Rashmi Ranjan

Sambalpur: With devotees barred from visiting temple in view of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Samleswari Temple Trust has decided to telecast the ‘Nabanna Lagi’ ritual live on social media on Sunday. The ritual marks the beginning of the agrarian festival of Nuakhai in western Odisha.

As per the ‘lagna’, the ‘Nabanna’ or newly harvested rice will be offered to Goddess Samaleswari, the presiding deity of the district between 9.35 AM and 9.50 AM tomorrow.

“All the preparations have reached a final stage. As per the schedule, all the rituals of Goddess Samaleswari will be performed. In view of the pandemic no devotee will be allowed to enter the temple. However, they can witness 'Nabanna Lagi' ceremony of the Goddess live on social media,” informed Sanjay Babu, president of the temple trust.

Related Story: Shutdown Withdrawn In Sambalpur For I-Day & Nuakhai

“Unlike every year, this Nuakhai will be celebrated without devotees. All the rituals of Goddess Samaleswari will be performed without devotee participation,” said Ambika Prasad Ray, chief priest of the temple.

Earlier on August 11, the Sambalpur district administration relaxed shutdown restriction after demands were raised to either defer or pre-pone the shutdown on dates coinciding with Nuakhai on August 23.

Lok Sabha member from Bargarh constituency, Suresh Pujari had also urged Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik to relax COVID-19 weekend shutdown restrictions in western Odisha to facilitate the observance of Nuakhai festival.

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Following the demands, the district administration had issued a notification to defer shutdown on 15th, 22nd and 23rd August and enforced it on 16th and 17th August.

(Edited By Bikram Keshari Jena)

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