Ekamra Kshetra Yojana: 2 lakh devotees can witness Mahashivratri
Bhubaneswar: Odisha Government has chalked out a plan for peripheral development of the 11th century Shree Lingaraj Temple here to attract more tourists to the State capital during the post pandemic period.
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, through a video conference, discussed with officials on how to implement the ‘Ekamra Kshetra’ project in the next one year.
Naveen on Monday directed authorities to complete various developmental works that include beautification of ‘Bindu Sagar’ (the sacred pond), provision of substantial space and facilities for devotees, establishment of orientation centre, parking space, food plaza, Bhajana Mandap and others within a year.
Naveen has also mooted a proposal to work out plans to accord UNESCO recognition for heritage city of Bhubaneswar.
Plans are made to take steps for including festivals such as Mahashivaratri, Ashokastami, Rath Yatra and Sitala Sasthi in the National Calendar of Festivals. An official statement said that efforts will be made to create a spiritual, ecological and divine ambience in and around Shree Lingaraj temple.
“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,” the official said.
Bindusagar, the sacred pond near the temple, has a unique connection with Lord Lingaraj. It is the second most attractive place after the temple as religious scriptures say Bindusagar is the union of drops of water from various sacred rivers of India.
It forms an important part of the spiritual life in ‘Ekamra Kshetra’ (Bhubaneswar is also called Ekamra Kshetra). It is also linked to various festivals of the temple, said Ashok Chandra Panda, the local MLA and minister.
The plan also envisages a barrier-free direct connect from Lingaraj temple to Bindusagar. People can watch ‘Chandan Yatra’ (Sandalwood festival) at Bindusagar directly from Lingaraj temple. Other temples in between like Bindhyabasini, Bhawani Shankar, Sukasari and Mohini will also be visible when the plans are executed, Panda said.
Historical records suggest that about 350 years ago, there was nothing between Lingaraj temple and Bindusagar except some temples, he said.