A committee that visited the Mahakaleshwar temple in Ujjain recently has recommended restricting certain offerings by devotees to save the Shivling.
The committee, comprising officials of Archaeological Survey of India and Geological Survey of India, visited the temple on September 7 at the Supreme Court’s direction to look into whether the Shivling has shrunk.
V K Saxena, director (science) at ASI’s science branch in Dehradun, who was part of the team, said the offering of bhaang paste to the lingam was not expected to cause harm to the symbolic stone denoting Shiva.
Some Ujjain residents, including Ujjaini Vidwat Parishad, which calls itself a body of intellectuals, started the debate over bhaang shringar, alleging this could be the reason for the lingam shrinking. But the panel reported: “Bhaang paste generally contains alkaloids and phenolic compounds which are not expected to cause damage to the stone. The presence of alkaloids and phenolic compounds help control biodegradation, as these show anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties.’’
Petitioner Sarika Guru possesses a copy of the report.
The expert committee suggested allowing a limited number of devotees into the sanctum sanctorum, and restricting offerings to only those made by priests. It also recommended that offering Gangajal should be restricted. It also recommended restricted use of milk, milk products and honey, restrictions on rubbing of jaggery or sugar powder on the stone, symbolic use of flowers and leaves.
The matter is likely to be heard next on October 3.