Rides being set-up for the mela near Pahari Mandir in Ranchi on Wednesday. Picture by Hardeep Singh
The picturesque Pahari Mandir started its Shravani Mela celebrations from Wednesday, drawing over 10,000 devotees who braved as many as 400 stairs to offer prayers to Lord Shiva.
Assembly Speaker C.P. Singh inaugurated the festivities.
The auspicious occasion also saw Pahari Mandir Development Committee launching the temple’s exclusive website for accepting donations. The website, www.paharimadirranchi.com, was launched in the presence of Ranchi DC Vinay Kumar Choubey. Besides enabling devotees to make donations to the temple society, the portal contains information about the history of the temple, details of puja performed and entry timings.
This apart, the committee’s new office-cum-control room was also inaugurated. It will double up as conference room for meetings.
Devotees — old and young — started queuing up at the temple since 4.30am, not at all daunted by the prospect of climbing so many stairs. In fact, many were impressed with the authorities’ efforts to give the temple a facelift.
“I come to the temple during the month of Shravan every year to seek blessings for my family. I am very impressed with the pool of water at the entrance. As soon as you take your first step inside the temple, your feet get washed,” said Sunita Devi of Namkum.
PMDC, which is overseeing the temple beautification project, has also ensured round-the-clock electricity and water facility. A new flight of stairs is coming up on the northern side of the temple.
“The new route will be open to public on July 9. Apart from drinking water facility, temporary toilets and a shoe rack in front of the new entrance have been set up, which can be used for free. A Bank of India ATM was also inaugurated at the temple’s entrance on Wednesday,” said Hari Jalan, treasurer of PMDC.
As for security measures, Jalan informed that police officers had been deployed at the entrance and staircases. “Three 42-inch LCD television screens displaying live telecast of proceedings, caught on 16 CCTV cameras, have been put up at various points of the temple,” he added.
Jalan, however, warned the devotees to beware of chain snatching and mobile theft incidents and advised them not to wear gold jewellery.
Announcements will be made from the control room to manage the crowd, which is expected to swell on holy Mondays, regarded by devotees as the day of Lord Shiva.
“The maha arti in the evenings will attract kanwariyas from several places around Ranchi like Hatia, Lohardaga and Mandar. The pilgrims will collect water from Subernarekha river in Namkum and walk all the way to the temple to offer it to Lord Shiva,” said Manoj Kumar Mishra, a priest.
“Around one lakh people visit the temple on Mondays. More police personnel will be ready to manage the crowd. A team of doctors and an ambulance will also be kept ready,” said R. Kumar, a policeman deployed outside the temple.