Bhawanipatna: Despite a ban on animal sacrifice, the `Chatra Yatra` of Goddess Manikeswari saw the ritual being practiced in large scale with over three lakh devotees thronging the town to witness the holy procession.
Devotees spent sleepless night yesterday on the occasion of `Mahastami` to watch various rituals, including carrying the ceremonial `Chhatra` of the deity to Jenakhal, three kms from the temple, after the performance of `Sandhi Puja`.
In the early hours today, the `Chhatra` returned to the original abode accompanied by?`Jenavadya` to the sounds of `ghanta`, `kahali` and `ghumura`.
The Kalahandi district administration had made elaborate measures for the smooth conduct of the yatra and it passed off peacefully, official sources said.
Even as devotees watched the proceedings and performed their puja, thousands of them sacrificed animals at various places in Odisha to propitiate the deity for fulfillment of their wishes.
Despite spreading awareness against the practice, devotees still carried out the practice, even five-six kms away from the site where the procession was being carried out, an official said.
"It is a hard job to stop the practice by force. There is need for an awareness drive", he said.
Scores of devotees also released doves as a mark of respect.