Orissa: Villagers coronate collector as `king`

Last Updated: Friday, January 13, 2012 - 18:05

Kendrapara: Keeping the age-old
tradition alive, the head of the district administration
assumed the title of a `king` for a day in a village in
Jagatsinghpur district.

The crowned district collector, on Tuesday, discharged
duties of a king in accordance with tenets of kingship, a
practice in vogue in Sidhala village under Madhupur
grampanchayat.

Even as the unique practice arouses curiosity among
outsiders, the `subjects` -- guided by Jagannath culture and
heritage -- are reaping the benefits by religiously holding on
to it.

Enthroning the district collector as the king and
caretaker of Baldevjew, the presiding deity of the village,
the locals have succeeded in developing the village.

"Paying respect to customary practice, I sat on the
throne and wore the crown. It was a thrilling experience,"
said Collector Narayan Chandra Jena who was `coronated` as the
`king` with typical regal touch and flavour.

"Every year, a coronation ceremony is held and the
collector graces the occasion to sit on the throne. For us he
is the king of Sidhala. He rules us and looks after the
development. He is also duty bound to take care of the
presiding deity, Baldevjew," a local said.

"We follow the Jagannath culture. Earlier, the local
zamindar wore the crown and headed the Baldevjew shrine. With
his death, dispute arose as to who will wear the crown. After
much debate, it was unanimously decided in 1994 that the
collector would be made the `king`. Request was made to the
then collector who consented. Since then, the practice is
going on," secretary of Baldevjew temple management committee,
Sura Prasad Nayak said.

PTI



First Published: Friday, January 13, 2012 - 18:05

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