Climbing chariots: Puri seer likely to give verdict by Sept 15

Bhubaneswar: Shankaracharya of Puri's Govardhan Peeth Swami Nischalananda Saraswati is likely to give his final verdict soon on the controversial matter relating to devotees act of climbing Lord Jagannth's chariots during the annual rath jatra.
 
"The Shankaracharya of Puri has already indicated to the Sri Jagannath Temple Administration that he will convey his decision in regards to devotees climbing the chariots and touching the deities by September 15," said Manoj Kumar Rath, spokesman of Govardhan Peeth in Puri.
 
Govardhan Peeth is one of the four monasteries founded by Adi Shankaracharya in the 8th Century. The Shankaracharya of Puri is the final authority to solve any ritual related disputes at the 12th century Jagannath Temple.
 
The Govardhan Peeth organised two-day workshop of Hindu religious scholars at Puri on the subject which ended today. At least 30 scholars and pundits from Tirupati, Kashi, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Odisha participated in the workshop and gave their views on the dispute. Gajapati king Dibyasingh Deb also participated in the two-day conclave 
 
While some scholars supported the practice of allowing devotees to climb the chariots and touch the deities as Jagannath comes out of the temple to mingle with people of all castes, religions and creed, others opposed it.
 
The controversy thickened following a recent incident where Italy-born famous Oddisi dance exponent Ileana Citaristi was beaten up by servitors on the chariot of Lord Jagannath.
 
Citaristi, a 'Padmashree' awardee, alleged in her complaint that she and one of her woman pupils had climbed up the chariot by paying donation. When they tried to move close to Lord Jagannath, they were ill-treated and physically assaulted by the servitor.
 
"I was shocked over the behaviour of the sevayat who ill-treated and hit me thrice on the head shouting foreigner ..foreigner," she had said.