Jagatsinghpur, August 3 (LocalWire): The 16th century Sarala Temple of Kanakpur resumed its rituals today after the dispute between the families of two head priests was resolved with the intervention of district administration.
The rituals at the famous temple had been interrupted following a dispute between the two families and the district administration conducted a meeting among the head priests and officials of endowment commission in the presence of police to restore normalcy.
Head priest Ranjan Panda, Kaibalaya Panda, and their opponent group Pragyandipta Panda, and Janmajaya Panda were also present in this meeting to resolve their issues.
During the discussion, it was found that the Endowment Commission had in May last had declared petitioners Ranjan Panda and Kaibalaya Panda along with the opposition group of Pragyandipta Panda and Janmajaya Panda as joint head priests (Badapandas), with equal rights to perform all special rituals of the deity because both the groups are considered as two branches of the common ancestor Sadashiba Badapanda.
Every year, nearly 74 special rituals are performed in Sarala Temple by head priests, while daily rituals are performed by other priests.
It was found that petitioners Ranjan Panda and Kaibalaya Panda had been prevented from performing rituals in Sarala temple by their opposition head priest Pragyandipta Panda and Janmajaya Panda in violation of the endowment commission directive.
The district collector Sangram Keshari Mohapatra directed the two head priests to follow the directive of endowment commission and perform the rituals on rotation basis since both the groups are considered as two branches of Sadashiba Badapanda.
He also warned that stern action will be taken against violators who would prevent the other from performing special rituals in Sarala temple in violation of the rotational system.
Superintendent of police Biswanath Mishra, Endowment Department executive officer Sangram Keshari Dhal, sub-collector Mahendra Prasad Mohanty and other officials were present during the meeting.
It may be recalled that the petitioner Ranjan Panda had performed rituals on the occasion of Chitalagi Amabyasa on last Thursday, while the opposition group protested and restricted Ranjan and Kaibalaya severely affecting the rituals in Sarala temple since last two days.