Bhubaneswar, Jan 14 :
People took a holy dip in ponds, tanks and rivers and visited temples across Odisha as they celebrated the harvest festival of Makar Sankranti Tuesday with religious fervour and enthusiasm.
More than three lakh devotees converged on the pilgrim town of Puri, 56 km from here, and visited the temple of Lord Jagannath to witness the special rituals performed by temple priests on the occasion.
“Long queues of devotees were seen at the temple in the morning,” a senior district police official told IANS.
Devotees also thronged the Puri districts’s beach town Konark and worshipped the Sun God as the sun started its annual shift towards the Earth’s northern hemisphere.
People prepared a special dish made with newly harvested rice, sugar, banana, coconut and black pepper and offered it to the gods. Some exchanged a special dish ‘Makar Chaula’ among themselves.
Many believe that a ritual bath on Makar Sankranti would wash away their sins.
Tribal groups lit bonfires, danced and organised feasts on the eve of Makar Sankranti in various places of Mayurbhanj, Balasore, Keonjhar and Sundergarh districts. Kite-flying competitions were organised in places like Cuttack and other towns with fun and enthusiasm.
In Ganjam district, which has a sizable Telugu population, people decorated the front of their houses with colourful rangoli and celebrated Pongal.