Balasore: The famous Chadaka Mela of Lord Baba Chandaneswar at Bhograi in the district has been cancelled this year due to ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
It was decided in a meeting attended by Bhograi MLA Anant Das, District Collector K Sudarshan Chakravarti, temple servitors, president of Chandaneswar Trust Board and some local intellectuals.
However, the district administration has allowed servitors to perform rituals. Only 14 servitors and trust members will perform the rituals.
"People have decided to stop the fair this year due to resurgence of Covid-19 pandemic. As large gathering poses threat to the outbreak of the infectious virus, it was decided that only rituals will be performed to keep the age-old custom alive," MLA Anant Das said.
Collector K Sudarshan said “It was unanimously decided that the Chadak Mela will not be conducted this year. Only rituals will be performed by a handful of servitors. Public will not be allowed during rituals."
The famous fair, which is celebrated on the premises of Chandaneswar temple during Maha Bisuva Sankrati, attracts lakhs of devotees from in and outside the State.
The special characteristic of the fair is that devotees pierce their body with iron nail and dance barefoot under the scorching heat in a grand procession.
It is believed that Lord Shiva is pleased with such penance and showers blessings on devotees.