Odisha seeks withdrawal of draft bylaws for Lingaraj, Brahmeswar Temples

After the Centre’s notification withdrawl of the draft bylaws of National Monuments Authority (NMA) for Jagannath Temple in Puri, Odisha government has requested the NMA to withdraw the same for Lingaraj and Brahmeswar Temples in Bhubaneswar.

The Commissioner of the Endowment, Odisha and Khurda district Collector, who is also the president of Lord Lingaraj Temple Trust Board, urged the NMA to withdraw the notification immediately.

The two letters written to the NMA were released to media on Thursday.

The draft rules prohibit construction works around the Temples.

“Recently, the state government has acquired lands and properties for strengthening safety and security of the centuries old Shrine and also beautification of the peripheral areas for the projects under Ekamra Development Plan,” said Khurda Collector S.K. Mohanty.

He said this project will also provide pilgrims with facilities such as drinking water, cloak rooms and Queue Management System.

These properties have been acquired by the state government through negotiations and most of the people have come forward to contribute their lands and properties for the purpose of this project, he said.

“This was possible because of the deep religious and spiritual connection 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 Bhubaneswar to catch a glimpse of Lord Lingaraj at Lingaraj Temple,” the Collector said 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 and 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,” the Collector said.

Similarly, CR Mohapatra, Commissioner of Endowments, Odisha has written to the NMA urging it for withdrawal of heritage bye-laws framed for Brahmeswar Temple, Bhubaneswar.