Taking a cue from Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s efforts to end the VIP culture in the country, Jharkhand’s Raghubar Das government has asked all states to refrain from recommending VIP darshan at the famous abode of Lord Shiva, Baba Baidyanath Dham in Jharkhand’s Deoghar district during the upcoming holy month of Shravan. Leaders cutting across party lines have hailed the decision.

Baidyanath Jyotirlinga temple, also known as Baba Baidyanath dham and Baidyanath dham, is one of the 12 Jyotirlingas, the most sacred abodes of Shiva. It is located in Deoghar district in Santhal Pargana division.

Lakhs of devotees from India and overseas, travel to the holy town during the auspicious month to offer their prayers. For the state government, managing the crowd of pilgrims for 30 days and preventing any untoward incident remains a major challenge.

The Raghubar Das government had stopped VIP or any kind of out of turn darshan last year considering the inconveniences to common devotees. Carrying forward, the Centre has also decided to cooperate with the state government in the decision.

“It is requested that recommendation or requisition for making arrangements for VIP or out of turn darshan at Baba Baidyanath temple should not be sent to the state government or directly to the district administration, Deoghar,” said a letter undersigned by Vijay Kumar Munjal, joint secretary to the Jharkhand government.

The Baba Baidyanath Temple during Holy Shravan sees similar crowds of devotees all 30 days. (HT Photo)

“We are following the directive in letter and spirit,” said Deoghar police superintendent, Vijay Laxmi. “If anyone desires to skip the long queues, they have an option to go for Shighra darshan (instant darshan) by buying tickets priced at Rs 500. But this option is not available on Sundays and Mondays,” she added.

Given the surge of large crowds of pilgrims round the clock on all 30 days, fears of accidents and stampedes keep the administration on its toes around the temple premises. Visits by VVIPs add to their woes.

In 2015, eleven pilgrims died in a stampede near the temple. Last year, thanks to the tireless efforts of the district police chief Vijay Laxmi, no untoward incident was reported in or around the temple town.

“We would be on our toes and hope that the auspicious month passes off peacefully,” the police superintendent said.