BHUBANESWAR: Thousands of devotees thronged the Lingaraj temple here on Wednesday on the occasion of Maha Shivaratri.The temple doors opened in the wee hours with the ‘aalati’ ritual. With a large crowd waiting outside, priests allowed ‘Sahana Mela’ (darshan) of the deity. The devotees took turns to enter the sanctum sanctorum of the temple to make offerings to Lord Shiva as per the niti and rituals.
The temple was re-opened at 3 pm for public darshan. The crowd of devotees swelled by late night with many of them sitting in and outside the temple premises performing puja and lighting diyas.
After a delay of more than two hours, the ‘Mahadeep’, the much-awaited ritual of the day, was lit by a priest at about 12.40 am, said Lingaraj temple executive officer Rajib Lochan Parida.
The devotees, who were on a day-long fast, waited patiently for the final ritual to be over after which they broke their fast.
In view of congregation of devotees at Lingaraj Temple, the Commissionerate Police had issued an advisory to ensure smooth flow of traffic near the temple during the festivities.The temple administration too had made special arrangements to ensure timely conduct of all rituals on the occasion. Several cultural programmes were lined up for the big night at various temples, including Lingaraj.