The Indian chief priest of Nepal’s fifth-century Pashupatinath Temple here on Saturday submitted his resignation after 21 years of service for personal reasons.

Mahabaleshwor Bhatta gave his resignation to the Pashupati Area Development Trust, the body that looks after the Hindu temple’s affairs. The board of the trust accepted his resignation.

The decision was forwarded to the Ministry of Tourism and Culture, the ultimate authority to approve the resignation, temple authorities said. They said a new chief priest would be appointed from among the temple’s four other Indian priests.

Mr. Bhatta told the temple authorities that he decided to quit as he has to serve his old parents. In 2008, he resigned during the Maoist—led government, following controversy after then Prime Minister Prachanda’s move to replace him and the other priests with Nepali nationals.

He was reinstated after Hindu groups launched a protest. — PTI