This obeisance by Baba Nageshwar Rai began at the Naulakha Durga Temple opposite the New Secretariat here on Thursday after 'Kalash Sthapan' (placing of pitchers) which signals the commencement of Navratra.

Rai, a resident of Darbhanga, will remain in the same position for the entire period till Vijayadashami on October 3 without food or water.

He has been doing the feat since 1996. The number of Ganga water-filled pitchers placed on his chest is increasing every passing year.

"I won't feel a thing. I experience so much joy in doing this... I am a child of Goddess Durga and she takes care of me," Rai said.

Asked about how he bears the inconvenience of not being able to change sides as he lies on the temple floors with the water pitchers on his chest, he said, "Though I don't change my position, I am able to sleep peacefully during the festival. After my visit to Kamakhya Temple in Assam, Mother Durga appeared in a dream and inspired me to do this. I do not face any problem or medical complication during this period," he said.

Rai goes without food and water for 11 days as he begins his fast two days ahead of Navratra so that he does not feel the urge to relieve himself during the nine-day period. He breaks it with fruit juice after the brass pitchers are removed.

Rai lives in the temple premises and supports his family by serving water to state secretariat employees.

Temple president Vijay Kumar Yadav said thousands of people from different parts of the state visit it during Navratra and to see Rai.

"We take care to ensure that Rai is not disturbed. We are organising a 48-hour non-stop 'kirtan' during Navratra to pray for peace and prosperity in the state and the country," he said.

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