The Rajrappa Temple in Ramgarh. Picture by Hardeep Singh
Rajrappa (Ramgarh), Oct. 20: The temple town of Rajrappa is ready to welcome lakhs of devotees who will attend the Mahanavami celebrations at the shrine of Goddess Chhinamastika on Monday.
Every stakeholder in town, 75km away from Ranchi and 30km from the district headquarters, is busy making preparations for the convenience of devotees, organising anything and everything from steel barriers for crowd control to boats for those who have to cross the Damodar to reach here.
Half a kilometre from the main temple, a temporary checkpost has been set up with three uniformed women deputed by the tourism department manning it. Their job is to check vehicles and stop entry of liquor or polythene bags into the town.
“We are here to enforce the ban on use of polythene and consumption of liquor. On Mahanavami, vehicles will not be allowed to cross the check post,” said Savita Devi, one of the women.
The temple management committee has been holding a series of meetings to chalk out crowd control strategy.
“Sixty volunteers will be appointed by Rajrappa Mandir Nyas Samiti. They will keep an eye on security arrangements on the temple premises and help devotees offer prayers. The puja will be held between 2am and 3am on October 22,” said samiti joint secretary and priest Asim Panda.
Steel barriers have been kept on standby as part of the crowd control arrangements. “When devotees turn up in large numbers, a serpentine queue becomes necessary, hence the barriers,” said Ranjeet Panda, another priest.
The temple is located at the confluence of Damodar and Bhairavi rivers. Damodar is considered an incarnation of Shiva, while Bhairavi is Shakti. From there on it’s known as river Bheda. Many devotees take a dip in the river before offering puja at the temple.
“Several devotees have to cross the Damodar river to reach the temple. For them boats are being readied. Makeshift shops will also line the route from the banks to the temple to sell puja paraphernalia,” said a local resident.
And no Mahanavami puja is complete without offering pedas.
“At least 200kg of peda have to be prepared for Mahanavami and we are working round the clock to meet the target,” said sweetmaker Mani Shanker Singh.