N24, KATHMANDU: The government has decided on Wednesday to reinstall Indian priest at the holiest Pashupatinath shrine thus giving continuity to enturies-old practice whereby Shaivite Dravidian Brahmins are the presiding priests.
The new law that will come into force from April 8 says that those eligible to be appointed as priests, called Bhatts, have to belong to the Dravid Shaivite Brahman community from the Trilinga region.
The government headed by Prachanda had appointed a Nepali Brahmin as the head priest of the temple in July 2008 and again in December the same year, leading to a bedlam.
The change was first in recorded history of the Pashupatinath temple. Incidentally, Minister of Culture Gopal Kiranti, who brought about the new law, had earlier led the campaign to remove Indian priests.
Official sources said the current law also aims to manage donations at the temple and use them for the social and religious development of the country.
From now on, Indian priests and ‘Bhandaris will be entitled to a regular salary. However, any donations to the temple will be deposited with the Pashupati Area Development Trust (PADT), an administrative body that late King Birendra set up around 27 years ago to make temple administration more transparent and accountable.
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