Rajendra Prasad Mohapatra

While devotees in Bhubaneswar are raring to celebrate the Rukuna Rath Yatra on the occasion of Ashokastami today, the timing of various rituals during the annual car festival of Lord Lingaraj will be further extended due to the delay in rituals in the shrine.

As per the servitors, various rituals during the festival are getting delayed by two and a half hours.

“The delay in the temple rituals happened due to delay in chariot construction and ‘Ratha Paristha’. Various rituals of the festivals are getting delayed by two and half hours due to the reason,” said Biranchi Narayan Pati, Secretary of Bramhan Nijoga.

As per the decision taken by the temple administration and Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC), the ‘Pahandi Bije’ ritual has been scheduled from 12.30 pm to 1.30 pm. It has been decided that the puling of the chariot will take place at 3.30 pm and the chariot will reach Rameswar temple by 7 pm. However, the schedule is going to be delayed due to two and half hours delay in the temple rituals.

Adequate security provisions have been made as thousands of devotees are expected to participate in pulling the chariot. As many as 12 platoon police forces including women police officials have been deployed to maintain law and order during the festival. Drinking water arrangements and sheds have been put in place by the BMC.

Earlier on the eve of Rukuna Ratha Yatra, pitchers containing water from Holy Marichi Kunda, a water tank on the premises of Mukteswar temple, were auctioned to childless couples, late last night.

As per the servitors, a total of 31 pitchers of water were auctioned this year.

The highest bidder for the first pitcher of water was Malati Soren with Rs 30,000. The second pitcher of water was sold for Rs 13,000.

“The auction continued till 5 am. As per the belief, the holy water helps barren women conceive, if bathed and drank on Ashokashtami,” said Badu Nijoga Secretary Kamalakanta Badu. 

(Reported by Archana Satpathy)