JAGATSINGHPUR:Dussehra fervour has gripped the district as huge crowds thronged Sarala temple with the beginning of 16-day long Shodasa Puja from Mulastami to Mahastami on Wednesday.
During the 16-day ceremonial rites, Goddess Sarala will be adorned with new besha on each day. At least seven traditional priests from Nalibar, Badasaralo and Paruna villages started chanting of 'Chandipath' from Wednesday on the occasion of Mulastami. Similarly, Maha Avhisekha of Goddess Sarala was performed by sevayats followed by chandipath and Shodasa Upachar Puja. On every night, the deity adorned Suna Besha (golden attire).
The rituals will continue till 'Pratipada' Sukla Pakshya of Odia month of Aswina or 'Sasthi' and later a grand procession named as 'Bahar Bije' will begin from the temple to Landa Deula (an ancient ruined temple) and again return to the temple after worship of Lord Ganesh and other deities there. The 'Bahar Bije' ritual is observed for six days beginning from September 20.
This apart, 'Suna Besha' of the deity will be performed every night. On Mahastami, pana and 108 types of cakes, fruits and 'prasad' are offered to the Goddess.Immersion of 'Puja Kalasa' is performed at Chandan Pokahri (pond) on Dashami, informed chief Priest of Sarala temple Ranjan Panda.