Puri: Gajapati Maharaja Dibyasingha Deb completed 50 years of his hereditary Chhera Pahanra ritual on Bahuda Yatra, the end of Rath Yatra festivities.
Since 1971 the Puri King has performed the Chhera Panhara ritual for 50 years except for one year in 1976 when he was in America for higher studies.
Gajapati Maharaja performs the Chhera Pahanra, which involves sweeping of the decks of the chariots with a plated broomstick on Rath Yatra.
Dibyasingha Deb ascended the throne in July 1970 when his father Gajapati Maharaja Birakishore Deb died in the midst of the Rath Yatra.
Dibyasingha Deb was then only 17, pursuing History at St. Stephen’s college in New Delhi. Inheriting the divine seva from his father, Dibyasingha Deb performed his maiden Chhera Pahanra on chariots during the Rath Yatra in 1971.