Dumka, Aug. 26: Pilgrims will henceforth not be allowed to touch the deity or enter the sanctum sanctorum of Baidyanath Dham temple during major festivals like Shravani Mela and Maha Shivratri.
At a meeting last evening, the Baidyanath Dham temple management committee decided to disallow the practice of "sparsh puja" during the holy month of Shravan and other auspicious occasions when the rush of pilgrims becomes difficult to control.
Unlike earlier when pilgrims entered the sanctum sanctorum to pour Ganga jal and other offerings on the Shiv lingam and touch it, in future they will only be allowed to pour the water into a silver vessel that would be installed outside the main temple.
The pilgrims, however, will be able to watch the water falling on to the Shiv lingam on close circuit televisions that would be installed at various locations.
"The new system will be formally demonstrated on January 1 and in all possibility would be introduced from the next Shravani Mela," chairperson of Baidyanath Dham Temple Management Committee T.P. Sinha said.
He added that the move was aimed at ensuring effective crowed management during major festivals.
Priest Vinod Dwari, the president of the Panda Dharmarakshini Sabha, welcomed the decision of the committee and said it would go a long way in controlling the crowds.
"The silver vessel called arghya would be installed at the Manjhlakhand in front of the main door and eight foot away from the Shiv lingam," Dwari said, arguing the decision would not hurt religious sentiments in any manner.
He added that the move would in fact come as a boon for more than 50 per cent of pilgrims who fail to enter the temple because of the rush.
Around 50 lakh pilgrims throng the Baidyanath Dham temple during Shravani Mela alone, posing a serious challenge to the administration.