Balangir/Deogaon: The roads leading to the Sulia shrine at Badakhala in Khairaguda and at Sanakhala in Kumuria villages under Deogaon block in Bolangiri district wore a tinge of red as hundreds of animals and birds were sacrificed at the annual Sulia Yatra which began, Tuesday. During the festival, hundreds of buffaloes, goats, sheep, and hens were sacrificed as part of the rituals associated with Sulia Yatra. Despite awareness campaigns to prevent the sacrifice of animals, the rituals have continued. The festival started as the Baruas and Dehurias (category of priests) reached the Sulia shrine in a procession to the beating of drums and traditional instruments.
Later, the animal sacrifice was conducted at these two shrines. Thousands of devotees thronged the places and assembled at the festival which was being held after a gap of two years due to Covid-19 restrictions. The tribal outfits said that they will continue with the sacrifice ritual even if the administration objects to it. They remained adamant about keeping alive the age-old practice. The tribals said that appeasing the deity by sacrificing animals brings good rainfall and harvest. A ritual called ‘nishipuja’ was also performed at midnight along with the custom of worshipping traditional weapons.