Bhubaneswar: The Shiva temples across the State witnessed heavy crowds as devotees in lakhs thronged the shrines since morning to seek the blessing of Lord ‘Mahadev’ on the occasion of ‘Mahashivratri’today.
Famous shrines including Lingaraj temple in Bhubaneswar, Kapilash in Dhenkanal, Akhandalamani iin Bhadrak, Gupteswar in Koraput, Loknath in Puri, Dhabaleswar in Cuttack, Vedavyasa in Rourkela and Harishankar in Bolangir are bedecked with fancy lights and flowers for the occasion.
Special arrangements have been made to ensure smooth darshan of Lord Shiva at Lingaraj temple on the auspicious occasion. The Lingaraj temple management committee has taken special care for early lifting of ‘Mahadeepa’ atop the temple.
Raj Kishore Mohapatra, supervisor, Lingaraj Temple said, "Between 3 pm and 3.30 pm, ‘mangala arati abakash will be performed and subsequently ‘sahana mela darshsan’ will be allowed till 10 pm-10.30 pm. The ‘Mahadeepa’ will be lifted atop the temple between 10 and 10.30 pm.”
Commissionerate police has left no stone unturned to ensure security of the age-old temple. DCP Satyabrata Bhoi said, “Traffic management is most important as a large number of devotees are expected to throng the place to pay obeisance to Lord Shiva. According to the plans, traffic will be regulated at four places and two-wheelers and four-wheelers are not to be allowed near the temple.”
Police personnel in plain clothes would be stationed inside the temple to keep an eye on mischievous elements. Other security arrangements have also been put in place to enable devotees to celebrate the festival in a peaceful manner, he added.
Barricades have been erected inside and outside the temple to ensure orderly queues for ‘darshan’ of the deity in the temple. With lakhs of devotees expected to visit the temple during the day, police have taken steps for smooth movement of vehicular traffic. The four approach roads to the temple will be closed for vehicular traffic, Bhoi pointed out.
Similarly, arrangements have been made for devotees to take bath in Brahmani river as well as have darshan of the Lord Shiva temple at Vedavyas in Rourkela.
In Puri, Damodar Mohapatra, senior servitor of Loknath temple said the priests will ensure early start of rituals for Maha Shivaratri. Notably, according to traditions, following the Abakash Niti ritual Lord Chandrasekhar and treasury guard Loknath Deb enter the Lokanath Temple.
The festival falls on 13th or 14th day of Hindu month Phalgun. Phalgun Amavasya on Monday marked the holy Mahashivaratri. Devotees observe fast and offer prayers to both Lord Shiva and Parvati to receive their grace for a peaceful and blissful life on Mahashivaratri as it is an auspicious festival.
People on this day fast or perform spiritual meditation by following rituals to celebrate Mahashivaratri and be blessed with the Lord's grace.