VIJAYAWADA: Endowment Minister Velampalle Srinivas Rao on Monday said that the new chariot at the famous Lakshmi Narasimha Swamy temple at Antarvedi in East Godavari district will be ready by February next year.
The 62-year-old wooden chariot of the Antarvedi temple was gutted in a mysterious fire in the wee hours on the intervening night of September 5 and 6. The 40-feet high chariot made of teak wood was parked in a shed on the temple premises. The chariot is normally used only during the Radhotsavam at the Lord's celestial wedding festivities.
Rao held a meeting with Endowment Commissioner Arjun Rao and other officials today and asked them to prepare the chariot by February next year when the annual Kalyanotsavam of the presiding deity of the temple is performed. He said that the temple chariot design will be the same as the old one, adding that the blueprint has been prepared after consulting experts.
Rao said that the new chariot will be 41 feet high and have seven stories and six massive wheels. The new chariot and repairs for the Radha shala are estimated to cost Rs 95 lakh, as reported by a leading daily.
Meanwhile, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy has entrusted the CBI to probe into the chariot burning incident. The Chief Minister's Office said in a release that YS Jagan has taken the issue "seriously." "In spite of this, and the local investigation which the AP police have taken as a challenge, some political parties and organisations have been demanding for a CBI investigation. As a full transparent government, the Chief Minister has directed the Director-General of Police to hand over the investigation to the CBI," the CMO release said.
Accordingly, the DGP wrote a letter to the Union Ministry of Home Affairs, it added.
The state government placed the temple executive officer under suspension over the incident and constituted an inquiry committee headed by the Endowments Additional Commissioner.