Sital Sasthi: Devotees soak in festive joy to witness ‘Jugal darshan’

Sambalpur: Lakhs of devotees flocked the streets of Sambalpur town to witness the ‘jugal darshan’ of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati as the newly married celestial couple returned to their respective temples in a huge carnival.

The colourful procession that marks the homecoming of the celestial couple started Monday midnight and continued till Tuesday morning. More than 6,000 artistes from the state and beyond performed in the carnival.

Transgenders, in huge numbers, too participated in the carnival and performed before the deities. Since Lord Shiva is also referred to as ‘Ardhanarishwara’, it is believed that the dance by eunuchs ushers in rain and cools down earth.

Sambalpur MLA Raseswari Panigrahi and BJP state unit president Basant Panda also attended the carnival and took blessings of the Lords.

The newly-wed are returning to their respective temples today. The traffic in routes through which the procession will be passing has been streamlined. The district administration has made elaborate arrangements to supply drinking water and food so that revellers and devotees do not face any problem

—Sambalpur MLA Raseswari Panigrahi

“I am enjoying the carnival and feel blessed to witness the ‘Jugal darshan’ of the deities. A huge crowd has gathered here to witness the procession and brilliant performance by artistes,” said a devotee who came from Birmaharajpur to attend the procession.

On the other hand, elaborate arrangements have been made by the district administration for smooth conduct of the mega fest. As many as 35 platoons of police force have been deployed and movement of vehicles restricted on roads to ensure smooth conduct of the mega event.

The deities will reach their temples by today evening after which a ‘maha alati’ will be conducted. A huge number of people are expected to turn up for the event.

I come here every day and this year too I enjoyed the colourful carnival and performance by the artistes

—Mukhyada Panda, a local