Rashmi Rekha Das

In the holy month of 'Shravan', each Monday is celebrated as 'Shravan Somvar' across the State when thousands of 'Bol Bom' or 'Kaunria' pilgrims congregate in Dhabaleswar temple to offer holy water, bel leaves, flowers, and milk to Lord Shiva. 
Dressed in saffron-coloured clothes and carrying slings, the Bol Bom devotees wait in long queues to offer the holy water in the shrine. Keeping the rush in mind, the Cuttack district administration has come up with some guidelines as part of the measures for the smooth conduct of events. 

Briefing media, Athagarh sub-collector Hemant Kumar Swain said, “Like every year, Dhabaleswar shrine is open for Kaunrias on Shravan Somvars. Though they are not barred from visiting the shrine on those days, they are advised not to take the slings along with them to avoid unnecessary rush.”
“The district administration has made elaborate arrangements like barricades for the fair. However, I would like to urge the Kaunrias to keep their slings before hanging bridge. They can carry water pot and flowers to the temple,” he maintained.

“So far, the government has not issued any guidelines related to Covid. If the government enforces Covid guidelines, we will have to implement that. But Bol Bom devotees must ensure to wear mask inside the temple. Devotees without masks will not be entertained on the temple premises,” said Swain.

About security arrangements, he said, “Enough police personnel will be deployed and CCTV cameras will be installed to keep a close watch on the devotees making their way to the sanctum sanctorum queues.”

The famous Dhabaleswar temple of Lord Shiva attracts lakhs of devotees in the month of Shravan. They start their journey in groups after picking up water in small pots from various rivers and walk miles barefooted before offering the water to Lord Shiva.

Besides Dhabaleswar temple, Lokanath in Puri, Kapilash in Dhenkanal, Gupteswar in Koraput, Harishankar in Bolangir are the main attraction for devotees during this holy month.