PURI: For all the temporary accommodations set up by the State Government to house lakhs of devotees thronging Puri, the famous beach eclipsed them only to emerge as one of the biggest shelters on Friday night. Hundreds of pilgrims reaching the holy town late in the evening slept on the beach enjoying the cool breeze under the open sky.
As the night fell and trains and buses carried more and more pilgrims to Puri, many were unaware of the existence of Nabakalebara villages while others were too tired to move. Those who managed to reach the temporary accommodations found them packed.
Seventy-six-year old Sudhir Samantray from Kalinga Nagar arrived with his group of 20 at Puri at about 9 pm. “We started at 11 am but the train took an eternity to reach Puri. By the time we reached the Nabakalebara village, we could not go in. It was packed. So the beach is the only resort,” said Samantray.
People from all age groups, women and children had no option but to spend the night as the Government went ballistic about the ad hoc accommodations.