By Our Correspondent
ATHAGARH/CUTTACK: Tens of thousands of devotees were on Sunday morning gathered at Lord Dhabaleswar Temple on banks of River Mahanadi in Cuttack’s Athagarh Assembly segment to offer prayer of the occasion of ‘Bada Osha’.
Devotees from across the State reaching the Temple through the Hanging Bridge and some devotes prefer motor boats while tight security has been put in place for smooth darshan.
As the shrine is perched on a hillock in an island surrounded by the river Mahanadi, the devotees reach the place by boats either from Bidanasi side of Cuttack or through a suspension bridge from Mancheswar village of Athagarh side. The shrine which is associated with several myths is also a most sought after tourist spot due to its scenic beauty and serenity.
The Bada Osha falls on the third day of the Panchuka, which is observed in almost all Odia houses with utmost sanctity and care. The lord at the shrine is worshipped in the night of Bada Osha with white coloured fruits, flowers and clothing for which He is called the white God or Dhabaleswar. Even the bhoga of the lord is white and is known as Gaja Bhog.
CMC, Cuttack and NAC of Athagarh have been assigned to keep the temple’s premises clean and ensure provision of essential amenities. Small country boat (huli danga) has been banned during Panchuka and big registered boats with trained drivers has been deployed. ODRAF units with life jackets and pneumatic tubes also pressed into service. CESU has been assigned to illuminate the shrine with adequate light.
The festival of Bada Osha is primarily celebrated at the temple of Lord Mahadeva – Dhabaleswar. The temple is situated on an island in the river Mahanadi.
The temple is located barely 3kms away from the Cuttack city. Although the temple is always occupied by devotees, on the Festival of Bada Osha, lakhs of tourists and devotees throng the place to offer prayers.
The story goes that once a thief stole a black calf from a village and ran from the angry villagers to hide in a Shiva temple. As the irate villagers heard the calf calling out, they waited for him outside. The thief sat in the sanctum sanctorum and prayed fervently to Lord Shiva to save him.
At this point, an ascetic came and stood in the crowd asking them what had happened. The ascetic then went inside and brought out a calf that happened to be white. The thief was in no doubt that it was Lord Shiva who had delivered him and he remained in his service forever.