Berhampur, March 4 (Localwire) Thousands of devotees of Lord Shiva have spent the night atop the Mahendragiri Hill in Gajapati district to offer prayers at the Gokarneswara temple at dawn on Monday.
The local administration has made tight security arrangements around the complex to protect the devotees who have come from different corners of the state, as well as from neighboring Andhra Pradesh.
It’s believed that sins of a person would be washed away, if one witnesses the sunrise and the Shiva Linga at the temple, located at some 5,000 feet above the sea level.
According to history professor Bhagaban Sahu, the temple construction and the Linga’s installation were believed to have been carried out by the Pandavs of the Mahabharat era.
Besides the 8-feet tall Gokarneshwar temple, the complex also has four other temples dedicated to Yudhistira. The Gokarneshwar shrine, though, was built by Pandavas, said the Berhampur University scholar.
Legend has it that Pandavs had performed prayers on the hill top at dawn on the day of Mahashivaratri.
The devotees, therefore, have continued that practice, said Sahu.
“We have made arrangements for electricity, drinking water, as well as for medical emergency,” said Gajapati district collector Anupam Saha.
“The 4.5-km-long road to the hill-top has been repaired, and fire-tenders have been deployed for emergency,” he said. The road was damaged in cyclone Titli last year.
To beef up security, a temporary police control room has been opened at the site, and nine platoons of security forces have been deployed to manage the crowd, superintendent of police Shara Sharma said.