Puri, Jan 1 (UNI) Thousands of people from all over the country thronged this pilgrim-cum-tourist spot today to celebrate the new year and offer prayers to Lord Jagannath for a happy and prosperous year ahead.
The Jagannath temple management had rescheduled the daily rituals of the temple to facilitate a large number of devotees for a Darshan of the deities in the sanctum sanctorum of the temple.
Apart from devotees, many noted dignitaries, including Chief Minister Naveen Pattnaik, Minister for Information and Public Relations Debasish Nayak, Parliament members Brahmananda Panda, Prasanna Kumar Patsahani, local civic body Chairperson Gourahari Pradhan visited the temple and offered prayers this morning.
Several judges of Orissa High Court also visited the temple.
Later, the Chief Minister paid tributes to his father Late Biju Pattnaik at the Swargadwar crematorium.
Revellers started pouring into the city last evening and gathered at the beach and grand road awaiting the time for the onset of the new year.
As soon as the clock ticked 12, the entire city came alive with display of fire works and chanting holy hymns. The poets gathered at the sea beach, recited their new compositions at midnight welcoming the new year.
The entire sea beach presented a splendid look as numerous hotels that dot the Puri shoreline were illuminated. The hoteliers had a promising season this year as the prices of the standard hotels sky rocketed while the small transport operators and the priests had a field day.
Apart from Puri, tourists also flocked at Konarak and Satpara - two major tourist spots of the state.
The adjoining places of tourist interest - Ramchandi, Bali Harchandi, Siruli Mahavir were seen packed with picnic parties.
Police had a tough time to tackle the heavy rush of vehicular traffic along various routes connecting the city. Over 40 platoons of police personnel besides the regulars were deployed in the city and at places of tourist crowd for the smooth conduct of the new year celebrations, said Puri district Superintendent of Police Asit Kumar Panigrahi.
UNI XC BD LL SHB PM2040