Pradeep Pattanayak

The famous Khandagiri Magha Mela, also known as the Kumbha Mela, began at Khandagiri in Bhubaneswar on Friday on the auspicious occasion of Magha Saptami. 

With the ‘kalas yatra, the Magha Mela of Maa Barabhuja of Khandagiri hill commenced. As a part of the ritual, water was collected from Akash Ganga, Gupta Ganga, Radha Kunda, Shyam Kunda, and Lalita Kunda, and a ‘kumbha’ was installed. At the same time, Naga sadhus and saints of different beliefs and practices coming from different parts of the country have started their worship by initiating Maha Kaal at yajna or havan kunds.

Also Read: Magha Saptami and its significance in Odisha

Devotees were seen making a beeline for the visiting sadhus to know what the future holds for them. 

“The baba has blessed us with good health and prosperity for our family members,” said a devotee. 

Among the sadhus, a key attraction was the Standing Baba. He has come from Haridwar and he will remain in standing position till the last day of the mela. He is smeared in ash all over his body. 

“I will stand till the end of the mela. I will perform all the daily chores like bathing and eating while standing,” said the Standing Baba.

“The ash acts as the shawl of god. Because of this, we never feel cold or hot,” said a saint.

Khandagiri Magha Mela is synonymous with opera shows. As many as 12 opera troupes will stage plays at six opera pandals. While tents are being put up, flex banners of these opera parties are already dotting the mela ground. 

This year, the administration has asked the opera show organisers to limit their ticket prices between Rs 150 and Rs 250 and to avoid vulgarity in melodies, record dances, and opera shows.

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