PURI: A pall of gloom descended on Sri Jagannath Temple here on Saturday with the death of Bhitarchhu Madhusudan Mahapatra. He was 79.
Mahapatra was considered the final authority on all temple ‘nitees’ and rituals. He was the only temple servitor who rendered an unbroken service for nearly six decades.
After the Gajapati King, Bhitarchhu was the most important servitor who used to open the doors of the sanctum sanctorum daily without fail for the last 60 years.
Interestingly, he never received a pie for his services from the temple management. He is survived by his adopted son. He attended the call of service till Friday.
According to family sources, he felt uneasy and was rushed to a clinic in Bhubaneswar where he breathed his last. His body was later brought to his Puri residence where many noted residents and servitors paid their last respects.
Temple Chief Administrator Pradip Mahapatra and others mourned him and said with his death the Temple lost a devoted servitor.
His body was taken to Swargadwar in a procession for cremation.