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Nitesh Kumar Sahoo

The Cuttack district administration has initiated efforts for making apt arrangements at the famous shrine of Lord Dhabaleswar for observance of the forthcoming Bada Osa and Panchuka festivals.  

A meeting was held on Tuesday under the chairmanship of Cuttack Collector Bhabani Shankar Chayani to begin preparations for the much-awaited annual rituals at the 16th-century temple. 

The temple authorities announced after the meeting that final plans for the observance of rituals will be laid out after the Odisha government releases the new Coronavirus prevention guidelines in November.

A decision on whether devotees would be allowed entry to the island shrine during the festive period will also be announced only after the declaration of the new Covid protocols.

Informing about the five-day-long ritual, president of the Dhabaleswar temple priest council, Bishnu Charan Patri said, "Panchuka will be observed from November 15 to 19 while Bada Osa is slated to be held in between on November 17.” 

As per the niti schedule, in the first two days, Lord Dhabaleswar will adorn the Chandra Mauli attire while the special 'Badasinghar Besha' will be held on Bada Osa. Apart from that, Gaja Bhoga will be distributed on November 18 to fasting devotees. The presiding deity will be embellished with 'Yogi Besha' on Kartika Purnima which will mark the end of Panchuka and the holy month of Kartika. 

Cuttack Collector Chayani informed the media that all rituals will be observed in the temple under the Covid restrictions. Thousands of people throng the shrine during the Panchuka every year, so guidelines will be accordingly prepared to minimize chances of virus infections.

He further informed that the district authorities have instructed the concerned departments to carry out the annual maintenance works at the temple before the festival.

Meanwhile, Alekh Chandra Pahi, Additional Superintendent Of Police, Cuttack has said that in case, the government doesn't permit to open of the temple for devotees, authorities will make sure tight security is enforced in and around the periphery of the temple. Section 144 may also be imposed in nearby areas of the temple to discourage public gatherings.

"However, if the government allows the shrine to open during the period, police will make necessary arrangements to permit darshan for devotees with Covid measures in place,” Pahi added.

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