Devotees now fear entering the sanctum sanctorum of Bhusandeswar Shiva temple in Bhogarai which houses Asia’s largest Shiva Lingam. For, the temple stands in a vulnerable condition after a portion of its roof collapsed a couple of days back.
On Thursday, a team of officials led by Rural Development Executive Engineer Gyana Ranjan Behura visited the temple to take stock of the situation. OTDC officials and PWD Executive Engineer PK Lenka had also inspected the broken portion of the structure. They were accompanied by Bhogarai MLA Ananta Das.
Locals said with the priests fearing to enter the temple, daily rituals of the presiding deity have been hampered. ‘Puja’ is now offered in a nearby rest shed.
The temple, which was built in 1984 near river Subarnarekha at Kumbhiragadi village in Rasalpur panchayat, needs immediate renovation.
Carved out of black granite, the ‘lingam’ is 12 feet 6 inches in height, 12 feet in diameter and has three parts. It has a square base of four feet. The middle portion is octagonal and is about 12 feet in diameter and about four feet in height. While more than six feet of the ‘lingam’ is visible above the ground, the rest of it is underground.
Officials said though no damage was done to the ‘lingam’ due to roof collapse, a brass metal snake and trident were bent. Behura said the structure was unsafe.
“The iron rods used in the concrete roof have been rusted due to the saline climate and may collapse anytime. We have decided to demolish the roof and cover the ‘lingam’ with the help of aluminium sheets as a temporary arrangement till a new temple is built,” he said. It has been decided that a new temple will be built at a cost of `15 crore and proposal in this regard has already been mooted.
MLA Das said a meeting was convened on March 29 to finalise the proposal which was attended by Tourism Minister Maheswar Mohanty and Collector Ranjit Mohanty.
Former MP Kartikeswar Patra, who had helped build the temple in 1980s, alleged that the structure was damaged due to lack of maintenance and care by the government. “Over the years, neither the Government nor the local elected representatives took interest for development of the temple,” he said.