By Anirbaan Hritiq
Even Wraith of Thunder Storms failed to keep the devotees away from Shiva shrines on the last ‘Shraavana Somabar’.
The fifth month of the Hindu calendar begins in late July from the first day of the full moon also known as Purnima to the third week of August or the day of the next full moon.
As believed, those who fast for the entire month, especially without consuming non-vegetarian food, and in certain locations without even drinking water, are said to be granted their desires by Lord Shiva. Every year thousands of devotees’ vow to celebrate this auspicious occasion with great pompous & gaiety.
Many Shaivites participate in a barefoot pilgrimage known as Bol Bom Yatra as part of their annual celebration of this auspicious day. During this excruciating journey, pilgrims walk barefooted with heavy containers on their shoulders to fetch water from a nearby body of water and then use that water to bathe the Shiva lingam.
In Odisha, especially Bhubaneshwar this practice is given the most importance, as the primary deity of the capital city is Lord Lingaraja (The King of Shiva Linga), which is the principal Shiva shrine of the city.
Devotees worship Lord Shiva by offering him milk and bel leaves in addition to water from approved water sources, such as the Mahanadi. Other well-known Shiva shrines include Athagarh’s Dhabaleswar, Puri’s Lokanath, Dhenkanal’s Kailash, and Bolangir’s Harishankar.
The local administration has taken complete cognizance of the situation citing the current spike in the Covid-19 cases and felicitated 24*7 support of the devotees through the emergency helpline number of the Odisha Police which is 102.
Upon being asked by the media personnel, the devotees said, “The two years of complete locked down may have stopped us from worshipping our deity but haven’t amputated the spirit of our bhakti.”