Blinded by superstition, thousands of mothers, whose firstborn is a boy, are rushing to Tara Tarini hill shrine in Ganjam district of Odisha on Tuesdays.These women are offering new sarees among other things to the deity, praying for the well-being of their eldest sons. The reason behind this superstition is a rumour that in the coming months some great harm, maybe death, is going to happen to eldest male child of any family and through this special puja at Tara Tarini temple with new saree on Tuesday this ill fate can be averted.16 weeks and countingIt’s been 16 weeks since the rumour started in the rural areas of Ganjam, and now it has spread to the slums of Berhampur city and other urban centres of the district. As a result, thousands of mothers are thronging the temple ofTuesdays with a new saree and food material to be offered as ‘chhancha’ (offering) to the temple.Interestingly, the cost of the saree and the offerings has to be borne by the parents of the women, according to the rumour which has now become a belief among the people. After offering the saree to the deity, the mothers have to wear it at the shrine and then return home.Crowd managementOn last Tuesday (February 21) around 25,000 visitors reached this famous hill shrine of south Odisha and most of them were married women with children, said the secretary of Tara Tarini Development Board (TTDB), Pramod Panda.On the Tuesday before that (February 14), the number of visitors had gone above 50,000, he added. According to Mr. Panda, February 21 was the 16th Tuesday and the number of visitors on all Tuesdays have been as high as the crowd seen at the temple on the four Tuesdays of the Hindu month of Chaitra (between March and April), when the major festivals of the shrine are held.The majority of the women who have fallen prey to this rumour are from the economically backward families. As most of them are uneducated or semi-literate, they do not use their logic and easily believe these stories, said J. Suresh, an activist with Humanist and Rationalist Organisation (HRO). Such superstition spreads through word of mouth among the downtrodden, who fail to use their analytical skill to know the truth behind it, he added.