Bhubaneswar: The timing to take the mahadeepa, a special ritual conducted on Mahashivratri, atop the 11th century shrine of Lord Lingaraj at Old Town here has been fixed at 10 pm by the temple authorities.
Notably, the devotees, who fast all day, end their fasts after seeing the mahadeep being lifted to the top of the temple at night.
“Since the devotees will break their fast after the Mahadeepa is taken, we are emphasizing on timely completion of all the rituals,” said a temple official.
Meanwhile, lakhs of devotees making serpentine queue thronged to the shrine of Lord Lingaraj to offer prayers, on the auspicious occasion of Mahashivratri festival today.
The temple was opened for Sahanmela (open darshan) of the Lord at 3.30 am and continued till 11 am. Rituals of the Lord continued in between. Again, the darshan of the deity was resumed from 4 pm which will continue till night.
For the smooth movement of devotees, barricades were erected inside and around the temple premises.
As many as 25 platoons of police force were deployed for the festival. Police personnel in civil dress have been deployed for the festival. Fire vehicles have been kept ready as a precautionary measure for any possible incident.
By now, about two lakhs of people from the city and different parts of the State have already thronged the Ekamra Kshetra to offer prayer to the Lord Lingaraj.
Prabachan and Bhajan rpogrammes have also been organised for the devotees outside the temple.
Apart from Lingaraj, Mahashivratri was observed in many Shiva temples across the State.
Chandrasekhar temple at Kapilash in Dhenkanal witnessed thousands of devotees on the auspicious day.
Devotees in large number also visited Gupteswar temple in Koraput, Ladu Baba temple in Nayagarh, Akhandalamani in Bhadrak, Dhabaleswar temple in Athagarh, Loknath in Puri and Vyed Vyas temple in Rourkela to pay obeisance to the Lord on Mahashivratri.