraj Temple and all the properties belonging to Lord Lingaraj in land records stands recorded in the name of Lord Lingaraj Mohaprabhu. To manage the temple, affair of sevaks (Priests) and all the movable and immovable properties of Lord Lingaraj, a Trust Board has been constituted as a statutory body under Section 42 of OHRE Act, 1952,” said the Khordha District Collector and Temple trust Board President in the letter.
“It was to get the technical know- how of Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) for conservation of the ancient built structure, the Trustees of Lord Lingaraj Temple Trust Board entered into an agreement with Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) on 10th February 1958. The agreement restricts & codifies duties and responsibilities of ASI vis-a-vis Temple Trust. The bare reading of agreement indicates that the importance of Lord Lingaraj Temple as one of the Shiva Pitha for hindus all over the world was given due consideration, when the Trust Board agreed to involve ASI in certain conservation works of ancient built structures. Large number of habitations (Sahis) which are more than millennium old also exist around the Temple. These habitations are of mainly Sevayats families, who have been rendering services to the Lord since time immemorial. As they are likely to be severely and adversely affected by an intervention of the authorities like this draft notifications, they must be consulted before any process to restrict their rights is under-taken by National Monument Authority (NMA). This is also important as any adverse impact on Sevayats have a direct bearing on continuity of Niti Kant (rituals) of Lord Lingaraj,” he stated.
“It is also important to note that every day very large number of Hindu devotees from across India and abroad visit Bhubaneswar for Darshan of Lingaraj Mahaprabhu it is a very very special occasion on Maha Shivaratri Day that the Shaiva Hindu Devotees throughout the world wait to see the Mahadeep on the Temple top of Lord Lingaraj Temple through e-media and there after used to take food. It is a statutory duty & responsibility of Lord Lingaraj Temple Management to make arrangements for amenities and facilities for them. The number of pilgrims & devotees cross more than thousands, especially on holidays and weekends and on each,” he added
“Recently, State Government has acquired lands & properties for strengthening safety & security of the centuries old Shrine also beautification of the peripheral areas for the projects under Ekamra Development Plan. This project will also provide pilgrims with facilities such as drinking water, cloak rooms and Queue Management System. These properties have been acquired by State Government through negotiations and most of the people have come forward to contribute their lands & properties for the purpose of this project. This was possible because of the deep religious & spiritual connect with Lord Lingaraj of the people who owned these properties. These people agreed to part away with their ancestral properties for the comforts of millions of devotees who visit to Bhubaneswar to catch a glimpse of Lord Lingaraj at Lingaraj Temple,” saiod the letter.
On Monday the Centre, announced the withdrawal of the draft heritage bylaws for Shree Jagannath temple at Puri in the State.
The bylaws notified by the NationaNMA, proposing restrictions on constructions and developmental works along the temple periphery had triggered a Statewide outrage.