Religious dips, special prayers mark ‘Makar Sankranti’ in Odisha

Bhubaneswar: People took religious dips and offered special prayers as ‘Makar Sankranti’ was celebrated with pomp and grandeur in Odisha today. Devotees in large numbers were seen making beeline outside Puri Srimandir since early morning to witness the ‘Makara Besha’ of Lord Jagannath and His siblings.

Similarly, many devotees thronged Jagannath Temple in Mayurbhanj’s Baripada, and Hatakeswar Temple in Khurda to conduct special rituals at Atri hot spring.

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Similarly, devotees visited Lingaraj Temple in Bhubaneswar and Sun Temple to offer prayers and took religious dip in Bindusagar Lake and Chandrabhaga sea beach respectively.

On the occasion, people also pray to Sun God as it is popularly believed that the sun starts its annual shift towards the Earth’s northern hemisphere from Makar Sankranti. The day also marks the start of longer days.

During the celebration, delicacies like sooji pitha,’ ‘podo pitha’, ‘arisa kakra’ and ‘kakra pitha’ is prepared. ‘Mudhi Muan’, a ladoo made with puffed rice and jaggery is also prepared to commemorate the festival.

Another special dish, ‘Makar Chaula’ made by mixing newly harvested rice, banana, coconut, sugar, ghee and species is prepared in most of the households which is offered to the presiding deities.

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Similarly, colourful rangoli, traditional bonfire and cultural shows marked the beginning of the three-day Pongal festival in southern parts of Odisha beginning today.The Telugu community residing in Koraput’s Jeypore celebrated the first day of Makar Sankranti which is known as ‘Bhogi’.

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In Cuttack too, people celebrated the festival with revelry and camaraderie by offering special prayers with ‘Makar Chaula ‘ and flying kites.

The festival is celebrated by different names in different parts of the country, Lohri in North India, Bihu in Assam, Pongal in Tamil Nadu and Makar Sankranti in Bengal, Bihar, Odisha and the neighboring regions.