Temple shut for king's visit

(From left) Shankaracharya Swami Nischalananda Saraswati, chief minister Naveen Patnaik, former Nepal king Gyanendra Bir Bikram Shah Dev and Puri Gajapati Dibya Singh Dev during the ceremony in Puri on Saturday. Picture by Sarat Kumar Patra

Bhubaneswar: The Puri Shree Jagannath Temple will remain closed on Sunday for general devotees from 9.30am to 12.30pm as former Nepal king Gyanendra Bir Bikram Shah Dev would be performing rituals in the temple at that time.

Temple administrator (rituals) Pradeep Das said: "The king enjoys exclusive rights and privileges of performing a arti of Lord Jagannath atop the Ratna Singhasan (Golden Throne)." He also enjoys a special right to touch the idols of the Holy Trinity.

He said: "Prior to Gyanendra's visit, Puri Gajapati Dibya Singh Dev will perform the puja before accompanying the former Nepal monarch to the sanctum sanctorum."

"This is a restricted area. As the king enjoys the right, we will take him and his family members inside the sanctum sanctorum," said a temple official.

The ex-Nepal king attended the silver jubilee of Shankaracharya Swami Nischalananda Saraswati's pattabhisheka on Saturday. Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, who for the first time visited the ashram, said: "Jagadguru Shankaracharya is the most respected guru in the Hindu culture of Guru tradition."

He said: "Shankaracharya guides in spreading spiritualism in the society."

Attending the ceremony, chief minister Naveen Patnaik also presented a filigree of Ganesh idol to the seer.

Shankaracharya, in turn, honoured the chief minister by presenting him a shawl. Naveen also released Ganita Sastra, a book on mathematics authored by the Shankaracharya on the occassion.

Naveen also greeted the former Nepal monarch. Puri Gajapati Dibya Singha Dev welcomed Naveen to the ashram. On his request, the state government has accorded state guest status to the Nepal king.


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