12 February 2019
Puri: Braving the morning chill, several devotees thronged the beaches of Chandrabhaga early today to take a holy dip in the sea and welcome the rising Sun with prayers on the auspicious occasion of ‘Magha Saptami’.
With the age-old belief that it would cleanse them of skin diseases and wash away their sins, the pilgrims from Odisha, West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh took the holy dip amidst tight security arrangements. Besides, there are tourists who come to Konark to see the famous Sun Temple.
It is one of the most popular and colourful festivals of Konark which is observed on the seventh day of the waxing phase of the Odia month of Magha. This is a day specifically set aside for the worship of Sun God at Konark where stands the world famous Sun Temple, otherwise known as Black Pagoda, dedicated to Sun God.
Besides, Mahadev is also worshipped at the place making the celebrations of this ‘Magha Mela’ unique. In one of the rituals, cooked rice and dried fish (shukhua) dalma is offered to mythological demon Arkasura in whose name the place has been named as Arka Kshetra. The cooking pots are broken and thrown into the pond from where the pieces are believed to disappear. A big fair is also held at the Khandagiri caves in Bhubaneswar for a period of seven days commencing from "Maghasaptami".
In fact this is the second biggest festival in Odisha, next to the Car Festival of Puri.