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Dalma lights up for bhakts

- Reflector lamps guide 8km route to Shiva temple

Dalma Hills will be safer for thousands of devotees who’ll throng a forest temple on Wednesday night to pay their obeisance to Lord Shiva.

Forest and sanctuary officials have made elaborate arrangements to ensure that Shivaratri celebrations take place without untoward incidents. Over 50,000 devotees are expected to visit the temple on the eve of Shivratri.

The 8km route that snakes from Fadlugora to the hilltop temple will be illuminated with special lamps. Apart from this, all visitors will be frisked and metal detectors will be installed at the two entry points of Fadlugora and Makulakocha.

Security arrangements will be focussed on the Fadlugora route. For, devotees from Jamshedpur, Chandil, Ghatshila and villages dotting NH 33 prefer it over the longer Makulakocha route, where one has to cover 3km to reach the entry point from the highway and then trek over 16km to reach the temple.

“Like every year, the temple will witness heavy footfall of devotees. We are not taking chances when it comes to the safety of the faithful. Besides installing reflector lights on the way to the hill temple, we are deputing personnel at the two entry points,” said Dalma range officer Mangal Kacchap.

On what a reflector light was, he said it comprised a lamp in a shiny metal casing. Light rays reflect on the metal framework, increasing the range of illumination.

He added two generator sets had been requisitioned for lighting up the way. “We had installed CFL bulbs last year, but we preferred reflector lights this time as they cover a larger area and are more viable,” Kacchap said.

On other security measures, the range officer said devotees would not be allowed to carry matchsticks, tyres and other inflammable items. “Foresters and trackers with torches in hands will keep vigil at the entry points and at the temple. Fifty trackers each will be deputed at the two entry points,” he said

A forester, when asked about tusker trouble, said the herds move to the core area of the sanctuary during this time of the year. “Neither of the two routes cuts through the core. Besides, only some elephants have returned from Bengal and they all have moved deep into the forests,” he added.

Lighting up the way to the temple started last year after devotees complained of inconvenience while trekking in the dark. Earlier, villagers used to burn tyres to light up the path and keep elephants at bay. The practice was dangerous as an ember could set the sprawling 192sqkm sanctuary, filled with dry leaves, on fire.

Shivratri fetches huge revenue for the Ranchi wildlife division, which looks after the Dalma reserve. Devotees are charged Rs 2 each for visiting the temple. There are separate charges for vehicles.