BHUBANESWAR: Uncertainty looms over the observation of age-old rituals in Lingaraj Temple for the second year due to apathetic attitude and sheer negligence of the Endowment Commission of Odisha.

Citizen forums of Old Town urged the State Endowment Commission and district administration to follow the Orissa High Court order and take steps for smooth conduct of various rituals, including ‘Handi Bhanga’ and Chandan Yatra and Sitala Sasthi at the temple.

Due to the apathetic attitude and sheer negligence of the Endowment Commission of Odisha and Lingaraj Temple Administration, the century-old tradition of ‘Handi Bhanga’ ritual could not be observed last year.

“Lord Kapileswar did not come to attend Chandan Yatra last year and it was a break in tradition. This year no steps have been taken to resolve the dispute as only a few days are left for the ritual. We urge the authorities to take steps for smooth conduct of the rituals being observed for centuries,” said Vishma Narayan Nayak, convenor of Ekamra Jagaran Mancha, a civil society organisation.

During ‘Handi Bhanga’ ritual, which is slated to be observed on March 4, Lord Lingaraj visits Kapileswar and invites him for his wedding on Sitala Sasthi. Sources said hearing a PIL, the Orissa high court has asked the Endowment Commission of the state, in charge of all temples, to make arrangements for smooth conduct of the rituals at the Lingaraj temple.

Lingaraj and Kapileswar temples are linked in many ways and several rituals are observed together. Last year, there were protests leading to disruption in rituals in both temples but the authorities did not take any step.

“They are doing nothing to resolve the dispute and things are uncertain,” said Biranchi Narayan Pati, secretary of Brahmana Nijog, a group of priests who perform major services at the Lingaraj Temple.

Executive officer of the Lingaraj Temple Administration, who is in-charge of administration of both the temples was not available for comments.