Pradeep Pattanayak

Amid chants of ‘Om Namah Shivaya’ and ‘Har Har Mahadev’ and in presence of thousands of devotees, the holy ‘Mahadipa’ was lifted atop the Lingaraj temple in Bhubaneswar. 

This year the rituals were delayed by around 3 hours. After the Bedha Parikrama rituals wherein servitors move around the temple, the holy lamp was lighted and then the servitors carrying the lamp climbed atop the majestic temple. They put the lamp atop the temple at around 1:08 AM (Sunday). With this, the devotees broke their day-long fast.  

The earlier scheduled time for raising the Mahadipa was 10 pm (Saturday). 

Maha Shivratri was observed in all Shiva shrines across the State with religious fervour. 

Earlier in the day, devotees in large number thronged famous Shiva temples like Lord Lingaraj temple in Bhubaneswar, Lokanath temple in Puri, Akhandalamani temple at Aradi in Bhadrak, Kapilash temple in Dhenkanal, Sri Paramahansa Nath temple in Cuttack, Ladu Baba temple in Nayagarh and other prominent shrines to offer worship to Lord Shiva.   

As part of safety arrangements, special barricades, crowd control measures and other preparations were made for smooth darshan of devotees at the shrines. While the temples were beautifully decorated and illuminated, some temples organised bhajan programmes.