Bhawanipatna: Chhatar Jatra, the famous annual festival of Maa Manikeswari, the presiding Goddess of Kalahandi district, begins here with pomp and devotion.
According to sources, the ‘Mundabasa’ ritual of the Goddess is performed at the temple here on Ashtami tithi in Shukla Pakhya in the month of Ashwina. The ‘Gupta Puja’ (Secret Worship) of the Goddess will be held in the midnight on Maha Ashtami today.
The Bijay Pratima Chhatar of the Goddess will be taken out to Jenakhala on the western side of the town. After special rituals, the Chhatar of the Goddess will return to the temple in a large procession.
A sea of devotees has thronged to witness the Jatra. During the festival, a large number of animals are sacrificed while devotees also release doves for fulfilment of wishes.
Meanwhile, the district administration has made elaborate security arrangements for smooth conduct of both Chhatar Jatra and Maha Astami Puja of Goddess Durga.
Police forces have been deployed to maintain law and order during animal sacrifice. Moreover senior officials have been assigned to ensure smooth management of parking, traffic and Jatra celebrations, sources said.