Amidst Dhadi Darshan Unrest, Devotees Throng Puri Jagannath Temple To Offer Mahalaya Prayers

**Puri:** Mahalaya, a day of solemnity, somberness and obeisance, invigorates the spirit of forefathers as their lineage pay deferential respects to them. On this auspicious occasion in Odisha, the pious citadel of Puri sees a swarm of devotees flooding the 12th century shrine to offer special pujas and perform rituals as a mark of homage to their ancestors.

Celebrated a week before Durga Puja begins, Mahalaya essentially heralds the homecoming of the goddess and signifies the end of Pitru Paksha (the period when Hindus pay homage to their ancestors) and the beginning of Debi Paksha (period of the goddess).

Today on the auspicious occasion, devotees gathered in Puri Jagannath Temple at the iconic ‘Baisipahacha’ (22-stairs of the temple) for ‘tila tarpan’ and ‘pind daan’ to their forefathers in the wee hours of the day.

Many elder sons and daughters-in-law also offered ‘shradha’ (homage) to their paternal and maternal ancestors at ‘Tirtha Pushkarini’ and ‘Mahodadhi’.

Despite unrest over ‘Dhadi Darshan’ (queue system) that occurred last week resulting in several arrests and a persistent discontent among the critics of the new rule, devotees have chosen to flock at Puri from various districts to offer their respects the loved ones.

“Today is Ashwina month’s ‘Amabasya tithi’ and on this holy day, we observe Mahalaya.

‘Arua chaula’, ‘gaham chhatua’, ‘gaham atta’ along with the temple Mahaparasad is offered to the departed souls here today. They come today on the New Moon Day in darkness and on Diwali we bid them goodbye by showing them light and guiding their path,” said a priest.

According to religious folklore, it is believed that the forefathers come very close to the earth on this day to receive the offerings that is paid to them by the younger generation.

Thus, the religious aura along with the soothing sea winds make the Puri the perfect place for observing this festival of peace, happiness, prosperity and good health.

**Also Read:** [Mahalaya Prayers Offered Across Odisha](