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Trains and buses towards Solapur, Maharashtra, have been packed with devotees travelling to the Tuljabhavani temple in that State to participate in the festivities there on Wednesday.

People have been travelling on the roofs of the buses and trains to get to the temple at Tuljapur of Osmanabad district in Maharashtra, in time for the festivities that coincide with the first full moon day after Dasara.

While the Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation and the North Eastern Karnataka Road Transport Corporation have introduced special bus services to Solapur and Tuljapur, the Railway authorities have not taken such steps to reduce the burden on normal services.

Pilgrims occupied all available space both in reserved and unreserved compartments in all trains to Solapur, while the unlucky ones without a seat risked travelling on top of the trains.

The pilgrims usually walk the 50 km from Solapur to the temple town of Tuljapur as part of a ritual. Hence, traffic on the busy Solapur-Tuljapur State highway was diverted on Monday and restrictions will remain in place on Tuesday.

According to legend, the presiding deity Maa Tuljabhavani sleeps for five days after Vijayadashami and wakes up on the next full moon day. For those five days, all gates of the temple are closed and opened only on the morning after the full moon.

Maa Tuljabhavani was revered by the Maratha warrior Shivaji Maharaj, who is said to have visited the temple to offer prayers before and after his military exploits.

Over 20 lakh people from Maharashtra, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh visit the temple on the auspicious day.

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