The fortnight-long Maha Shivaratri Mela kicked off at the Vedvyas temple on Sunday. This is the 106th anniversary of the fair.
A mammoth gathering was seen at Vedvyas temple complex, located on the banks of confluence of the rivers Sankh and Koel as thousands of devotees thronged to offer prayers to Lord Shiva. As the day progressed, devotees were seen jostling for space in the temple complex. Vedvyas temple, named after mythological sage Vedvyas Muni, is located at the confluence of the Koel and the Sankh rivers.
It was a visual treat at the complex as several hundreds of devotees sat waiting all through the night with tiny lighted lamps to pay obeisance to Lord Shiva. The raising of ‘Mahadeep’ towards the midnight marked the end of the Maha Shivaratri.
Vedvyas Trust Board member Badrinarayan Padhi said around 700 vendors from various parts of the country have set up stalls for the fair and 100 more are expected. For long, the fair has been attracting people from across Western Odisha districts besides Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand. On the first day, around 80,000 people visited the fair.
Rourkela ADM RN Mishra said given the importance of the festival and venue, elaborate arrangements have been made. He said besides lighting, health and sanitation measures, adequate number of police forces deployed to ensure effective monitoring of law and order situation and traffic management.