Ujjain Mahakaleshwar temple priests want development and streamlining of facilities

June 6th, 2009 - 4:17 pm ICT by ANI  

Ujjain, June 6 (ANI): A section of priests at the famous Mahakaleshwar Temple here are keen that the facilities for the pilgrims at the temple should be improved early. They are also keen that the rules for classifying pilgrims and giving some preferential facilities should be revised and there should be a procedure for the same. There is a feeling among some priests at the temple, particularly among those who have been serving at the Mahakaleshwar temple for generations by performing daily prayers inside the sanctum sanctorum, that there is need to undertake development work. “The ongoing Swaran Shikhar Yojna, meant for covering the main structure of the Mahakaleshwar Temple, has not been completed. It’s been two years since it was started. It is going on but at a snail’ pace. Government should take over the Swaran Shikhar Yojna and complete the work at the earliest,” said Pt. Dinesh Pujari, one of the 16 priests at the Mahakaleshwar Temple and former member of Management committee. He suggests the construction of a hall for pilgrims to take rest. “Thousands of pilgrims visit this temple and almost all have to depend on private lodges. There is no reason why provision cannot be made inside the temple at where pilgrims can take brief rest. Construction of a big hall inside the temple can be a help for all,” says Pt. Dinesh Pujari. “There is a need to install information boards at various places about the significance of temple and history related to it. Often devotees come and leave but don’t know much about this holy place. Information boards would enable them to know the history of the temple,” he adds There should also be a procedure for making announcements regarding closure of entry to the temple in advance When there is a rush of devotees , it comes as a surprise for all when entry to the temple is suddenly stopped. There is no prior announcement , which causes disappointment to devotees arriving for “Darshan” from distant places,” says Pt. Dinesh Pujari. One of the main complaints of the priests is that the management has a strange classification of V.I.P visitors. It is questioned how anyone linked to any important office can turn up and be given important treatment. “There should be some definition of putting someone in theVIP category. Presently, even a general staff carrying a slip or recommendation letter of his VIP boss can come and claim the VIP category for having Darshan or participating in special Puja at the temple,” said another priest, requesting anonymity. “Every month a huge amount is offered by devotees arriving here from different parts of the country. The offerngs should be used for development work of Mahakaleshwar Temple, keeping the devotees’ needs and wishes in mind ,” said another priest. Members of one big family of priests hold the sole right to perform the Puja–the prayer, Shringaar and other rituals–inside the sanctum sanctorum. However, there are others in the temple who also offer their services. “Originally there used to be 21 Purohits in the temple. Their families have extended and at present the number has swollen to about 150 who perform the Abhishekham ritual for devotees visiting the temple. This is their main source of income.

“But at any corner of the temple one can find student priests offering their services at different prices” said one of old timers at the temple. “Mahakaleshwar” in Ujjain city of Madhya Pradesh is one of the 18 revered “Jyotirlingas” of Lord Shiva that exist in India. (ANI)

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