Bhubaneswar: At least three lakh devotees Thursday offered prayers to the Sun god after a mass ritual bath in Odisha’s pilgrimage town of Konark on the auspicious occasion of Magha Saptami, an official said.

The bathing began early morning near the Bay of Bengal, 65 km from the state capital Bhubaneswar and went off without a hitch.

The people who took the holy dip included women, children and a large number of elderly people, a senior district official told IANS.

According to legend, Shamba, son of Hindu god Krishna, was cured of leprosy after a dip in Chandrabhaga river on the seventh day of the bright half of the Hindu month of Magha.

The river once flowed through the precincts of the Sun Temple of Konark towards the Bay of Bengal, but it no longer exists. However, devotees bathe every year in a large pond at the site and offer prayers believing that it would cleanse them of diseases and wash away their sins.

More than one thousand policemen were deployed in Konark. Similarly, a large number of policemen were deployed at the nearby Puri town, home to the famous 12th century old Jagannath temple, as a large number of pilgrims head for the town after the holy dip and prayers at Konark.

Source: IANS