Why Centre has objected to Odisha's plan for landmark Lingaraj Temple
- The Central government has told the Odisha government that its ordinance to bring the Lingaraj temple and its associated temples under a special law is outside the legislative competence of the state legislature.
- It also said the ordinance is in conflict with the rules laid down under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act, 1958(AMASR Act).
Temple and plan
- Lingaraj: largest temple in Bhubaneswar
- It is believed to have been built by the Somvanshi King Yayati I.
- Material culture: red stone and is a classic example of the Kalinga style of architecture.
- The temple is divided into four sections - Garbha Griha (sanctum sanctorum), Yajna Shala (the hall for prayers), Bhoga Mandap (the hall of offering) and Natya Shala (hall of dance).
- The temple complex has one hundred and fifty subsidiary shrines.
- Lingaraj is referred to as ‘Swayambhu' – self-originated Shivling.
- The 66- acre "Ekamra Kshetra" development plan was intended to preserve nine sites and 1 nearby area through an expenditure of around Rs 700 crore.
Steps taken by the Odisha Government for Lingaraj Temple
- 2019: the Odisha Government announced the Ekamra Kshetra Development project for the development of the area around Lingaraj temple to revive the heritage and cultural value of the ‘temple city.
- 2020: Lingaraj Temple Ordinance was introduced to bring Lingaraj Temple and 8 other associated temples under the control of the Lingaraj Temple Managing Committee, similar to the one for Jagannath Temple in Puri.
- Under the ordinance, a fund creation was also proposed to deposit income derived from immovable and movable properties of the temple.
Objections raised by the Central Government against the Ordinance?
- The Ministry of Home Affairs has said several sections of the proposed ordinance were in conflict with the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains(AMASR) Act.
- Firstly, the ordinance covers 12 centrally protected monuments, including the Lingaraj temple and three tanks.
- This was outside the legislative competence of the state legislature as it violates the provisions of the AMASR Act,1958.
- Secondly, the ordinance has a provision for retail shops for the sale of commodities inside or outside the temples.
- But as per AMASR Act, a monument should not be used for any other purposes not consistent with its character.
- Thirdly, a managing committee will be set up to oversee the lease or sale of movable or immovable property attached to the Lingaraj temple.
- But the movable property may include archaeological or artistic objects (meaning antiques) and in that case, it will be in conflict with the AMASR Act.
- Fourthly, the ordinance provides for certain powers to the temple committee to undertake repairs, for which the Archaeological Survey of India is responsible.
- Therefore, this clause is also in contradiction with the provision of the AMASR Act.
- Fifthly, the ordinance provides for special darshan on payment of a fee.
- This was found in violation of the existing agreement between ASI and temple management, which clearly stipulates the public would have free access to the monument.
- Lastly, the ordinance provides for the repair and construction of new buildings, while the centre contended that construction can only be allowed by the National Monuments Authority.
Prelims take away
- Kalinga style of architecture
- Lingaraj temple
- Styles of Indian temple architecture
- National Monuments Authority.
- Archeological survey of India
Q. Discuss the factors responsible for distinct architectural style of temple construction in different parts of India.