Odisha Government Plans for Peripheral Development of Lingaraj Temple
The Odisha government has formed a detailed plan for the peripheral development of the Lingaraj Temple in Bhubaneswar. The aim of this ‘Ekamra Kshetra’ project is to attract more tourists in the post-pandemic period.
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had an elaborate discussion with officials on the action plan. He instructed the authorities to begin with the beautification of ‘Bindu Sagar’ (the sacred pond). Moreover, provision of substantial space and facilities for devotees, the establishment of orientation centre, parking space, food plaza, Bhajana Mandap among others are to be completed within a year.
Patnaik is keen to achieve UNESCO recognition for the heritage city of Bhubaneswar. The CM will try to include Maha Sivaratri, Ashokastami, Ratha Yatra and Sitala Sasthi in the National Calendar of Festivals.
“Efforts will be made to create a spiritual, ecological and divine ambience in and around Shree Lingaraj temple,” said an official statement.
“Whereas earlier, it was even difficult to accommodate 10 to 15 thousand people in front of the temple, it will now be possible for more than two lakh people to join the Mahashivaratri festival at one time,” it added.
Bindusagar and Its Relevance
The sacred pond Bindusagar is believed to have a unique connection with Lord Lingaraj. It is the second most attractive site on the premises. In fact, it is said to contain a union of water droplets from various sacred rivers of India.
It is also linked to various festivals of the temple, said Ashok Chandra Panda, the local MLA and minister.
The development plan aims to create barrier-free, direct access from the Lingaraj temple to Bindusagar. “People can watch the ”Chandan Yatra” (Sandalwood festival) at Bindusagar directly from the Lingaraj temple. Other temples like Bindhyabasini, Bhawani Shankar, Sukasari and Mohini will also be visible when the plans are executed,” said Panda.
“Historical records suggest that about 350 years ago, there was nothing between the Lingaraj temple and Bindusagar except some temples,” he added.