The faithful race towards Ranchi’s Pahari Mandir on Mahashivaratri on Sunday. (Hardeep Singh and Gautam Dey)
Ranchi/Dumka, March 10: Mortal abodes of Lord Shiva in Jharkhand were abuzz with pilgrims from the state and the country on the occasion of Mahashivratri today.
Of all the shrines, Pahari Mandir in Ranchi, Baidyanath Dham in Deoghar and Basukinath temple in Dumka recorded the maximum footfall, as devotees made a beeline since early morning. Other less popular shrines, too, saw big gatherings. Fortunately, no untoward incident was reported from any part of the state.
At Pahari Mandir, the serpentine queue almost reached up to the Durga Mandir, located about one-and-a-half kilometres away. The temple management, with the help of the district administration, put up barricades to regulate the crowds.
Ranchi MP Subodh Kant Sahay was also seen at Pahari Mandir. “He prayed for the good of the state and its people,” said a Sahay aide.
The Congress leader also joined the ceremonial Shiv Baraat from Pahari Mandir to Albert Ekka Chowk.
Meanwhile, Deoghar district administration faced a tough time controlling crowd, as pilgrims queued up to offer puja from early morning.
“Unlike the month-long Shravani Mela, the daylong Shivratri is far more challenging for us. During Shravani Mela, security forces from other districts are deployed to manage the affairs, which makes our task much easier. During Shivratri, however, the security arrangements are largely made on our own. However, the devotees performed the rituals without any trouble,” Deoghar superintendent of police Subodh Prasad said.
A dozen magistrates were deployed at strategic locations, each equipped with a walkie-talkie to thwart any untoward incident. Ambulances and fire tenders were also kept on stand-by.
According to Manoj Naraune, the priest of Baidyanath Dham, nearly 1.25 lakh pilgrims turned up to offer prayers. The devotees, in fact, started gathering since half past midnight.
If Baidyanath Dham drew over one lakh devotees, many of who came to witness the popular ritual of Shiv Baraat in the evening, about 40,000 people gathered at Basukinath temple in Dumka to see the marriage of lord Shiva and goddess Parvati.
The Shiv Baraat procession in Deoghar kicked off from KK Stadium around 7pm. It passed through different locations before ending at Baidyanath Dham, where the ritual of solemnising the marriage rituals was performed by priests to the chant of vedic mantras.
Several NGOs and also a few individuals arranged sherbets and other food items along the 1.5km-long stretch of the procession.
Flower petals were showered on the shrines in Deoghar and Basukinath Dham from a chartered plane arranged by Deoghar mayor Rajnarain Khawade, who is also the president of the Shivratri celebration committee.