Maha Shivaratri was celebrated with religious fervour and gaiety across the temples in and around the Millennium City on Sunday.
Lakhs of devotees thronged the temples to offer prayers and observe the religious rituals for the holy festival that symbolises the marriage of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. Cuttack is considered to be a important Shaiva site, dotted with numerous temples of the Lord.
Dhabaleswar temple on the Mahanadi river, among the most prominent Shiva temples of the State, was packed with devotees and pilgrims throughout the day.
While temples within the city like the Amareshwar temple at Buxi Bazaar, Ashtasambhu temple at Chandni Chowk, Hatakeswar at Dolmundai, Chahateswar at Chahata Ghat, Chandrasekhar at Telenga Bazaar and Gadgadia Ghat witnessed huge turnout of people, the smaller ones were also not left behind.
The temples were decked up with flowers and colourful lighting while shlokas, bhajans and sankirtans were chanted throughout the day and night. Devotees, both women and men, made it to the temples since the wee hours and offer prayers to the Lord.
The most ardent among them observed strict fast, not even touching water, throughout the day till the Mahadeep ceremony was conducted. The Mahadeep or the holy fire was raised atop the temples at around 11.30 pm in the night. The devotees then broke their fast with water, fruits and juices.
Many temples hosted cultural programmes on the occasion. The Dhabaleshawar temple laid out a special treat for the devotees and visitors by hosting Odissi dance by top dancers of the State and the country.
The second edition of the Odissi dance festival, organised by Delhi-based Chandana Dance Academy in association with the State Endowments Authority and the Cuttack administration, was inaugurated by Odissi exponent Minati Mishra.
Director of the Academy Chandana Roul also performed on the occasion.