Bhubaneswar, Jan 1 (IANS): Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik was among the thousands to visit Sri Jagannath Temple in Puri on Sunday to take the blessings of deities on new year day.
The Chief Minister offered prayers at the temple.
"Hearty greetings for a joyous, peaceful and healthy new year. May 2017 motivate us to work more committedly for progress and prosperity of Odisha," tweeted Patnaik.
Visitors also crowded the Chandrabhaga beach and Konark temple to get a glimpse of the sunrise on the first day of 2017. Other places in the State, especially tourist spots, were packed with picnickers.
Renowned artist Sudarsan Pattnaik has created a sand sculpture of Lord Jagannath at the Puri beach to welcome 2017, while artist Manas Kumar Sahoo created a sand sculpture of Jesus Christ at the beach.
According to a report from Amritsar, thousands of devotees thronged the 'Harmandir Sahib', also popularly known as the Golden Temple to offer prayers on the first day of the New Year.
The rush of devotees started on Saturday evening with the shrine complex getting jampacked by midnight itself.
With the dawn of the first day of the New Year, thousands could be seen queued up to offer prayers at 'Harmandir Sahib' -- the sanctum sanctorum and the holiest of the Sikh shrines.
"The whole shrine complex was bustling with people. It was a unique atmosphere all around. This was one of the biggest rush that we had seen in recent years," Harvinder Singh, a local resident who offers prayers at the temple on New Year's day every year, told IANS.
The outer area of the complex was renovated and beautified recently, and people visiting the Golden Temple enjoyed that too.
The shrine complex was illuminated for the occasion.