BERHAMPUR: The demand for ‘ketaki’ flower (Screw Pine) in Ganjam district shot up on Tuesday on the eve of annual Mahashivaratri. Devotees were seen haggling with traders as prices of ‘ketaki’ went up due to its high demand.
Sources said Mahashivratri is the only day on which these rare ketaki flowers are offered to Lord Shiva. Devotees believe that their wishes will be fulfilled if they offer ‘ketaki’ to Lord Shiva on Mahashivratri. Locals thronged wholesale flower markets to buy ‘ketaki’ for the Shivaratri, but many of them expressed displeasure over the high prices. ‘Ketaki,’ a variety of kewra, is being sold from `300 to `350 per piece depending on its quality in the city and other places.
Locals said ‘ketaki’ flowers bloom only during this time of the year, which can be one of the main reasons behind its increased price and demand during Mahashivaratri.The flower grows in coastal India, including Ganjam in Odisha and the Andaman and Nicobar islands. ‘Ketakis’ stem grows up to height of 6 metres and is always supported by aerial roots. The plant is considered as a good soil binder and it also has ayurvedic value.
Adequate arrangement at Gupteswar
Jeypore: The famous cave temple in Ramgiri forest, Gupteswar, in Jeypore Sub-Division has been spruced up for Mahashivaratri on Wednesday. The 8-foot Shivalinga, situated 1,000-metre above sea level, is considered as the lone cave Shiva temple in the State and it draws over 20 lakh devotees every year. Koraput district administration has made elaborate arrangement at the shrine as more than one lakh devotees are expected to visit the place on Mahashivratri. Official sources said electricity, sanitation and water supply facilities have been restored at Gupteswar for the visitors. Similarly, security has been beefed up by deployment of BSF jawans and police forces to maintain law and order. Vehicular traffic has been regulated from Tuesday with adequate parking facilities.
Sarankul shrine decked up
Nayagarh: The famous Shiva Pitha Sarankul, 12 km from here, is all set to celebrate Mahashivaratri on Wednesday. Thousands of devotees from across the State are expected to throng the place to have a ‘darshan’ of the convex-surfaced Shivalinga in the ancient shrine built by kings of Nayagarh and Ranpur. According to the legend, the Shivalinga was first worshipped by a tribe known as Nakulis who had migrated from Gujarat-Rajasthan region and the deity was named as Nakuleswar and later came to be known as Ladukeshwar. The district has more than 100 Shiva temples, the famous being Gatiswara temple at Malisahi village near here built by king of Boudh Ranabhanja in the 9th century. The Shivalinga remains submerged in water for six months in a year.
Mother, daughter drown at Meenajhola
Rayagada: Ahead of Maha Shivratri, a mother and her daughter got drowned at the confluence of three rivers near the famed abode of Lord Shiva at Meenajhola under Hanumantpur panchayat of Chandrapur block in the district on Tuesday. The deceased were identified as M Seshamma (62) and M Venuamma (26) of Gajapati district. According to sources, the incident took place while they were taking bath in the river. When Seshamma slipped into the river, she was trapped in a rock pit and wasn’t able to come out of it. Her daughter tried to save her. In the process, she also got trapped at the same spot. Every year, Maha Shivaratri is celebrated at Meenajhola with reverence. Thousands of devotees from across Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and other States throng the place to offer their prayer to Lord Shiva, who is worshipped here in the shape of a fish. Every year, the site witnesses a footfall of more than 30,000 devotees. Chandrapur police is probing the incident.