PURI: Even after several rounds of meetings of servitor bodies (nijogs), an alternate location to conduct rituals associated with the Rath Yatra has not yet been finalised.
Chhattisha Nijog chief Janardan Pattajoshi said there is no such precedent in the history of the temple as recorded in the ‘Madala Panji’. He said there are four places where the deities can be placed and bhog offered. These are the ‘Ratnasimhasan’ of the sanctum sanctorum, ‘Snana Bedi’ (bathing altar), both within the temple, the sanctum sanctorum of Gundicha temple and on the chariots.
Other than these places, no other sanctified location has been mentioned in the Panji where the rituals relating to the festival can be conducted.
Jagannath Swain Mahapatra, chief servitor of Lord Jagannath, said there is no place to conduct a symbolical Rath Yatra. “Once the deities emerge out of Anasar Ghar’ (sick room), they are taken to the chariots in ‘pahandi’.
Similarly, chief servitor of Lord Balabhadra Haladhar Dasmahaptra said rituals can be observed on the chariots even if they are not pulled. “As per my understanding, this does not violate the Supreme Court order as it has only prohibited the Rath Yatra,” he said.
The servitors and devotees hope the apex court will modify its order pertaining to the festival. Lawyers opine that a single bench judge will the hear the petition scheduled for Monday. If the bench finds merit in the case, it would be placed before the original three-judge bench for hearing.
Though it is a time consuming process, it can be done on the same day given the urgency of the matter. However, in absence of the State Government’s interference, the chances of the apex court reversing or modifying its order is thin, they said.