Gopeshwar: With the gates of Badrinath shrine scheduled to be reopened on May 5, Ishwar Prasad Namburi was on Friday formally given charge as the `Rawal` (head priest) of the famed Himalayan temple.
The post was lying vacant ever since former `Rawal` of the temple B Keshavan Namburi was suspended after his arrest for allegedly confining a woman in a room and molesting her, Dharmadhikari (religious head) of the temple Bhuvan Uniyal said.
25-year-old Ishwar, who was serving as `Nayab Rawal` (deputy head priest), has been appointed temporarily as the `Rawal`, he said.
The purification ritual, called Tilpatra ceremony which is a must for anyone to qualify for appointment to the post of `Rawal`, was conducted in the presence of a large number of devotees at Narsingh temple of Joshimath where Badrivishal (Lord Vishnu) is worshipped during his winter sojourn when the portals of the high-altitude shrine are closed due to snow.
During the ceremony, Ishwar took a vow of celibacy.