Hindu devotees are celebrating the festival of Mahashivaratri with traditional religious fervour across Odisha on Monday.
More than a lakh devotees thronged to the 11th century Lingaraj temple on Monday to observe Mahashivratri. Devotees across Odisha kept a fast and queued up to pray at temples dedicated to Hindu god Shiva on the festival of Shivratri.
Similarly over 50,000 devotees, including women, visited the Akhandalamani temple at Aradi in Bhadrak district. A large number of devotees also thronged the Loknath temple in Puri, the Huma temple in Sambalpur and Vedvyas temple in Sundergarh district.
According to the Hindu calendar, Shivratri is celebrated a day or two before the new moon in the month of Phalgun (February-March).
In Hindu mythology, Lord Shiva, one of the holy trinity along with Vishnu and Brahma, is known to have married Parvati on this day.
On this occasion, devotees keep daylong fasts and offer prayers at Shiva temples. Hymns in praise of Shiva are chanted. Many unmarried girls also fast and pray in the hope of getting a good husband.
Lakhs of Oriya people assembled in various Shiva shrines in Berhampur and eight Shiva temples known as the Astha Sambhu located in the district to observe the Mahashivratri.
The people with their families reached the shrines in the early morning even, people from the neighboring state Andhra Pradesh visited the Shiva temples at Berhampur, which was named as Brahmapur (place of Brahma) due to existence numerous temples dotting the town.
Neelakanthewsar on the outskirts of Berahmpur, Dhabaleswar near Gopalpur and Ghatakeswar are the important Shiva shrines where devotees thronged for the celebration. According to a priest of the Neelakanhteswar temple, near about 55 thousand people visited to this temple, which is one of the famous Shiva temples within the city.
Apart from these temples within the city, thousands of devotees preferred to visit the Astha Sambhu temples- Brahmeswar (Lathi), Gokorneswar (Sukunda), Eeshaneswar (Golanthra), Someswar (Ralaba), Sundareswar (Sundarpur), Sandheswar (Gonju), Ghatakeswar (Kolothigaon) and Sankaleswar (Bhabinipur) in the silk city.