This year the Shankaracharya Swami Nischalananda Saraswati boycotted the Rath Yatra after Sri Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA) sent him a letter which restricted him to climb the chariot alone without any of his disciples to perform the pujas.
As per the custom, the Shankaracharya is the first person to have darshan of the deities every year during the Rath Yatra before Puri king perform Chhera Pahanra (ceremonial sweeping of chariots).
Watch special interview of Puri Shankaracharya, telecasted on Focus Odisha TV channel here.
Senior minister Damodar Rout on Tuesday joined the chorus of protest against the state government’s restriction on Shankaracharya disciples’ access to chariots on June 29 Rath Yatra in Puri.
On Monday, Puri scion Gajapati Dibyasingha Deb spewed venom against the government’s move and sought immediate rectification of the grave ‘mistake’.
Meanwhile, the RSS and the VHP have reacted sharply against the ‘humiliation’ of the sheer and the institution of Shankaracharya and have threatened to launch agitation unless the state government apologises.