Even as dispute continues over resuming ‘puja’ at the Kedarnath shrine in Uttarakhand, rituals observed at the Indian temple began on Saturday at another temple close by here.
Doleshwar Mahadev temple in Bhaktapur is believed to contain the head of the bull-shaped Hindu deity worshipped at Kedarnath.
“After puja got disrupted due to floods, we got a call from Bhim Shankarling Shivacharya, the head priest of Kedarnath, to start the same rituals here,” said Bharatmani Jangam, patron of Doleshwar temple.
All rituals observed during puja at Kedarnath were performed in Doleshwar, and organisers say they will continue them daily till puja resumes at Kedarnath.
Legend has it that the Pandavas, on their way to Kedarnath, pulled the tail of a bull — a shape Lord Shiva had taken to prevent their journey — and as a result, its head got separated and couldn’t be found.
The body of the bull is worshipped at Kedarnath. But four years ago, Shivacharya on a visit to Nepal, declared that the head of the bull was the idol worshipped at Doleshwar.
Since both the temples followed the same rituals, he declared Doleshwar shrine as the head of the sacred temple in India.
“We followed the exact procedures followed at Kedarnath while beginning Saturday’s puja. The rituals will continue from now on,” said Bacchu Ram Jangam, chief priest of Doleshwar Mahadev.
Keeping the importance of the shrine and its potential to attract devotees in mind, the Nepal government has plans to develop the area.
“A master plan of NPR 38 crore (R23.75 crore) has been earmarked to improve infrastructure around the temple,” said Krishna Hari Baskota, secretary to the office of Nepal’s prime minister.