ATHAGARH: Lakhs of devotees are expected to throng the famous seat of Shaivite culture Dhabaleswar on the occasion of ‘Panchuka’ (last five days of the holy month of Kartik), beginning November 2.
Located in an island on river Mahanadi near Mancheswar village of Athagarh block, it drew more than seven lakh visitors last year. Expecting similar rush this year too, the district administration has made elaborate arrangements.
The Cuttack administration has fixed the boat fare at Rs 25 per person (to and fro) who will visit the Dhabaleswar temple during the five days from Bidanasi.
As the temple is located in the deltaic region of Mahanadi, one has to cross the river to reach it. There is also an alternative route to the temple through a hanging bridge, which is the country’s longest. ‘Bada Osa’ of Lord Dhabaleswar will be observed on November 4.
As many as 30 authorised large boats will be deployed at the Bidanasi ghat while two boats would be stationed at Mancheswar side of Athagarh. The administration has directed boatmen not overcharge the passengers and provide them life boats.
Earlier, it had been decided that all devotees taking the river route to reach Dhabaleswar temple during ‘Panchuka’ this year will be provided life jackets for safety. The boats would be under the control of trained boatmen. The administration has banned small boats from ferrying devotees to the main temple. All the river ghats will be under CCTV surveillance, said Collector Nirmal Mishra.
This apart, the district administration has decided to charge Rs 3 per person who will use the hanging bridge to reach the temple from Mancheswar village of Athagarh.