BARIPADA: The 13-day Chadak Mela at Chandaneswar temple at Bhograi in Balasore district concluded on Saturday. Devotees from Odisha and West Bengal thronged the shrine to take part in North Odisha’s biggest festival, which is traditionally observed from April 1 to 13 every year. It is observed in two phases - Nila Parva and Pata Parva. Special prayers and 13 types of rituals are performed during the 13-day Nila Parva, which begins from the first day of Chaitra. Pata Parva is celebrated on the 13th day after Nila Parva.
As per legend, Lord Chandaneswar secretly married Kamini in the absence of his wife Parvati during the month of Chaitra. Nila Parva is held to celebrate the marriage. During Pata Parva, devotees get their skin, tongue and body pierced with nails and move around in a procession. People flock to the temple to witness this ritual.
Harish Chandra Sahu, a Pata Bhakta (devotee), said as per the tradition, devotees take a dip in Nila pond, located about 1.5 km from the shrine, and offer prayers to the deity at the temple.
While returning to the temple, they perform traditional dances in attires of Lord Shiva, Ganesh and Goddess Parbati. It is believed that several diseases get cured after taking bath in the holy pond.
Later, Pata Bhaktas, along with 13 servitors, come to the temple with Ghata (Kalash) of Lord Shiva and Parbati and offer prayers. Devotees remove their ‘paitas’ (thread) after their last ‘Arghya’ and float it in the pond or sea.
The district administration made elaborate arrangement for Chadak Mela at the shrine. Around 15 platoon of police forces, including 50 officers, were deployed to maintain law and order and smooth conduct of the festival. Besides, 100 police volunteers were deployed. The entire area was put under CCTV surveillance, said Balasore SP B Jugal Kishore.