Devotees throng Kalahandi to witness Goddess Manikeswari’s Chhatar Jatra

Bhawanipatna: The famous ‘Chhatar Jatra’ of goddess Manikeswari was observed amid religious fervour and devotion at Bhawanipatna in Odisha’s Kalahandi district on Sunday.

A large number of devotees from across the state and outside thronged the district headquarters town to witness the annual sojourn of the goddess and seek her blessings.

During the annual festival, goddess Manikeswari, the presiding deity of the western Odisha town, stepped out of her abode for the ‘Chhatar Jatra’.

As part of the ceremonial practice, the Bijay Pratima Chhatar of the deity was earlier taken out of the shrine to Jenakhala located on the outskirts of Bhawanipatna town. The Chhatar was brought back to the temple in a large procession early in the morning amid the beating of drums. Traditional drums like ‘Jena Badya’ and ‘Ghumura Badya’ were used.

Certain secret rituals were performed at Jenakhala during the night. Devotees whose wishes were fulfilled prayed to the goddess and released pigeons over Chhatar as a symbol of peace and love.
To maintain law and order during the festival, elaborate security arrangements were made in the town where around 12 platoons of police forces have been deployed.

The district administration took necessary measures to prevent animal sacrifices during the festival. However, some devotees were reportedly seen making animal sacrifices for fulfilment of their wishes.

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