One lakh devotees at Odisha's Lingaraj temple
Bhubaneswar: The 11th century Lingaraj temple here saw a crowd of more than a lakh early Monday, police said, as devotees across Odisha kept a fast and queued up to pray at temples dedicated to Hindu god Shiva on the festival of Shivratri.
Long queues were observed in most temples in the early hours, a senior official of the state police headquarters at Cuttack, about 26 km from here, said.
A two-kilometre queue had formed in front of the Lingaraj temple here by around 9 a.m., as devotees thronged to have a glance of the deity, police said.
"We have installed several closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras in the temple premises to monitor visitors," assistant commissioner of police Pranadhan Mohapatra said.
Besides, more than 200 policemen have been deployed at the temple to avoid any untoward incidents, he added.
Nearly 50,000 devotees, including women, visited the Akhandalamani temple at Aradi in Bhadrak district. A large number of devotees also thronged the Loknath temple in Puri, the Huma temple in Sambalpur and Vedvyas temple 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).
In Hindu mythology, Lord Shiva, one of the holy trinity along with Vishnu and Brahma, is known to have married Parvati on this day.
On this occasion, devotees keep daylong fasts and offer prayers at Shiva temples. Hymns in praise of Shiva are chanted. Many unmarried girls also fast and pray in the hope of getting a good husband.