Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhadrak/Puri/ Dhenkanal, Feb 27:
Lakhs of fasting devotees of Lord Shiva have congregated in large numbers at the Shiva shrines across Odisha on the occasion of Shivratri today.
In Aradi, the ‘abode’ of Baba Akhandalamani, in Bhadrak district, devotees were seen standing in a long serpentine queue under the scorching sun. Devotees queued up since midnight for their turn to have a glimpse of the Lord and seek his blessings.
According to the temple administrator everything was in place as per plan in accordance with the decision taken at the district level meeting. He said an estimated 3 lakh devotees are expected for the grand spectacle of the raising of the Maha Deepa and said everything was in order from the rituals to the crowd management.
The Maha Deepa is expected to be raised by 5 AM tomorrow.
Adequate number of boats have been kept at the three ferry ghats on on both sides of river Baitarini to ferry devotees. Policemen have been deployed to prevent overcrowding in the boats in view of the boat tragedy in Hirakud dam recently
.A temple priest said the temple was opened at 4 AM today to start with a ‘gharsana’ puja offered by the erstwhile king of Kanika state, following which devotees were allowed into the temple sanctum sanctorium to perform puja and have a darshan of the Lord.
He said darshan will will continue till 11PM and the temple will be closed for public for special rituals to be conducted before the raising of the Maha Deepa at 4.30 AM – 5AM tomorrow. The priest said after Suna besha the raising of the Mahadeepa will take place at 4.30 AM . 40 kgs of ‘desi’ ghee will be used to keep the lamp lighted.
Shivratri in Puri