Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Apr 15:
All roads led to the nearby Ram temples as millions of people spread across the length and breadth of Odisha celebrated the birth of Lord Ram with great religious fervour today.
Ram temples across the state wore a festive look with traditional and modern decorations, colourful lights and sound systems. The atmosphere was spiritual amidst chanting of hymns, performance of havans and passionate cries of “Jai Shriram” everywhere.
Devotees — a majority of them on fast — made a beeline for the shrines since early morning. The crowd kept swelling by the hour despite the heat wave in the state.
Tight security arrangements have been put in place to ensure smooth movement of devotees.
While four platoons of police have been deployed near Bhubaneswar Unit-III Ram Temple, 17 platoons of force have been deployed in Rourkela, 25 platoons in Rajgangpur, 4 platoon cops and 60 officers in Balasore to maintain law and order during the festival.
The darshan, so far, has been largely peaceful everywhere.
In Bhubaneswar, the temple gates opened early in the morning and darshan continues as we report. The ceremony to mark the birth of the Lord will be performed at noon.
“The temple opened early in the morning for the devotees. Darshan will continue till 1:30 PM, following which the temple will be closed for Pahada. It will reopen at till 4 PM and devotees can pay their obeisance until 11 PM,” said a priest of Bhubaneswar Unit-III Ram temple.
“We have erected barricades for convenience of devotees so that they can visit in queue. Volunteers have been engaged to sprinkle water on the devotees in view of the heat wave. Besides, drinking water is being made available next to the barricades at short gaps to avoid any eventualities,” said the temple manager.
“I am keeping a fast for the welfare of my family and will break the fast after paying obeisance to my Lord. I have been waiting here in queue since past two hours. The arrangements made by temple administration are pretty good. I am happy that barricades have been put up for a disciplined darshan and drinking water is being facilitated to the needy while we wait in queue,” said a woman devotee.
Commissionerate Police DCP Satyabrata Bhoi said that the apart from the four platoons of cops around the temple, adequate arrangements have been made to supervise the flow of traffic and parking arrangements in the area. CCTV cameras have been installed. Along with uniformed police, cops in plain clothes have also been deployed to keep a watch on anti-social elements, eve-teasers and pick pockets.