Rituals halted in Lingaraj temple again, Odisha government silent
Disruption of rituals at the Lingaraj temple seems to have become the order of the day with the State government remaining silent on the affairs of the shrine.
Published: 11th August 2022 06:14 AM | Last Updated: 11th August 2022 06:14 AM | A+A A-
BHUBANESWAR: Disruption of rituals at the Lingaraj temple seems to have become the order of the day with the State government remaining silent on the affairs of the shrine.After the Sital Sasthi and Handi Bhanga Jatra fiasco in June, rituals at the 11th-century shrine including offering of ‘bhog’ to Lord Lingaraj have yet again come to a grinding halt since Tuesday evening due to conflict between two groups of servitors over the ‘Paita Lagi’ ritual which was scheduled on Wednesday. The two groups are Badu Nijog and Puja Panda servitors.
There has been a disagreement between Badu Nijog and Puja Panda servitors over the ritual on the occasion of Rupayan Yatra of Lord Lingaraj. As part of the ritual, 27 pieces of silk threads (Paita) are offered to the presiding deity by Badu Nijog servitors. However, the Puja Panda servitors demanded that they be allowed to offer three Paitas while the Badu Nijog counterparts could offer the rest.This was protested by Badu Nijog members, leading to disruption of the ritual and subsequently, all other rituals were stopped.Since Tuesday, ‘bhog’ has not been offered to the presiding deity.
Kamalakanta Badu, secretary of Badu Nijog, said the rights of ‘lagi’ of all the 27 threads rests with Badu Nijog as per the temple record of rights but since 2020, Puja Panda servitors have been demanding that they be allowed to offer the three threads to the deity. “This is unacceptable,” he said.
Although the Lingaraj temple trust called a meeting of both the servitor clans on Tuesday night, none attended it. Sources said as the rituals were also stopped by the two servitor groups over the same issue last year, a case has been filed by the temple office against the two groups with the Odisha Hindu Religious Endowment Commission.
This is the third time rituals in the temple have been disrupted this year, the first two being during the Sital Sasthi and Handi Bhanga rituals.“The State government, Endowment Commission and temple trust board is to be blamed for this. This has been happening despite a 2012 Orissa High Court ruling that rituals in Lingaraj temple cannot be stopped by anyone,” said secretary of Brahmana Nijog, Biranchi Narayan Pati.