CM among lakhs to start New Year with Jagannath darshan

Bhubaneswar/Puri: Lakhs of devotees, including VVIPs like chief minister Naveen Patnaik, some ministers and law makers on Friday thronged the Sri Jagannath temple here to seek blessings of Trinity on New Year day

After offering prayer at the temple, the chief minister paid tribute to his father and former chief minister of Odisha Biju Patnaik at his memorial at Swargadwar.

Tourists from various parts of the country visited the pilgrim town to usher in the new year. A majority of them came to offer prayers at the 12th century temple to begin their new year, while some arrived just to enjoy the year-end and beginning of 2016 on the beach.

One way entry system was enforced in the temple since early morning. People were allowed to the temple in phases for which elaborate barricades were put up.

While pilgrims were allowed to enter the temple through Singhadwar, the exit was allowed through the three other gates. Adequate security arrangements were made in and around the temple and at strategic locations in the holy town to avert any untoward incident.

50 platoons of police were deployed in the city. Six additional SPs and 18 DSPs were pressed into service to take stock of the security arrangements.

The temple administration rescheduled the rituals so that more devotees can have ‘darshan’ of the deities.

A similar crowd was also seen on the sea beach. Close circuit cameras were installed at strategic locations to monitor the crowd.

Apart from Puri, rush of tourists was also noticed in Konark. Thousands of tourists flocked Chandrabhaga beach in the early hour to witness the first sunrise of the year.

The adjoining tourist spots like Satpara, Bali Harchandi were also seen packed with picnic parties.