Kalahandi: Despite the ban on animal sacrifice by district administration, many animals were sacrificed by devotees as part of the ‘Chhatar Jatra’ of Goddess Manikeswari at Bhawanipatna in Kalahandi district Sunday.
Large number of devotees from various parts of the district and outside thronged the temple at midnight and took part in the ‘Mundabasa’ ritual of the Goddess which is observed on the Shukla Pakhya Ashwina Astami Tithi as per Hindu almanac marking the beginning of the Jatra.
Later, the ceremonial Chhatar of Goddess Manikeswari was taken out of the Jena Khala, four kilometres away, where the ‘Gupta Puja’ (secret worship) ritual was performed.
The Chhatar was brought back to the temple accompanied by ‘Jenavadya’ to the sounds of gongs, conch and traditional percussions with dancers performing ‘Ghumura’ and local martial art forms. The Chhatar took more than nine hours to cover the short distance of three kms.
Every year, thousands of devotees carry out animal sacrifice during this festival in an attempt to please the goddess through the offering. It has been continuing unabated despite administrative ban and has been the source if tension between the cops and devotees on many occasions.
Keeping in view the congregation of thousands of devotees, ten platoons of police force have been deployed in the area in order to avoid any untoward situation.