Lakhs of devotees attend lord Jyotirling's annual fair

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Kolhapur, Apr 19 (UNI) Around 3.5 lakh devotees from Maharashtra, Karnataka and other states today visited the annual fair of lord Jyotirling at Wadi-Ratnagiri, about 20 km away from here.

The fair of lord Jyotirling, also famous as lord ''Jyotiba'', is held on ''Chaitra Poornima'' every year.

Devotees have thronged the pilgrim centre in western Maharashtra for the last three days, with the chants of ''Jyotibachya Navana Changbhala'' filling the air.

The fair began with the ''Pooja'' and ''Abhishek'' of lord Jyotiba performed by Panhala Tehsildar, Mr Tambe this morning, following which the temple was opened for the devotees for ''Darshan''.

In the afternoon, a procession of ''Sasan Kathis (bamboo poles)'', decorated with colourful clothes and garlands was flagged-off by Kolhapur District Guardian Minister Harshwardhan Patil. The function was also attended by state Assembly Speaker Baba Kupekar.

Later, a palanquin of lord Jyotiba was taken out for a visit to Goddess Yamai, which was surrounded by devotees enroute.

Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC) had made special arrangements to ferry the devotees, while two local organisations made arrangement for ''Mahaprasad (food distribution)'' at two places during the palanquin procession.

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