Pradeep Pattanayak

The holy Pankodhar Neeti (ritual of removing mud) at Shree Lokanath temple located about 2 km from the Jagannath Temple in Puri was observed as per rituals on Thursday. Thousands of devotees thronged the shrine to pay obeisance to Lord Shiva, the sitting deity of this 11th century shrine. 

Notably, Pankodhar Neeti is observed before Shivaratri. 

Here in the shrine, Lord Shiva is worshipped in the form of lingam. The uniqueness of this shrine is that the Shivling is filled with water all throughout the year. And offerings made by devotees like bel leaves, flowers, coconut, and coconut water lay there in a decomposed state. The water along with the articles is removed only during the holy occasion of Pankodhar Ekadoshi.

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Pankodhar, which literally means 'removal of mud’, gets its name from the sacred practice of cleaning the lingam by servitors in presence of thousands of devotees at the centuries-old shrine.

To get a clear view of Shree Lokanath, every year on this day, devotees from far and near throng the temple. 

At the same time, it is learnt that the administration has made elaborate arrangements at the shrine for Shivaratri, which falls on February 18 this year.