History of temple administration

If we go through the annals of history, we find that the Sarala temple was managed by a single man called “Parichha” and he was the sole authority (de-facto ruler) of the temple till mid eighties. In the year of 1863 Endowment Act was promulgated by the British rulers and a no. of religious establishments came under the control of Endowment for the first time in the history of India.

As per the historical evidences, immediately after the promulgation of endowment act the administration of religious establishments like Kadam Rasul (Cuttack) Jaganath Ballva Math (Puri), Sakhi Gopal (Puri District), Lingaraj Temple (Bhubaneswar), Baladev Jew Temple (Kendrapara), Govinda Jew Temple (Kendrapara), Bhagabati Temple (Banapur) and Sarala Temple of Jhankad (Cuttack district) came under endowment. According to this act, a three member trustee will be in charge of the administration of the religious establishments under the endowment and the District Judge of the concerned districts were empowered to select three members (normally eminent persons) as Trustees for the concerned religious establishments.

After the endowment took control over the temple administration some of the prominent personalities were nominated by District Judge of Cuttack for Sarala Temple and they are Dasa Rathi Das, Gokulananda Choudhury, Giris Chandra Ray Chaudhuri, Raybahadur Nimain Charan Mitra, Babu Shyam Sundar Bose, Babu Kapileswar Das, Susil Raj Choudhury, Niranjan Parija.

Though the endowment act had many good provisions for the temple administration but it had a serious drawback. Once appointed, a member gets lifetime tenure as a trustee and can only be succeeded by other nominated members after his death. Because of this provision in the act, some ineffective members started continuing in different temple administrations for years together without significant or no contributions. The Sarala temple was not an exception. Most of the members nominated by District Judge, Cuttack were hesitant to visit the Sarala Temple as because it was little far away (fifty kilometers) from Cuttack and was not connected with good roads. So they used run the administration of the temple from Cuttack. Therefore after the appointment of trustees, there was no change in the administration scenario in Sarala Temple and it remained as before. After few years, for crisis management the then Trust Board appointed a local headman named Chintamani Parija of Tentulipada village as manager of the temple and this man brought some changes in the administration during his tenure as manager. But probably that was not enough and the villagers of nearby villages were highrunly dissatisfied the way the temple was administered.

In the year of 1928, the Cuttack District Judge received some complaints regarding mismanagement in the temple. To streamline the administration, the District Judge nominated Ray Bahadur Chintamani Acharya and Choudhury Brajanath Mishra of Veda village as members in the temple trust board and that heralded a new era in the administration of Sarala temple. Ray Bahadur Chintamani Acharya took very good initiative to make administration more efficient and effective. He also had brought some changes to the old rules and enforced new rules and regulations for the long term benefit of the temple. During his tenure, the development of the Sarala temple reached a new height.

In absence of proper rules and regulations for temple administration the donations of the pilgrims were taken away either by the Sevayats or by Parichhas (Hereditary administrator of the temple) and could not be used for the welfare of the temple. But for the first time in the history of the temple, Chintamani Acharya, had brought changes by making new laws through trust board to discontinue the above practice. Moreover under the new law, he ensured that donation of the pilgrims either in cash or kind is accepted by the temple administration. Also to properly account for the donations, he started the system of providing printed receipts to pilgrims against their donations. While implementing new rules for the betterment of the temple, there was growing dissatisfaction among Pujakas or Sevayats. Ray Bahadur Acharya immediately realized this and to address this issue he proposed a unique model of temple income sharing by the Sevayats. As per the model, on a particular day, those (the Sevayats) are on duty would get 14 of the temple income of that day. By enacting these new laws through the trust board and by creating public awareness, Ray Bahadur Acharya was able attract good amount of donations from the general public. Later on these public donation money was utilized for the improvement of the temple and brought a visible change in and around the temple area.

Ray Bahadur Chintamani Acharya will be always remembered for his contributions for the development of the Sarala temple. Besides development, he was responsible for preparing a by-law for temple administration, which laid the foundation stone for the proper administration of Sarala Temple and for which his name will be written in the golden letters in the history of the temple. As per the by-law an honorarium was fixed (Prapye pauna) for the Panda Sevak for the first time in the temple history and after the by-law came into force, the old hereditary Parichha administration was completely abolished.

“The Parichha administration was most corrupt and lethargic because of hereditary in nature. We don’t have any hesitation to abolish it by preparing a new by-law” said Ray Bahadur Chintamani Acharya, before discontinuing the Parichha administration in Sarla Temple. From that time onwards the ritualistic duty of Parichha was handed over to a representative selected from the panda pujaks. Narasingha Pand, was the first empowered Panda Pujak and performed the ritualistic duty of Parichha. He was successful to discontinue the age old animal sacrifice system by mobilizing public and Pujak Sevaks of the temple. In the year of 1946 entry of Harijan people (Harijan prabesh) into the temple was organised by P.S.P leader Nisamani Khuntia and it was another important event in the history of the temple. It was a great conflict between sevayat and administration in the history of temple.

In the year of 1939, Hindu Devotara Endowment act came into force and a commissioner became the head of the endowment. Trustee appointment power was transferred from District Judge to Endowment Commissioner. As per the new act, the trust board once constituted will have five years tenure and it has to be re-constituted after each five years. Under the Hindu Devotara Commissioner in the first trust board Ray Bahadur Chintamani Acharya was appointed as managing trustee, Baman Charana Mohanty and Giridhar Das were appointed as two members. After five years, in the year 1945, the trust board re-constituted and in the place of Giridhar Das, Sarat Chandra Parija appointed as the trustee.

News

The Sarala Temple Trust Board meeting was held on 2nd. October' 2012 on collector's office under the presidentship of Collector, Jagatsinghpur
The devotees are requested to donate generously in the "Hundi" placed inside and outside temple premises. Your donation in the "Hundi" goes to the temple fund.
An ATM is opened near the temple for the convenience of the devotees and general public
Tthe temple "Prasad" is now available for general public at a cost Rs. 35/- per person. Arrangements are made for taking "Prasad" in newly constructed "Anand Bazar", backside of the temple.
 

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