Pradeep Pattanayak

Hundreds of animals were sacrificed at Bhawanipatna in Kalahandi district on the occasion of Chhatar Yatra of Goddess Manikeshwari, leaving the main road in the town blood-soaked.

As there were no Covid-related restrictions, the festival was observed with public participation after a gap of two years. Thousands of devotees thronged the place to offer prayer to the presiding deity of the region.

As many as 20 platoons of police forces were deployed across the town to maintain law and order.

As per the rituals, the Bijay Pratima Chhatar of the Goddess was taken out from the temple inside the palace to Jenakhala, on the outskirts of Bhawanipatna town. At around 5am, the same was brought back to the temple in a large procession, amidst beats of traditional drums like ‘Jena Badya’ and ‘Ghumura Badya’. In the darkest part of the night, the secrete rituals were performed at Jenakhala.

While hundreds of animals were sacrificed during the festival, devotees whose wishes were fulfilled released pigeons at the temple.

Devotees expressed their happiness after taking part in the festival after a gap of two years.

“Since Covid restrictions are no longer in force this year, devotees took part in the festival and enjoyed the festival to the hilt,” said a devotee.