A controversy has erupted over the charges being levied for ‘Jalabhishek’ in the Ghela Somnath temple in Rajkot district.
Deputy Collector and trustee of the temple through a notification has announced to charge Rs 351 per person for Jalabhishek on Shivling in the temple.
Jasdan Deputy Collector and trustee Rajesh Aal told IANS, “These charges have been levied since the last one and half month. Now all of sudden few people with vested interests are creating ruckus over the issue because some of them were living in rooms of the temple for a long time without paying rent. Former Pujari may also have his own interest so they are the ones opposing the charges.”
Yet, the trustee is ready to review the charges, and may bring it down. He said that even a mechanical Jalabhishek facility will be set up.
Officer also stated that the charges levied were not opposed by the pilgrims or devotees visiting the temple. On an average 8 to 10 pilgrims perform Jalabhishek after paying the charges.
Defending the charges, the officer said, “Because of this now any devotee will have access to ‘Garbhagriha’, which was difficult earlier. Each and every penny received either as donation or charges like this is used for devotees. The temple trust has 60 rooms in its lodging facility, for which trust charges from Rs 300 to 1000.
It runs a kitchen where free of cost food is provided to the pilgrims. Daily 150 to 200 beneficiaries take advantage of lunch and dinner. It has a stable with 60 cows and calves. Cow milk is given to the devotees for free. The donation and charges levied are used for all these facilities, said the officer.