Devotees can access deities during Rathyatra: Temple admn

Puri: Bringing an end to the stalemate over devotees’ access to deities on chariots during the ensuing Rathyatra, the temple administration on Wednesday decided to continue the year-long tradition.

“It has been decided in Srimandir managing committee meeting that this time the devotees will be allowed to climb the chariots of the three deities during Rathyatra and touch the Trinity,” Chief temple administrator Arvind Padhee said.  

“However, the Puri Sankaracharya will take a call on the issue post Rathyatra,” added Padhee.

The ‘Daita’ servitors, also known as the body protectors of the deities had threatened not to take part in any rituals of the deities during the annual Rathyatra if the temple management sticks to its decision and does not allow devotees to touch the deities.

The temple management, disheartened over last year’s incident when a devotee couple was roughed up by some servitors on the ground that they were non-Hindus, had decided last month to restrain the devotees from climbing and touching the deities during the festival.

Though a flurry of discussions over the issue in various quarters failed to resolve the issue, the Chief temple administrator had assured that a decision in this regard would be taken before the Rathyatra.