PURI: Scores of devotees congregated at Chandrabhaga beach near Konark and took a dip in Chandrabhaga river on the auspicious day of Magha Saptami on Friday. At midnight, Shiva deities- Tribeniswar, Dakshineswar and Ishaneswar from three different villages were brought in a procession to the Chandrabhaga mela site.
After prasad was offered to the deities, the pilgrims feasted on ‘sukhua’ (dried fish) curry and rice which were cooked in earthen pots. As per tradition, the devotees smash the pots in which the food is cooked before taking a dip in the river.
It is believed that the holy dip cures people of skin diseases. After the dip, the devotees offer prayers to the Sun. As per mythology, prince Samba, son of Lord Krishna suffered from leprosy due to a curse. Lord Krishna advised him to go to ‘Arka kshetra’ and worship the sun god. Samba did as instructed and was cured of his disease. Over the years, the Chandrabhaga river has almost become extinct.
A portion of its bed has been dug up and converted into a pond where the devotees take the dip. Meanwhile, 30 platoons of police were deployed for smooth conduct of the mela under the supervision of Puri collector Samarth Verma and SP K Vishal Singh.