Bhubaneswar: At least four lakh pilgrims on Thursday took a holy dip in a pond in Orissa`s temple town of Konark on the occasion of Magha Saptami which Hindus consider auspicious, the authorities said.
Devotees, including the elderly and children, worshipped the sun in the belief that the bath and prayer would cleanse them of disease and wash away their sins.
"The devotees thronged the place as early as 3 am. At least four lakh people took the holy dip amid tight security," Inspector Srinibas Mohanty told a news agency adding the event passed off peacefully.
Konark in the district of Puri is about 65 km from state capital Bhubaneswar.
According to legend, Shamba, the son of Hindu god Krishna, was cured of leprosy after a holy dip at the Chandrabhaga river on the seventh day of the bright half of the Hindu month of Magha.
The place where Shambha is said to have meditated and worshipped the sun god after bathing in the river for 12 years has become a sacred spot and devotees believe it has curative properties.
Although the river no longer exists, every year devotees take a bath in a large pond at the site, which is near the Bay of Bengal, and worship the sun god. Mohanty said elaborate security arrangements were made by the district administration along the Chandrabhaga coast.