Tara Tarini, one of the famous Shakti shrines in Odisha, is located on the banks of the Rushikulya river, 35 km from here.

Braving the scorching sun, devotees climbed the 999 steps to reach the 17th century temple to get their children tonsured and offer the hair to the goddess, a tradition considered auspicious if performed on a Tuesday of the Odia month of Chaitra.

Some others reached the temple through the ropeway being opeprated by a private agency. A company from Andhra Pradesh has been collecting the hair in lieu of money.

The company has offered Rs 2.70 lakh this time. Last year, the company gave Rs 2.51 lakh, a temple official said.

"Ganjam district administration and temple authorities have made elaborate arrangements for the convenience of the visitors," said Secretary, Tara Tarini Development Board, Pramod Kumar Panda.

"Since many trees were uprooted in cyclone Phailin in October 2013, we have pitched tents on the way to the hilltop to offer resting places to the people," he added.

Temporary health camps were put up and drinking water supply ensured. Fifteen platoons of police (around 500 personnel), additional SP (Ganjam) and three DSP rank officers are camping on the temple premises to maintain law and order, said SP (Ganjam) Narasingh Bhol.

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