Berhampur (Odisha): Thousands of devotees from far off places of Odisha and neighboring Andhra Pradesh thronged to the Ganesh temple at Panchama village here on the occasion of Ganesh Chaturthi Wednesday.
A tree, said to be over 500 years old, at the temple premises is the focus of attention as the devotees believe that Lord Ganesh appears in it.
The temple itself is said to have beeen built by King Purushottam Dev (1467-1497) during his journey to marry Princess Padmabati, daughter of then king of Kanchi. Legends say that he heard a celestial voice in his sleep asking him to appease Lord Ganesh before leaving the place to be successful.
Following this, Purushottam Dev and his troops looked for an idol of Lord Ganesh and after a long search found one in the tree. He offered his prayers and after returning from Kanchi with his bride built a small temple there for daily prayers.
Five `Raula` families in the village were engaged to perform the rituals.
Since then, devotees from Ganjam and other districts as well as neighboring Andhra Pradesh visit the temple, as per the legends.
The old temple was rebuilt several times and now the local people have urged the government to declare the picturesque place as tourist spot.
Children and womenfolk in colourful attire stood in patient queues since the early hours in front of the Ganesh temple and the tree to pay their obeisance.
Elaborate security arrangements were made by the district police on the occasion, official sources said.