PM greets people of Odisha on the occasion of Nuakhai

Bhubaneswar: Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Odisha Governor Ganeshi Lal and Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Tuesday greeted the people of the state on the occasion of “Nuakhai”, a harvest festival welcoming the new crop.

Describing Nuakhai as an ancient festival of Odisha, the prime minister in a message wished prosperity and good health among people, mainly farmers. “Nuakhai Juhar! One of the most ancient festivals of Odisha, may this auspicious occasion further the spirit of prosperity, especially among our hardworking farmers. Praying for everyones good health and wellbeing,” Modi tweeted.

While Lal in a special message wished the people of the state happiness and prosperity, the chief minister extended wishes to the people by tweeting in Sambalpuri. Wishing farmers happiness and prosperity on the occasion of the agrarian festival, the governor called for transforming Odisha into an advance state in agriculture.

Patnaik prayed for the wellbeing of the people and wished smooth operations in agriculture, trade and business. Union Petroleum and Steel Minister Dharmendra Pradhan greeted the people with “Nuakhai Juhar” and hoped the auspicious festival will bring good luck.

BJP national vice-president and former MP Baijayant Panda and a host of other dignitaries also greeted the people of Odisha on the occasion. “This post #GaneshChaturthi festival is most widely celebrated in Western Odisha, the land of my maternal ancestors. Its significance is now far beyond the new harvest, & also abt love, forgiveness & good neighbourliness under presiding deity Ma Samaleswari…,” Panda tweeted.

Internationally acclaimed sand artist Sudarsan Pattnaik also made a sand sculpture on Puri beach to wish the people. People across western Odisha celebrated the festival with religious fervor, devotion and enthusiasm on Tuesday, a day after the Ganesh Chaturthi. The festival began with offering Nabanna, the newly harvested paddy, to Goddesses Samaleswari Devi in Sambalpur. Later, the people offered Nabanna to their presiding deities.

A large number of devotees thronged the Samaleswari temple to witness the traditional ceremony and seek the blessings of the Goddess, while cultural programmes were also organised in different areas on the festival, which symbolises harmony and brotherhood.

The first rice was offered to Maa Samalai as per the time fixed by the pundits. Goddess Samaleswari was adorned with new saree and ornaments, said Samaleswari temple’s priest, Ambika Prashad Ray.

Like Samaleswari temple in Sambalpur, the ritual was also performed before Patneswari in Bolangir, Sureswari in Sonepur, Sekharbasisni in Sunderagrh and Nrusinghanath of Paikmal, Ghateswari of Chipilima, Bhattarika of Brajarajnagar and all Gramdevi shrines of villages across the state. People, attired in new clothes, also celebrated the festival in their own houses which were decorated for the occasion, while the farmers worshiped the paddy fields. Special delicacies were also prepared and offered to the family deity in every household before the family members sat together to savour the food.