Vikash Sharma

Amidst the ongoing controversy surrounding the 72-ft high chariot in Keonjhar, Puri King Dibyasingha Deb said that there should not be any deviation in the traditions and other rituals as Puri is the ‘moola peetha.’ The statement of Gajapati Maharaj, who is considered the first servitor of the Lord, assumes much significance at a time when Rath Yatra is around the corner.

Recently, Lord Baladevjew’s chariot (72-ft) in Keonjhar district was adjudged as the tallest Rath Yatra chariot by the Guinness Book of World Records. This has subsequently sparked a row in the State with some outfits terming it as a violation of the tradition.

On the other hand, Gajapati Maharaja said, “So far I have not received any official communication but as far as my knowledge is concerned, Purushottam Keshtra has been accorded the highest importance. As per the tradition, no chariot should be constructed above the height of the chariot of Puri Jagannath temple.”

In the past also, all the Kings and the temples under their control ensure that their respective chariots were not above the height of the Puri chariot. Only after the conduct of the rituals in Puri, they were being followed by others in the State, Gajapati Maharaj said adding, “Puri is the ‘moola peetha’ and others should follow the traditions accordingly and any deviation is not acceptable.”

Reacting to the chariot height controversy, senior servitor Krushna Chandra Khuntia said, “We are hurt as Lord Jagannath’s peeth assumes much significance. Any individual or institution should refrain from any deviation. And, all the servitors are against any violation in the tradition.”

Binayak Das Mohapatra, another senior servitor said, “Others should follow the traditions and customs of the moola peetha. We do not have any link with the Guinness Book of World Records. As Rath Yatra is approaching, we urge the administration to conduct a detailed inquiry into the chariot height controversy.”