Religious fervour gripped western Odisha on the occasion of Mahashivaratri with thousands of devotees making a beeline to Shiva temples.
Devotees offered serpent models made of copper while women kept fast. In most of the temples, ‘Khichidi’ was offered to the deities as prasad. The devotees also visited Ranipur Jharial in Balangir district which is also considered as a Tantric shrine. In Sonepur, large crowd was seen at Shiva temples in Rameswar, Subarnameru, Paschim Somanath, Loknath, Balunkeswar, Chandrasekhar, Gokarneswar and Godhaneswar.
Jeypore: The cave temple of Lord Shiva at Gupteswar was crowded since wee hours as over one lakh devotees lined up to have darshan of eight-foot Shiva ‘Lingam’. Special rituals were performed in the presence of Durua, Paraja, Amanatya, Bhumiya, Gadva, Koya, Bonda and Dhakada tribals.
Elaborate security arrangements were made by the district administration in the wake of Maoist threat.
Parlakhemundi: People from Odisha and neighbouring Andhra Pradesh turned up at Mahendragiri in Rayagada block of Gajapati district to celebrate Shivaratri. The district administration made elaborate arrangements for convenience of the devotees.
Bhawanipatna: Huge congregation of devotees has been reported from different Shiva shrines at Belkhandi, Mohangiri, Kusurla, Junagarh, Dadpur and Bhawanipatna in Kalahandi district. They patiently waited for installation of ‘Mahadipa’ atop the temples. Traditional mela, cultural shows, recitation of prayer, Bhajan Samaroh and Minabazaars were added attraction of the celebration.
Nayagarh: Serpentine queue of devotees overflowed to street at Ladukeswar temple on the banks of river Kusumi and on the foothills of Bhandar forest at Sarankul from early morning. The day also marked the beginning of the famous “Jagar Jatra” which will continue for five days.
Jajpur: Mahavinayak temple wore a festive look as people turned up in large number to celebrate Shivaratri. To ensure smooth movement of the devotees, barricades were put up and elaborate security arrangements made. Devotees thronged Baruneswar, Khankadeswar, Beleswar, Utareswar, Trilochaneswar, Sidheswar, Gyaneswar and other major Shiva shrines here.