Bhubaneswar: The famous Hindu festival of Maha Shivratri is being observed on Saturday all over Odisha amid Covid restrictions.
Special arrangements have been made by the BMC authorities at the Lingaraj Temple. Devotees can offer their prayers to Lord Shiva from Ada Katha (area outside the sanctum sanctorum)
This year, the Handi Bhanga ritual will be performed in Lingaraj Temple and Kapilnath Temple .
The temple doors opened in the wee hours with the aalati ritual, The priest allowed Sahana Mela(darshan of the diety ). The temple will reopen till 11 am for public darshan.
The Sakala Dhup ritual will be conducted between 12.45 pm to 2.30 pm. As per the arrangements, the ‘Mahadipa’ will be raised atop the Lingaraj temple at 10 pm.
Strict Covid-19 guidelines have been issued in view of Covid-19 pandemic. The priests and the police personnels who will be a part of the occasion have undergone Covid-19 test. After the devotees enter the temple the use of hand sanitizers, wearing of masks and maintaining social distance will be monitored.
Barricades have also been set-up inside the temple. Due to the heat condition, Seventeen water points and more than 10,000 water bottles,water sprinklers, toilets at six places have also been set-up for the devotees.
As many as 34 platoons force have been deployed at the shrine for the security and smooth entry. Traffic restrictions have been imposed near the temple. 5 additional DCP and 13 SP have also been stationed in the temple. Around 17 inspector and 86 sub-inspectors are given the charge of controlling the traffic near the mandir.
To avoid large crowds in view of the COVID-19 pandemic, the BMC has also restricted fairs and congregation of vendors in and around the shrine.