‘Shradha’, special prayers offered to forefathers on Mahalaya today

Puri/Bhubaneswar: Specials prayers were offered and rituals held at different temples across the State as thousands of devotees thronged temples to offer ‘shradha’ (homage) to their forefathers on the occasion of Mahalaya today.

Heavy footfalls were seen at Shri Jagannath temple in Puri as devotees gathered at the “Baishipahacha” (22-stairs of the temple) since morning for ‘tila tarpan’ and ‘pind daan’ to their forefathers.

Puri

Similarly, the Bindusagar Lake in Bhubaneswar also saw a heavy rush with people thronging the water tank to offer special puja on Mahalaya.

It is believed that those who cannot offer homage to their forefathers on the appropriate days prefer this day to pay their obeisance. It is also believed that forefathers come very close to the earth on this day and receive the offerings.

Similarly, in western Odisha, devotees in serpentine queues were seen waiting to witness the ‘Dhavalamukhi Besha’ (white costume) of goddess Samaleswari on the day.

Authorities of the Samaleswari Temple have made elaborate arrangements to ensure hassle-free darshan at the temple.

The auspicious Mahalaya also marks the beginning of Durga Puja as the day is considered the end of ‘Pitra Paksha’ and beginning of ‘Devi Paksha’. It is believed that Goddess Durga was invoked on this day by gods to defeat demon Mahishasura and destroy all evil powers from the earth.

Meanwhile, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, Union Minister for Tribal Affairs Jual Oram and former MP Baijayant Panda greeted the people on the occasion of Mahalaya.