Ranchi, June 15 (IANS) — The administration of Deogarh, about 350 km from this state capital, has taken the Baba Vaidyanath Shiv temple online, so devotees can seek the deity’s blessings without actually visiting the shrine.
“People living in other parts of the country and abroad requested me to put the temple online as has been done with the famous temple of Tirupati (in Andhra Pradesh). It will help devotees,” said Shailesh Kumar Singh, the Deogarh deputy commissioner.
But the temple priests are sulking.
“The district administration has done wrong by us,” complained Durlabha Mishra, general secretary of the Panda Dharmarakshi Sabha, an association of priests.
“They are gradually depriving priests of their right to conduct rituals. They are also violating a court order that has directed the district administration not to interfere in the temple’s religious affairs,” he added.
The administration says it has done nothing wrong.
“Only people in faraway places will offer ‘puja’ (prayers) on the Internet. Devotees coming to the temple will still seek the help of priests to offer puja,” said Kaushal Kishore, a magistrate.
The shrine receives about three million devotees every year. During the Hindu month of Shravan, which usually falls in August, about two million people flock to the temple to worship Lord Shiv, a part of the holy Hindu trinity.
The priests and the district administration have been at loggerheads for a long time now. The priests allege the authorities are depriving them of their rights.
Two years ago, the Jharkhand High Court had directed the Deogarh administration to manage the financial and administrative affairs of the temple but steer clear of religious issues. The administration then regulated the fee charged for rituals, irking the priests.
And while the priests grumble about the Baba Vaidyanath temple going online, many have welcomed the move.
“Now I can offer puja to Lord Shiva from Ranchi. It is a tough job to offer puja there during Shravan,” said Rakesh Tewary, a resident of this state capital.
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