Puri: After ‘Pahandi’ (procession) and the ceremonial bath of the sibling deities, Gajapati Maharaja Dibyasingha Deb was scheduled to perform ‘Chherapahanra’ ritual on the Snana Mandap (bathing altar) at 10.30 am on Friday.
However, he reportedly skipped the event and the ritual was performed by Mudirasta, who officiates for the Puri King in his absence, at the bathing altar.
According to reports, Gobardhan Peeth Shankaracharya Swami Nischalananda Saraswati also might not attend the event.
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Till filing of this report, no official statement regarding Gajapati’s absence was released.
This year, the ritual is being held following the COVID-19 guidelines with Section 144 clamped in the Pilgrim Town to prevent large congregation of devotees.
About 500 of the sevayats, who are participating in the ritual, have undergo the coronavirus test.
Meanwhile, servitors were seen carrying decorative items prepared at Raghav Das Mutt and Gopalatirtha Mutt to Snana Mandap for decorating the deities in elephant attire also called Gajanana Besha.