Mrunal Manmay Dash

The annual Magha Mela began at the Mahima Gadi in Dhenkanal’s Joranda on Saturday.

The two-day-long festival of the Mahima sadhus is expected to see a huge rush of visitors and devotees as it is being held after a Covid-induced gap of two years.

Bakkaladhari sadhu, Baba Pramod Das said, “Everything is at its designated place. All the sadhus who have come here to participate have taken their places. The puja will be conducted as per the rituals.”

Sushant Das, a Kaupindhari sadhu said, “This is the 147th Magha Mela here in Joranda. This is being held after a suspension of two years due to Covid restrictions. After the demolition of the outer pandal, clouds of uncertainty were hovering over this year’s mela. But the administration has made this possible by ending the stalemate between the two sects.”

Dhenkanal Collector, Saroj Sethi said, “We are ready for the Magha Mela this year. This is being held after a gap of two years. So, we are expecting a huge crowd this year. I hope everybody from the local intellectuals to the Sarpanch and the volunteers will contribute to making this a success.”

The mela is organised every year by the followers of the Mahima religion since 1876 after the demise of its founder Mahima Swami. Followers of the sect as well as the general public gather here in large numbers for the annual event.

After the death of Swami, his followers built a big temple on his grave, without having any entrance to the temple as no idol was to be worshipped. They believe that god has no definite shape, size, caste or colour.

As per the legend, Swami, originally known as Jogeswar Das, observed deep penance in the Himalayas between 1802 and 1810. Finally, he selected Joranda as his permanent abode.

He rescued poet Bhima Bhoi from a deep hole on his way to Jaka village and had accepted him as his first disciple.

(Reported By Rajashree Satapathy, OTV)