Bhawanipatna, Oct 13:The famous Chhatar Yatra of Maa Minikeswari has been celebrated at Bhawanipatna in Odisha’s Kalahandi distrit on Wednesday.
However, Section like 144 and stern Corona protocols which were imposed by the district administration have been proved vain in the celebration ground since aspiring devotees rampaged to the celebration for offering their puja.
Sources said, the annual festival of Maa Manikeswari began in the morning. Accordingly, the chhatar of the deity was brought out from the sanctum sanctorum of the Manikeswari temple at about 5 AM. Then the chhatar was carried to Jenakhal in a procession. Optimum numbers of servitors and authorised dignitaries took part in the procession along with the priests of the temple. Subsequently, the sandhi puja (secret ritual) was performed at the Jenakhal altar by the servitors. Then the chhatar was left for the core temple at Bhawanipatna after an hour long worship.
On the other hand, the district administration had made elaborate security arrangements, enacting Section 144 in and around Bhawanipatna town in order to ensure devotee-free chhatar yatra,
By virtue of the order, the district administration had aimed to restrict the practice of animal sacrifice before the deity. However, devotees crossed every limit and joined the Chhatar yatra with a grand congregation. As a result, corona strictures like social distancing, use of mask and crowd management were openly breached during the whole return procession of the deity’s chhatar.
Though smaller folk dance groups and Ghumra performers were allowed to participate in the yatra, common devotees crowded the whole festival ground and throughut the long route of the chhatar yatra.
Similarly, the initial step to promote a puja without any animal sacrifice this year, was also proved futile. A large number of animals and birds were sacrificed at homes and streets in order to maintain the animal sacrifice rituals.
However, the Kalahandi district Collector, Dr Gavali Parag Harshad has thanked the people of the district for cooperating this year’s puja with utmost discipline.