MP: Ujjain Kal Bhairav temple to get dedicated liquor counters
The Madhya Pradesh government has resorted to the unusual step of setting up liquor counters outside Kal Bhairav temple to ensure that devotees aren’t swindled by non-licensed vendors of alcohol, a popular offering at the shrine.
The move is significant as it comes ahead of next year’s Kumbh Mela, also known as the Simhastha fair, which is held once every 12 years. Lakhs of devotees are expected to visit Ujjain, 60 km from Indore, next year and offer alcohol as ‘prasad’ to Kal Bhairav, an important pilgrimage site for Hindus.
Kal Bhairav, an incarnate of Lord Shiva or Mahakal, is famous for “consuming” alcohol. There is no official estimate of how much liquor is offered at the temple but devotees are believed to present several hundred litres of alcohol to the deity every day.
“Keeping in view next year’s Simhastha fair, we decided to open two liquor counters, one for (locally made alcohol) and the other for foreign liquor,” deputy commissioner (excise) Raghavendra Upadhyay said.
Under its new excise policy, the state government has decided to set up liquor counters that will sell both varieties of liquor in 180-millilitre bottles from April 1. The move, which is expected to fill the government’s coffers, has been welcomed by devotees.
"It's a commendable move. It will stop garland vendors from selling us liquor at unregulated prices,” said Anil Sharma, who regularly visits the Kal Bhairav temple.
Another devotee, Ashok Joshi, said the measure will ensure that devotees are able to buy liquor at the appropriate cost.