BHADRAK: Come Shivaratri, Akhandalmani is agog with activity with nearly two lakh devotees flocking the place. However, in all these years nothing much has been done to develop the place, about 35 km from here, into a tourist destination, rued the Sevayats.
Even as the two master plans to renovate the place are gathering dust, the sanctity of the temple has gone for a toss with waste water being released into the tank used for performing rituals.
The State Government and Archaeological Survey of India after inspecting the temple in 1979 and 1992 had suggested repairs in ‘Garvagruha’ but nothing came of it. The ‘Garvagruha’ is dilapidated, affecting puja rituals whenever it rains, said Narayan Panda, a Sevayat.
The temple has not witnessed the ‘Suna Besha’ of Lord Shiva since over 1 kg gold was stolen in 1993. “An FIR was lodged only in 1996 by the management authority and the rituals are being observed with silver ornaments,” said another Sevayat Balaram Padhi.
There are not many facilities for tourists coming here with the lone guest house of the temple being used by the management staff, they alleged.
“We had lodged a protest with seven demands to the Endowments Commissioner, Odisha, when he visited the temple last December,” said Padhi.
According to Executive Officer of the Temple Trust Board Uma Charan Pattanaik, a Rs 10-lakh master plan was earlier prepared to develop the temple into a tourist destination. It included a deer park, swimming pool, boating facilities in the tank and for Bhitarkanika sanctuary.
However, the plan was dumped and another with Rs 14-lakh floated in 2000.
But it also did not see the light of the day.
Preparations for Shivaratri
Meanwhile to ensure smooth conduct of the festival, Collector Akshaya Pani recently held a preparatory meeting. For the convenience of devotees, the Bhadrak- Aradi road will be repaired and a temporary bus stand set up near Aradi panthasala.
More buses will ply on the route and encroachments at the entrance of Aradi village and the surroundings of the temple will be removed.
Mobile water tanks will be pressed into service to meet demand. The executive engineer has been directed to repair all tube-wells around the temple. Similarly, the NESCO authorities have been asked to make special arrangements for uninterrupted power supply to the temple during the festival. Besides, all roads to the temple will be provided with streetlights.
There will be elaborate police arrangements along with special patrolling units.