Thousands of devotees seek blessings at Sri Mandir on New Year

Bhubaneswar/Puri: With new hope and optimism, people across the country thronged the Sri Mandir to offer prayers to the deities and seek blessings on the first day of 2017 today.

As pahada at the Sri Mandir was lifted at 1.20 am to let devotees pay obeisance to the deities on occasion of the New Year, lakhs of people offered prayers at the temple after taking plunge in the sea.

Informing newsmen about the arrangements done by the Shri Jagannath Temple Administration, chief administrator of SJTA Suresh Mohapatra said, “The number of devotees has increased due to the New Year. Though the pahada ritual was performed at 11 pm last night, the Singhadwara was thrown open for devotees at 1.20 am. Thousands of devotees have been offering prayers throughout the night after entering the Sri Mandir in a queue whereas the exit from the temple is allowed through other gates. The Mahaprasad has been available at the temple since 8 am today.”

Meanwhile, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik along with Bhubaneswar MP Prasanna Patsani visited Puri to pay obeisance to the deities at the Sri Mandir on New Year.

Earlier in the day, ministers, legislators and top cops were among visitors holding flower bouquets who made a beeline in front of the Naveen Nivas to meet the Chief Minister and wish him.

The Chief Minister also went to the Raj Bhavan in Bhubaneswar to meet Governor SC Jamir and convey best wishes on New Year.

Also read: CM among lakhs to start New Year with Jagannath darshan

Visitors also crowded the Chandrabhaga beach and Konark temple to get a glimpse of sunrise on the first day of 2017.

On the other hand, sand artist Manas Kumar Sahoo created a 7-ft high sand art with a message – ‘Happy New Year 2017’ at the Light House beach in the pilgrim city.

Other places in Odisha especially tourist places were packed with picnickers.