Makar Sankranti In Odisha: Celebration From Across The State (See Pics)
Bhubaneswar: People from across Odisha took holy dip in ponds, rivers and other water bodies, offered special prayers at temples and homes as they celebrated ‘Makar Sankranti’ with pomp and grandeur on Thursday.
A pan-India solar festival called by different names, Makar Sankranti, is the first major Hindu festival after the New Year celebrations. The festival is known as Bihu in Assam, Sukarat in Central India, Pongal in Tamil Nadu, Utarayan in Gujarat and Maharashtra, Makar Sankranti in Bengal, Bihar, Odisha and the neighbouring regions.
Makar Sankranti also marks the transition of the sun into the zodiac sign of Makara (Capricorn), its northward movement (Uttarayan Yatra) which marks the end of the month with the winter solstice and the beginning of longer days.
Delicacies like sooji pitha,’ ‘podo pitha’, ‘arisa kakra’ and ‘kakra pitha’ is prepared and offered as Prasad on the day. ‘Mudhi Muan’, a ladoo made with puffed rice and jaggery is also made at homes to commemorate the festival.
Another special dish, ‘Makar Chaula’ made by mixing newly harvested rice, banana, coconut, sugar, ghee and spices is prepared in most of the households across Odisha which is offered to the presiding deities.
Let’s take a tour of Makar Sankranti celebrations across Odisha:
Lord Jagannath Temple, Puri
Special rituals were performed at the Srimandir in Puri on the occasion of Makar Sankranti. As per tradition, Lord Jagannath and His siblings donned ‘Makara Chaurashi Besha’ and wore a unique headgear called ‘Makar Chula’ on the day.
Southern parts of Odisha
Colourful rangoli, traditional bonfire and delicacies marked the beginning of the three-day Pongal festival in southern parts of Odisha. The Telugu community living in Jeypore of Koraput, Berhampur of Ganjam and Rayagada celebrated the first day of Makar Sankranti which is known as ‘Bhogi’.
Cuttack and Bhubaneswar
In the twin cities of Cuttack and Bhubaneswar, people celebrated the occasion with revelry and camaraderie by offering special prayers with ‘Makar Chaula’ at their homes and temples. People also took to flying kites on their terraces, playgrounds and other open spaces to celebrate the festival.
However, the Cuttack Municipal Corporation (CMC) has banned the use and sale of Chinese Manja and glass coated strings for flying of kites on Makar Sankranti.
People in Bhubaneswar thronged the Lord Lingaraj Temple amid strict adherence to Covid-19 protocols early in the morning to offer special prayers on the auspicious occasion.
Makar Sankranti is a three-day affair in households across Mayurbhanj district. Delicacies like pithas of different varieties are prepared (and offered) and people worship Sun god, offering Makar Chaula as part of the rituals on the day.
Tribals in the district took holy bath in water bodies, wore new clothes and offered special prayers to their presiding deities. They also played various traditional games alongside bonfire a day before the festival. The tradition is locally known as ‘Kuma’. They believe that taking holy bath and Kuma relieves them of their past sins.
Devotees in large numbers took holy dip in Keshari Kund and Bhim Kund on the auspicious occasion of Makar Sankranti. It is believed that taking the holy bath in Baitarani River here on the day will relieve them of all their sins.
A large number of devotees thronged the Hatakeswar Temple in Khordha district to conduct special rituals at Atri hot spring. However, there was no business activity around the ‘Atri Makar Jatra’ due to the Covid-19 restrictions and people from outside the district have been barred from visiting the temple.
Similarly, the local administration has clamped Section 144 on Kalijai Island, the abode of Goddess Kalijai, in the picturesque Chilika Lake in order to prevent public gathering amid the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. However, special rituals as per traditions were conducted at the temple without the participation of the devotees. Every year, thousands of devotees flock the island on Makar Sankranti.
The presiding deity of Tarini Temple at Ghatagaon in Keonjhar district was dressed in ‘Suna Besha’ on the day. Besides, special rituals were conducted and ‘Makar Chaula’ was offered to goddess Tarini as per the practice. However, the rituals were conducted without the participation of devotees as the shrine is close since the Covid-19-induced lockdown came into effect in March 2020.