Puri: Lord Jagannath Rath Yatra in Puri is known not only for its grand colourful celebrations but also for its unique traditional rituals. One such unique ritual is Chera Paharan in which the Maharaja of Puri, Dibya Singhdeo, dons the role of a sweeper. The ritual is believed to be 1,000 years old.
Maharaja Dibya Singhdeo says, "This ritual symbolises that all are same in the eyes of the Lord. The maharaja doing the humble job of sweeping suggests that no job is small when it involves the service of the Lord."
Ever since the Puri Jagannath temple was constructed in the 12th century, the Maharaja has been considered as the first sevayat or servant of the God. However, nowadays the Maharaja performs the rituals only on important occasions like the Rath Yatra.
The priest of the Lord Jagannath temple in Puri, Soumendra Muduli says, "We are so proud of our tradition and rituals like the Chera Pahara, which show how humble the king is who represents the subjects."
The Maharaja of Puri is also the Chairman of the Temple Managing Committee, which gives advice to the temple administrators under the state government.
And even though the Maharaja no more enjoys the power and neither does he have any kingdom to rule, he continues to rule over the millions of hearts of devotees who believe in the Lord Jagannath culture.