The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Advani to kick off Kanchi fest

Chennai, March 17: Deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani will inaugurate, on March 22, the year-long golden jubilee celebrations of sankaracharya Sri Jayendra Saraswathi’s ascension to the ancient pontifical seat of Kanchi Kamakothi Peetham.

King Gyanendra of Nepal will be present at the function along with several state dignitaries.

Vice-President Bhairon Singh Shekhawat will be the chief guest at the function, to be attended by Lok Sabha Speaker Manohar Joshi and several Governors and chief ministers, Sri Vijayendra Saraswathi, the junior sankaracharya of the mutt, told reporters here this evening.

Tamil Nadu chief minister Jayalalithaa, too, has been invited. But the junior sankaracharya said he could not confirm her participation.

The year-long golden jubilee has been planned as a multi-dimensional event across the country, he said, with religious functions scheduled at Kancheepuram on March 23.

The inaugural is being organised in Chennai for security reasons as Advani will participate, Vijayendra Saraswathi said.

On March 22, celebrations will simultaneously start in the north of the country in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, and move to all major states and cities over the next 12 months.

Advani will release a book, Preceptors of Advaita, on the first day and hand the first copy to King Gyanendra, the junior sankaracharya said.

On March 22, 1954, sankaracharya Sri Chandrasekharendra Saraswathi had chosen a young Vedic student, Subramaniam, to succeed him to the pontifical seat instituted by Adi Shankara at Kancheepuram over 2,500 years ago.

The same day this year will thus mark the 50th year of Sri Jayendra Saraswathi’s “peetarohana”, the junior sankaracharya said. The religious programmes will commence on March 21 with the Kanchi sankaracharya offering “pranam” to Lord Venkateshwara at Tirumala-Tirupati, where 51 Vedic pundits will be honoured.

The same day, Jayendra Saraswathi will inaugurate a social work global resource centre in Chennai to train social workers.

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