Mahakal temple fire: District administration bans outside colours for Rangpanchami celebrations

14 persons suffered injuries in a fire in temple’s sanctum sanctorum on Monday

Mahakal temple fire Devotees rushed out of Mahakal temple after a fire broke out in sanctum sanctorum

Devotees will not be allowed to bring colours from outside into Madhya Pradesh's famous Mahakaleshwar temple during Rangpanchami on March 30, the administration has said in the wake of Monday's fire.

At least 14 priests, including 'sevaks' (servitors), were injured in a fire that broke out in the sanctum sanctorum of the revered Shiva temple in Ujjain early on Monday during the 'bhasma aarti' ritual.

“Along with Holi, the festival of colours is also celebrated in the Mahakaleshwar temple on Rangpanchami. We have decided that Shri Mahakaleshwar Temple Management Committee will arrange for herbal colour made from tesu' (palash) flowers on Rangpanchami,” Ujjain District Collector Neeraj Kumar Singh told PTI on Tuesday.

“On Rangpanchami, no devotee will be allowed to bring colours into the temple premises from outside. The number of devotees on Rangpanchami will also be controlled during the ‘bhasma aarti' held in the morning,” he said.

MP minister Kailash Vijayvargiya had expressed apprehension that the fire at the renowned temple might have been caused by chemicals in ‘gulaal', a coloured powder used in rituals and during Holi.

“Every year, Holi is celebrated in Mahakaleshwar Temple by throwing gulaal. Maybe, some chemical in the gulaal caused the fire. However, we are not going to stop the tradition of playing Holi with Lord Bholenath in Mahakaleshwar Temple," the minister had said on Monday. “It will be ensured that no chemical-laced gulaal is used next time,” he had added.

Chief Minister Mohan Yadav had said that a detailed investigation was being done into the incident and it will also be probed if the fire broke out due to the presence of mica or any chemical in the gulaal.

Meanwhile, Dr Vinod Bhandari, founder president of Sri Aurobindo Institute of Medical Sciences (SAIMS), said that four more people, who were among those who suffered burns in the Mahakaleshwar Temple fire, have been admitted to their facility. “We are treating a total of 12 people who sustained burn injuries in the incident. The health of all the patients is improving. Specialist doctors are monitoring their condition,” he said.

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