Bhubaneswar: Ekamra Kshetra is abuzz with activities related to Maha Shivratri, a prime festival being celebrated at Lingaraj Temple.
Thousands of devotees thronged the Lingaraj Temple and some other nearby Shiva temples including Rameswar, Laxmaneswar, Mukteswar, Megheswar and Shatrugneswar. These temples have been bedecked with flowers, festoons and lights.
Ample arrangements have been made to ensure devotees’ peaceful darshan of deities. At some temples two queue systems have been in place to allow males and females into the temples.
Similarly, considering the possible rush at these temples in the night, security staff have been deployed. At some temples including Lingaraj Temple, CCTV cameras have been installed.
Rituals have started since early morning. At Lingaraj Temple, the door opened with aalati ritual. After other rituals, devotees were allowed for Sahan Mela darshan. Devotees were seen standing in queues to offer puja and have a darshan of Lord Lingaraj.
Among the other Shiva temples in Ekamra Kshetra, the Mahadeep ritual would be performed first at Lingaraj Temple.
This apart, the festival is also celebrated with a lot pomp at all Shiva temples in Unit-IX, Saheed Nagar, Satya Nagar, Barmunda, Nayapalli, CRP, Chandrasekharpur, Damana, Sailashree Vihar, Neeladri Vihar, Mancheswar, Rasulgarh, Laxmisagar, VSS Nagar and Palasuni.
Considering the huge congregation of devotees at Lingaraj temple, the Commissionerate of Police has issued a traffic advisory. The temple administration has also taken several steps for the smooth conduct of the festival.
Cultural programmes are another attraction at some temples. Devotees are being entertained with dance and bhajan recitals by reputed singers and dancers at Lingaraj Temple since morning.
The programmes will go on till dawn. Singers such as Pamela Jain, Sarika Singh from Mumbai, Ira Mohanty, Kumar Bapi and Sailabhama Mahapatra from Odisha are expected to perform at Brahmeswar Temple.
Meanwhile, in view of the fasting being observed on this occasion, the price of fruits has gone up with a minimum increase of Rs 15-Rs 20 per kilo.