Mrunal Manmay Dash

The famous Khandagiri Kumbha Mela will start at the foothills of Khandagiri and Udayagiri hills in Bhubaneswar tomorrow (February 16).

The mela starts every year on the auspicious day of Magha Saptami. A large number of saints, monks and followers of various Hindu religious sects from across the country have already started to assemble here.

“I normally stay near the Himalayas and roam all over India with my motorcycle. I availed darshan of Lord Jagannath in Puri and Lord Lingaraj in Bhubaneswar. Now I am here at Khandagiri. I will stay here till the conclusion of Mela, then I will move to Pashupatinath Temple,” said a sadhu at Khandagiri.

A devotee said, “We have heard a lot about the Khandagiri mela. I am finally getting to experience it firsthand. It is really good to see the sadhus and getting to know them. I sought their blessings. I am really happy.”

A huge mela (Fair) takes place where there are sales of items such as wooden utensils, bamboo, stone carvings and various household items. Visitors can enjoy many delicacies and Jatra performances too.

Speaking about the Mela and Jatra performance, president of Harekrushna Mahtab Cultural Council, Krushnachandra Jena said, “We have arranged six pandals for 12 Jatra parties this year. The administration has fixed the ticket prices for Jatra as Rs 250, Rs 200 and Rs 150. We have volunteers deployed from our organisation. They will ensure a hassle-free experience for the spectators.”

Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) had convened a preparatory meeting for the Khandagiri Mela on January 29.

The civic body has planned to make this year’s fair more attractive. Besides meeting the basic requirement of the saints who will arrive for the mela, the civic body has laid emphasis on setting up temporary bathrooms, toilets, health centres, drinking water facilities, illumination, and an information centre.