Rainwater flooded the garbhagriha (sanctum sanctorum) of the Mahakaleshwar temple in Ujjain on Tuesday with the district administration rushing in a team of engineers to find out the reason, district collector Kavindra Kiyawat said.
The water is at present touching the yoni (the half base) of the lingam, which is one of 12 jyotirlingams in the country, temple trustee Pandit Pradeep Sharma said, adding that a brief flooding of the garbhagriha was reported in the early 70s. However, it couldn't be corroborated.
The Mahakaleshwar temple, situated about half kilometre from the river Kshipra and 50 metres from the Rudra Sagar lake, has the sanctum sanctorum a little lower than the surrounding areas. However, its architectural marvel had always prevented the garbhagriha's flooding even during the rains.
Kiyawat, who is also the president of the Mahakaleshwar Temple Trust, told HT that the situation had been the fallout of incessant rain in the district.
He said the engineers' team had been asked to find out the reason of the garbhagriha's flooding and take on-the-spot decision to stop the entry of the rainwater.
The district collector said because of the rain, the temple spring (Koti Tiratha Kunda) and the nearby Rudra Sagar Lake too were overflowing. He said, "Even as we were taking out water (since Monday), continuous rain kept adding water to the spring. The rain water made its entry into the garbhagriha during Monday night. Efforts were being made to pump out the water from there."
Pandit Pradeep Sharma said the doors of the temple were closed at 11 pm and opened at around 3.30 am daily. On Tuesday, when the priests went for the morning bhasma aarti (the ash ritual), they found water in the garbhagriha, touching the yoni (the base) of the lingam.
However, this didn't hamper the aarti, he said, adding the district administration should take immediate measures to stop such recurrence.
He suspected that ongoing constructions within the temple complex could be the reason behind the flooding. However, he failed to authenticate it.
The district collector said that over one thousand people had been shifted from the low lying areas of Ujjain, including Ekta Nagar, Sudarshan Nagar and Loharpati, to 13 relief camps.
"Around 7000 to 8000 rain affected people are being provided food at these relief camps. This afternoon, the rain had stopped and I am hoping it continues that way. Water is receding from waterlogged areas," he said.