Devotees can only use 500 ml water from the Reverse Osmosis (RO) machine for the jalabhishek at the Mahakaleshwar Jyotirlinga in Ujjain, as per the norms passed by the Supreme Court on Friday for worship at the ancient temple.
The apex court approved eight points of the resolution passed by the temple management committee in consonance with the recommendation of an expert committee of officials of the Archeological Survey of India and Geological Survey of India.A bench of Justices Arun Mishra and L Nageswara Rao said the recomendations of the expert committee need to be implemented to preserve the lingam (symbol of the deity).
As per the new approved norms, the devotees would be permitted a fixed amount of water measuring 500ml in an appropriate small pot per person for Jalabhishek (worshipping by offering water).
It said that the water for Jalabhishek shall be taken from the Reverse Osmosis (RO) machine installed during Simhastha (religious fair), 2016, for which a connection shall be provided near the sanctum sanctorum.
The new resolution says that at present during the famous Bhasma Aarti (special prayer with sacred ash), half of the lingam is covered with cloth. Now on, it would be fully covered with dry cotton cloth during the prayers.
Restrictions were also placed for Abhishek and only up to 1.25 litres of milk or panchamrut (mixture of honey, liquid jaggery, milk, yogurt and ghee) per devotee shall be allowed.
After the Jalabhishek which concludes at 5 pm every day, the lingam will be cleaned and dried to minimise the water content and thereafter only dry pooja would be permitted each day.
The usual practice of rubbing of sugar powder on Shivalinga has been fully banned and instead, the use of Khandsari (unrefined raw white sugar) will be promoted.
A new sewage treatment plant shall be set up within a year and dryers and fans will be used to avoid moisture in sanctum sanctorum.“Bilva (bel) leaves and flowers shall be used on the upper part of the Shivling to avoid any obstruction in natural breathing of the stone,” the resolution approved by apex court said.
The bench, however, directed the ASI, GSI and other parties to file objections and suggestions if any in 15 days.“We have entertained this petition just to preserve the lingam only. It cannot be denied that several good work have been done by temple management and it is appreciable that they have accepted the recommendation of the expert committee in one stroke. It is a bold step,” the bench said.
On August 25, the apex court had constituted an expert committee comprising ASI, GSI and other officials to survey and analyse the Mahakaleshwar Jyotirlingam and prepare a report containing the rate at which the deterioration in its size was taking place and the measures to prevent it.
The Committee was also directed to study the other structures and also the temple and submit recommendations on steps for overall improvement of the entire premises and its preservation.
The committee had submitted an exhaustive report which was taken on record by the court and the temple management committee was directed to consider the recommendations.