Keeping the age-old tradition alive, the head of the district administration assumed the title of a ‘king' for a day in a village in Jagatsinghpur district, Odisha.

Crowned District Collector Narayan Chandra Jena on Tuesday discharged the duties of a king in accordance with tenets of kingship, a practice in vogue in Sidhala village under Madhupur gram panchayat.

Even as the unique practice arouses curiosity among outsiders, the ‘subjects' — guided by Jagannath culture and heritage — are reaping the benefits by religiously holding on to it.

Enthroning the District Collector as the king and caretaker of Baldevjew, the presiding deity of the village, the locals have succeeded in developing the village.

“Paying respect to customary practice, I sat on the throne and wore the crown. It was a thrilling experience,” said Mr. Jena.

“Every year, a coronation ceremony is held and the Collector graces the occasion to sit on the throne. For us he is the king of Sidhala. He rules us and looks after the development,” a local said.