By Anil Giri
Nepal’s last monarch Gyanendra Shah travelled to Odisha on Monday to participate in an event dedicated to saving India’s indigenous cows.
Shah, who stepped down in 2008, will attend the International Gau Sambardhana Mahotsav and a ceremony to lay the foundation stone for the Gomata Mandir at Rathipur near Jatani on Wednesday, the organisers said.
The Gomata Mandir, which is being built at Rathipur, about 30 km south of Bhubaneswar, will be completed by early 2020, while a ‘goshala’ spread over 3.5 acres has already started functioning near Rathipur.
The organisers have invited Shah as the chief guest for the event, describing him as a “king”.
At a news conference in Kathmandu, Sibasis Satapathy and Samir Samal – representatives of the organisers – said that the “Wow Cow Mission” aims to raise the status of India’s ‘desi’ cow in every home to boost the “economy, agriculture and nutrition”.
“This is a noble and sacred opportunity for all of us as the king of Nepal will be doing the Go Pujan, which will encourage people to do the same. The Raj Sambardhana of the king will be done by the public and dignitaries on that day,” said Samal.
Odisha and Nepal share a rich cultural bond because of Lord Jagannath. There is an exquisite Jagannath Temple outside the gates of the royal place of Nepal where the royal family worshipped the lord, he said.
Apart from these functions, Shah will visit the Jagannath temple, Lingaraj temple and Sakhigopal temple in Odisha and attend a public reception organised by Shreemarg.
This is the first time in 150 years that a king of Nepal is visiting Sakhigopal temple.
During February 9-10, Shah will attend a programme commemorating the silver jubilee of the Pattabhisheka of Jagadguru Shankaracharya of Puri at the invitation of the Govardhan Math. He will visit Jagannath Temple on February 11 after a gap of a decade.
The organisers said Shah will have the special privilege of performing ‘aarati’ at Jagannath temple on top of the Ratna Singhasan, an honour not accorded to anyone else.
In January, Shah had met Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath and held talks on reviving the Hindu state and identity of Nepal.