Mrunal Manmay Dash

A large number of devotees thronged major Shiva temples across Odisha on the auspicious occasion of Maha Shivratri on Friday.

All the arrangements have been made by district administrations and respective temple trusts for the smooth conduct of the rituals and darshan by devotees.

Legend has it that Mahadev had consumed poison to protect the world and the whole world was awake to light lamps in order to save Lord Shiva’s life.

On this day, the devotees and their families keep a fast and visit the Shiva shrines and light diyas. They break their fast when the Mahadeep is taken atop the temple.

From Dhabaleswar to Kapilash and Lingaraj to Lokanath, Shiva shrines across the State are expected to host a huge crowd of devotees all through the day, particularly in the evening.

Since wee hours today, men and women in large numbers holding a basket containing fruit, milk, and puja items have been queuing up outside the Shiva temples to pay obeisance to the Lord Shiva on the auspicious day.

At the Lingaraj temple in Bhubaneswar, worshippers were seen standing in a long queue for their turn to get a darshan of the Lord Shiva. Sources said the ‘Mahadeepa' will be taken atop the Lingaraj temple at 10 pm.

As per reports, the ‘Mangala Alati’ and ‘Abakasha' rituals of Lord Lingaraj were conducted between 3 am to 3.30 am on Friday. Subsequently, ‘Sahanamela Darshan’ was carried out from 3.30 am. It will continue till 12 pm. Then ‘Mahasnana’ and ‘Besha’ rituals will be held till 12.45 pm. Thereafter, ‘Surya Puja’, ‘Dwarapala Puja’, and ‘Sakala Dhupa’ rituals will be performed between 12.45 pm till 2.30 pm.

Similarly, ‘Bhoga Mandapa’, ‘Sandhya Alati’, ‘Majana’, Jatra Puja, ‘Bedha’ and ‘Sandhya Dhupa’ rituals will be performed at 2.45 pm, 7.10 pm, 7.30 pm, 8.10 pm, and 8.55 pm respectively. Following the completion of all the rituals, the ‘Mahadipa’ of Lord Lingaraj will be raised atop the temple at around 10 pm.

Similarly, at the famous Lokanath shrine in Puri, arrangements are in the final stages as well. Special ‘Hari-Hara Bheta’ ritual will be held at the shrine tonight following which the Mahadeep will be hoisted atop the shrine at 4am.

Speaking about the arrangements, Shree Lokanath Trust Board Manager said, “The devotees are allowed to enter the shrine through the Vrishabh dwara and will exit through Roshghara Dwara (Kitchen gate). Arrangements are made for a disciplined darshan of all the devotees. A first aid center has been set up for devotees. The trust has also made arrangements for drinking water.”

In Dhenkanal, with lakhs of devotees expected to visit the shrine of Lord Chandrasekhar today, police have made elaborate security arrangements for the celebration that is held in a different way at the shrine.

Similarly, preparations for Jagara and the rituals following it have been completed at Dhableswar shrine in Cuttack’s Athagarh too.

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