Bhubaneswar: Devotees took holy dips in ponds and rivers and visited temples as they celebrated the Makar Sankranti harvest festival in Orissa on Sunday. People also organised kite flying competitions in various places.
Over a lakh devotees from different parts of the country visited the Lord Jagannath Temple at Puri, about 56 km from here, and worshipped the deities early in the morning, the temple administration`s public relations officer said.
People in several places prepared special sweet rice made with sugar, banana, cheese, piled coconut, camphor and black pepper and offered it to the gods. They also distributed the special rice popularly known as Makar Chaula among each other.
Thousands of devotees also worshipped the sun god at Konark with great fervour and enthusiasm as the sun started its annual swing northwards, according to various Indian calendars.
In the southern district of Ganjam, which has a sizable Telugu population, people decorated the front of their houses with colourful rangoli and celebrated Pongal.
Tribals lighted bonfires, danced and organised feasts in various places in Mayurbhanj, Balasore, Keonjhar and Sundergarh districts.
People also organised kite flying competitions in places like Cuttack and state capital Bhubaneswar with fun and enthusiasm.
Makar Sankranti is considered one of the most auspicious days by Hindus.