Bhubaneswar: Lakhs of devotees thronged to Lingaraj temple to offer prayers and to seek the gracious blessings of Lord Shiva on the occasion of Maha Shivaratri.
Aarti started soon after the temple door opened at about 3.00 a.m. The queue of devotees standing outside the Lingaraj temple stretched over 2 km at around 8 am.
The priest allowed devotees for ‘Sahana Mela’ or public darshan of the deity from 4 am to 11 am.
Elaborate security arrangements were made for the Maha Shivratri festival in and around Lingaraj temple where 25 platoons of police were deployed.
The rituals culminated with the most auspicious Mahadeepa raise ceremony conducted at around 10:44 pm and the devotees started reciting the slokas “Om Namah Shivaya”. Vehicular movement was restricted around the Lingaraj temple for the smooth movement of the people to the temple.
Shiva temples in other parts of the state also witnessed similar crowds.