Jorhat, Nov. 27: The Sivasagar district administration is planning to make arrangements so that devotees can light earthen lamps outside the Shiva Dol at Gaurisagar for proper conservation of the historical temple.
“We are thinking of making arrangements to allow devotees to light lamps outside the temple as has been the practice at the Shiva Dol in Sivasagar. This would be done after a discussion with the ASI and local residents,” Sivasagar deputy commissioner Jatindra Lakhar told The Telegraph today.
Lakhar’s comment came in wake of protests yesterday by residents near the Gaurisagar temple after an ASI team led by its superintending archaeologist (Guwahati circle), S.S. Gupta, had taken out religious materials from inside the temple on Sunday evening.
He said a magistrate was sent to the area yesterday to sort out the impasse and it was settled amicably. Lahkar said he was hopeful that the locals and the committee, which manages functions organised in the temple, would agree to worshipping outside the sanctum sanctorum for better protection of the monument.
He cited the example of the Shiva Dol near the historical Sivasagar tank where devotes light lamps or incense sticks outside the temple. The secretary of Gaurisagar Shiva Dol Unnayan Namkirtan Samity, Babul Bora, said the residents said they were open to talks.
“We will sit for talks and like to cooperate with the district administration if they take up any initiative for better protection of the dol,” Bora said. He said the objection was to the survey team’s arbitrary action.
ASI sources in Sivasagar said the director was annoyed to see a large number of earthen lamps piled up near the centuries-old Shiva lingam and trishuls (tridents) kept near the sanctum sanctorum, making the area look dirty. A big steel frame near the lingam to hold a cloth to cover the shrine too made Gupta unhappy.
“According to our rules, the temple falls under non-living monument category where worship should not take place. But I was surprised to see religious materials inside the temple. So I asked my staff to remove them immediately,” the director said.
Gupta said he was surprised to learn from police later on Sunday that the religious sentiments of the people were hurt by his action. He said he had apologised to the residents yesterday.
The Shiva Dol, two other dols named Devi and Vishnu and a tank were constructed by Ahom queen Phuleswari Konwari in the 18th century, which are all protected by the ASI.