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Lakhs of devotees throng Talcher for Hingula puja

 Angul,FAST MAIL NEWS - Lakhs of devotees thronged Gopala Prasada, about 25 kms from here on Saturday to witness the annual festival of Hingula Yatra. This year the festival would continue for nine days.This year the puja is being celebrated in a much fanfare as the sdame couldn’t be held for past two and half years.

The speciality of the puja is Goddess Hingula manifests in the form of Fire and people from all over the state as well as the country visit  this place to worship the goddess of fire.

Goddess Hingula, believed to be the ‘Agni’ (Fire) in the kitchen of Lord Jaganatha at Puri. Each year, on this day of Bishnu Damanaka Chaturdasi (the auspicious day in the month of April), the Goddess gives darshan to Her devotees in a state of burning fire.

On the day, Sukla Chaturdashi, the goddess believed to take leave from Sri Mandira kitchen at Puri and gives darshan to devotees here at Gopalagada in the form of burning fire.

Kishore Chandra dehury, the chief priest of Hingula temple told TOI,”Before nine days of this festival being started, the goddess appears near the temple in the form fire after a special Puja was offered.Later,Dehury was informed about the location of the burning spot which is kept surrounded with heaps of coal till the Yatra is finished.

Jagan Mohan Garnaik,a member of the Hingula trust Board said that as the puja celebration couldn’t be held  in previous years due to COVID-19,this year, the Hingual festival is being organized in much fanfare.

He said,”Goddess appeared to the west of the main temple. The goddess is being worshiped at two sites, one in the temple and the other on a raised platform with a big appliqué atop, tied to four wooden poles around”.

“The main attraction of the Puja is a canopy which was given by the king of Talcher. The canopy was placed above the fire and lakhs of devotees from far and wide thronged to this place on the occasion irrespective of caste, creed and religion and offered “Bhoga” into the fire”.

He said,” Devotees offer coconouts, ghee, milk, cheese, clothes, vermillion, sandal wood paste, bangles and cowrie.These offerings are being thrown into the rising flames. Interestingly, the canopy which was put above the fire doesn’t burn.

 

 On the platform, a heap of coal is burnt on fire which represents the goddess.Goddess Hingula is worshipped each year with great devotion by the people here.

 “There is no need of a priest to worship goddess Hingula for the devotees here. The devotees, themselves offered “Bhoga” to Fire Goddess on the occasion”, Jagan Mohan Garnaik, a member of Hingula Trust Board said, adding, devotees who have faith in their feelings, their wishes would come true”.

On the occasion, hundreds of kids sit in tandem and a handful of barbers shave their heads to appease goddess.Earlier; animals were sacrificed for the goddess. But this practice was stopped following the interference of the district administration. Now only vegetables and sweets are being offered to Maa Hungula as “Bhoga”.

The other attraction of Hingula Yatra is called “Patiara Puja”(the power of Mother Goddess entering into the body of the man who serves Ma Hingula). After nine days, a Puja called “Sital” (to put out the fire) is performed on the spot by the King of Talcher and the Dehury, the worshipper.

 According to legend, Garnaik said, after the construction of Lord Jaganatha temple at Puri, then king of Vidarbha region of Western India, Nala decided to start “Arna Prasad”, Lord Jaganatha of Puri asked in his dream to bring goddess Hingula to manage his kitchen.

 Accordingly king Nala went to Vidarbha and brought Goddess on his wrapper in form of fire and in course of his journey reached at Gapalgarh, which called now Gopala Prasada where he took rest. The fire used to cook Maha Prasada at Puri represents Maa Hingula.

Goddess told him in his dream Gopalagarh to be HER “Puja Peetha” (Place of worship) and since 1575, goddess is being worshipped here. The Ex- king of Talcher, Birabara Harichandan started this festival.

Elaborate security arrangements were made to check any untoward incident during the Yatra, Angul SP Jagmohan Meena said. Ten platoons of police force were deployed to maintain law and order situation during the yatra,SP added.

 

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