Odishatv Bureau

Konark: While the 12-hour Odisha bandh and hartal protesting Kunduli suicide has crippled normal life across the State, thousands of devotees, who had come to Chandrabhaga near Konark in Puri district to take a holy dip in the sea on Magha Saptami, are facing the brunt of the shutdown.

The devotees from various places across the State had come to Chandrabhaga to take a holy dip and offer prayers to the Sun on the occasion of Magha Saptami. After performing the rituals and visiting the Sun Temple, the visitors, including senior citizens, are now stranded in Konark facing a lot of difficulties.

The police, who made elaborate security arrangement for the festival, said the devotees had a tough time returning to their homes due to the strike. They had to wait for long hours to catch a bus.

“I have come with my children all the way from Berhampur. We were not aware of the bandh. I got to know about it this morning only. There is no vehicle to return now,” said Hadibandhu Sahoo, a visitor.

“We are waiting here in these cold conditions. We are helpless as we neither have food with us nor sufficient money,” said Tarini Lenka, another visitor.

Early this morning, thousands of devotees thronged Chandrabhaga for the holy dip and offered prayers to the Sun God to observe Magha Saptami also known as Ratha Saptami or Surya Saptami.

According to mythology, Lord Krishna's son Samba was cured of leprosy by offering prayer to the Sun God at Chandrabhaga beach. The devotees take a holy dip on the seventh day of the new moon of the month of 'Magha' in the belief that this ritual will cleanse them of their sins and rid them of skin diseases.