Berhampur (Orissa): Not only the
Gajapati King of Puri, a large number of royals in Orissa
Tuesday performed the ceremonial `Chhera Pahanra` or the
sweeping of chariots as part of rituals associated with the
annual Rath Yatra of Lord Jagannath.
While Gajapati Maharaja Dibya Singha Dev performed
`Cherra Pahanra` at Puri, another royal Ashok Kumar Narendra
Dev did so at the Khaspa Street Rath Yatra.
The Jagannath temple at Khaspa Street, is one of the
the oldest temples in Berhampur and was built by the Mahuri
King about 300 years ago.
"I have been maintaining this tradition after death of
my father in 1974," said Ashok Kumar Narendra Dev who has sold
sold his palace here and moved with his family to Bhubaneswar,
where he is doing business.
The new head of Dharakote, another estate in Ganjam
district, however did not perform the ceremony this year.
After the death of her father Kishor Chandra Singhdeo,
his elder daughter 14-year-old Sulakhyana Devi was crowned
The royal scion of the Sanakhemundi U N Dev also did
not. "My mother prevents me from doing it, even though his
father had performed it."
"The practice of sweeping chariots began to give a
message to the people that kings were also servants of the
Lord, said Bhaskar Mishra," a researcher in Jagannath cult.
The royal families of Athagarh, Khallikote, Sorada,
Jarada, Mahuri, Chikiti, Sheragada, Dharakote, Ghumusara had
built a number of Jagannath temples in different places in
Ganjam district to popularize the Jagannath cult, said Shishir
Kumar Panda, a historian of Berhampur University.