Devotees throng Alarnath temple during ‘Anasar’

A handful of temple servitors work tirelessly to prepare huge quantities of kheer to be offered to the deity and then sold to devotees.
The special Kheer prasad served in the temple
The special Kheer prasad served in the temple Photo | Express

PURI: Devotees in large numbers have started thronging to Alarnath Temple, situated at Brahmagiri, 23 km westward along the Puri-Satpara National Highway, to have darshan of the presiding deity, Alarnath Deb, and to taste the renowned ‘kheer’ prasad.

Popular belief holds that during the Anasar period, when darshan of Lord Jagannath and his siblings is out of bounds in the main temple as the deities remain in the Anasarghar (sickhouse) for a fortnight after the grand bath on Snan Purnima, Lord Jagannath manifests in Alarnath Deb.

Sri Chaitanya Dev, the founder of the Krishna cult, elaborately mentioned in his writings that he visualised the manifestation of Lord Jagannath in Alarnath. In 1610 AD, Sri Chaitanya Dev, along with his followers, camped there for years worshipping the deity. Since then, the small temple has become a place of pilgrimage during the Anasar period of the Trinity.

A handful of temple servitors work tirelessly to prepare huge quantities of kheer to be offered to the deity and then sold to devotees. The kheer, prepared with buffalo milk and various sweeteners, is a major draw for devotees.

Sources say over 10 to 15,000 litre of buffalo milk is used daily to prepare the kheer offering to the Lord, which is then passed on to the devotees.

The administration has put in place elaborate security arrangements to manage the large number of devotees flocking the small town daily. Police and traffic personnel have been deployed to regulate pilgrim traffic. Temporary rest sheds with provisions for drinking water, toilets, and washrooms have also been erected near the temple.

Additionally, temporary parking places have come up, and the entire temple and its surroundings have been illuminated. Everyday darshan continues through a queue system until late at night.

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