Break from tradition;girl executes ritual at Rath Yatra

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Rath Yatra
Berhampur (Orissa), Jul 4: Sulakhyana Devi, scion of the royal family of Dharakote in Orissa's Ganjam district, created history by becoming the first from the fair sex to perform ''Cheera Pahanra'' (symbolic sweeping) at the chariot of Lord Jagannath during the Rath Yatra festival on Jul 3.

The 15 year-old was crowned the symbolic king of Dharakote estate (now abolished) after death of her father, former King Kishore Chandra Singhdeo.

Though she was crowned before Rath Yatra last year, she could not perform the ritual and performed it during the Lord's return car festival.

Sulakhyana, a standard ten student of Raj Kumar College in Raipur, was in Dharakote to participate in the rath yatra festival.

I don't feel shy to perform the services of God at a public place ... I feel very proud to perform the ritual of Lord Jagannath. I have maintained the tradition of our family - my father and forefathers had performed these services to the Lord, she added. Trinath Panda, the main priest of the Jagannath temple here said, "She is the king of Dharakote. Thereforer, there is no wrong on her part to perform the rituals including cheera panhara on the day of Ratha Yatra." Her devotion towards the diety has been praised by the people of Dharakote.

PTI

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