Bhawanipatna: Despite restrictions by the district administration, the tradition of animal sacrifice got underway as animals were sacrificed by devotees as part of the ‘Chhatar Jatra’ of Goddess Manikeswari here in Kalahandi district Wednesday.
The famous Jatra began amid much religious fervour.
Large number of devotees from various parts of the district and outside thronged the temple in the midnight and took part in the ‘Mundabasa’ ritual of the Goddess which is observed on the the Shukla Pakhya Ashwina Astami Tithi as per Hindu almanac.
Later, the ceremonial Chhatar of Goddess Manikeswari was taken out of the Jena Khala, four kilometres away, where the ‘Gupta Puja’ (secret worship) was held in the wee hours of Wednesday.
After the ceremonials, the Chhatar is brought back to the temple in a procession called Chhatar Jatra.
As per rituals, devotees sacrifice animals such as goats, sheep, cocks and pigeons on their way back with the belief that the Goddess meets all their wishes.
Devotees from Odisha and the neighbouring states gathered in the town.
Earlier, elaborate security arrangements were put in place for the smooth conduct of the festival. At least 13 platoons of police force, 100 police officers in the rank of Inspector, SI and ASI as well as hundreds of constables and home-guards have been deployed to maintain law and order on the occasion, a senior police official said.
Kalahandi ADM Sharat Chandra Srichandan said, “The Jatra has been going on smoothly. We had discussed the strategy to conduct puja smoothly with the locals of Bhawanipatna, the police and the district administration.”