BHUBANESWAR: Tourism department sanctioned Rs one crore for conservation and development of Kedar Gouri temple and three sacred tanks in its premises. The ninth century Shaiva shrine, which has been lying neglected for years.
“It was a long-standing demand of locals to start conservation work of the temple and renovation of the sacred tanks, the water of which has believed to have many medicinal qualities. Steps will be taken to make proper drainage system so that outside water will not get into the tanks. Besides, periphery of the temple will also be developed with proper lighting and beautification,” said culture and tourism minister Ashok Chandra Panda.
During rainy season the deities in the temple submerge in knee deep water every year and the tanks got contaminated by drain water and have become unusable. Priests in the temple alleged that they had to cancel rituals as drain water gushed into the temple one or two spell of heavy showers. There are three tanks in the temple called Kedar kund, Gouri kund and Dugdha kund.
“The temple is a significant Shaiva temple as it is one of the eight Astasambhu temples in the city. Many interesting legends are also associated with the temple. But water logging is a perennial problem in the temple caused mainly due to lack of proper management of drainage in and around. Despite several complaints no action is being taken,” said Kamalakanta Badu, a priest of the temple.
A few days back some civil society groups, who had launched a unique protest by standing in waist deep water in the tanks, welcomed the move. “Earlier people from far off places used to come to take a bath in these tanks and carry home the water as it is believed to cure many diseases. But due to lack of maintenance and wrong town planning the water of the tank got contaminated and the ponds got polluted. It is a welcoming step that government, though late, has taken steps for their renovation and we hope unlike several other projects government won’t forget about it after laying the foundation stone,” said Bhisma Nayak, convenor of Ekamra Jana Jagaran Mancha, a civil society group.