Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Dhenkanal, Feb 2:
The world famous Magha Mela, also known as Joranda mela, the biggest event of the Mahima sect, kicked off at its international headquarters in Odisha’s Joranda in Dhenkanal district today.
As per the schedule, the rituals began with the opening of the doors of the temple and Jhadu Neeti at 3.15 AM followed by Kheera Lagi Neeti at 4.45 AM. For the Jhadu Neeti, silver vessels are used to carry water for the sacred rituals and gold utensils for sprinkling of sandalwood water. Later at 5 AM, seven huge offerings known as bhog were offered to the deity.
This year, the jhada deepa (sacred fire) will begin at 5.15 pm at the four gates of the temple, Akhanda Jyoti temple, Neeti temple, Shunya Temple, Smruti temple, and Dhwani temple, temple sources said.
Notably, the saints divided into two groups–Koupunidhari Samaj and Bakaladhari Samaj—are observing 142nd ‘Baba Purnima’ this year.
The seven-day exhibition and cultural extravaganza draws lakhs of devotees from far flung areas across the state. Devotees from neighbouring Assam, Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and other parts of the country also pay obeisance at the temple during the annual festival.
‘‘Special arrangements have been made for the Mahima saints and other devotees. We have made arrangements for their lodging and food. The district administration is helping us in every possible way,’’ a saint of the temple said.
Keeping in view the huge footfall of devotees, the district administration has made elaborate arrangements like drinking water facility, sanitation and parking lots apart from deployment of security personnel.
Besides, special arrangements have been made to avoid traffic snarls. Alternative routes have been chalked out for smooth vehicular movement.
It is believed that swami Jogeswar Maha Prabhu, who lived in the Himalayas, began a self-mortification for 24 years near the Kapilasa hills in 1838. The place where the swami attained enlightenment is now known as Tapoban. In 1875, the swami selected Joranda, as the seat of Mahima dharma. Since the following year in 1876, the magha mela is being organized at Joranda.
Exhibition and operas are organized during the annual fest apart from the religious observance.