Royal scions continue Rath Yatra tradition

Berhampur: Carrying on and age-old tradition, scions of royal families have performed ‘Chhera Pahanra’ during Lord Jagannath’s Rath Yatra at several places in Ganjam and Gajapati districts.

“As the royal families in Ganjam patronised and built the Jagannath temples, the present generation performs the service to god following the Puri king,” said noted historian and former professor, Berhampur University, Manmath Padhy.

Most of the erstwhile royal family members were dressed in traditional attire, including a turban and sword while performing the ritual yesterday.

“My father-in law Sachhidanand Rajendra Deo performs the traditional ritual at Chikiti,” said Woman and Child Development minister Usha Devi.

While the 93-year-old king of Chikiti performed the ‘chhera pahanra’, his son Trigunatitta Deo assisted him.

Ashok Kumar Narendra Dev, son of Sishir Kumar Dev, the then king of Mahuri estate, comes to Khaspa Street for the ritual every year from Bhubaneswar, where he is currently living. “I have maintained the tradition after my father’s death in 1974,” he said.

Similarly, Durga Shankar Prasad Harichand Jagdev, the scion of Ahthagarh Patna, who is working in Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, Sunabeda, also performed chhera pahanra.

“I have been doing this job since my father expired in 2006,” said Jagdev. “I have all the royal clothes but the sword was kept in the temple,” he said.