Bhubaneswar: Devotees observed fast and thronged temples of Hindu god Shiva across Orissa Wednesday on the occasion of Shivratri.
More than a lakh devotees have already visited the 11th century Lingaraj temple here since the wee hours, assistant commissioner of police Pranadhan Mohapatra said.
A long queue of about a kilometre was formed in front of the temple by around 11 am as devotees thronged to have a glance of the deity, he said. Security was tightened at the temple as many more people are likely to visit by evening, he added.
More than 50,000 devotees, including women, visited the Akhandalamani temple at Aradi in Bhadrak district, officials said.
Similarly, a large number of devotees were seen at the Loknath temple in Puri, about 56 km from here, in Huma in the western district of Sambalpur and Vedvyas 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). Hindu mythology says Shiva, one of the holy trinity along with Vishnu and Brahma, married Parvati on this day.
Devotees keep daylong fasts and offer prayers at Shiva temples. Hymns in praise of Shiva are chanted throughout the night. Many unmarried girls also fast and pray on this occasion in the belief that it helps them get good husbands.