Digapahandi: The fifth day of popular ‘Budhithakurani Yatra’ in Ganjam district was marked with meeting of two sisters – Budhi Thakurani and Phula Sundari. Puja and traditonl rituals for the divine siblings were solemnised Wednesday.
The celebration moved to a feverish pitch as the festival will end Thursday. Notably, the festival was kick-started October 4. Goddess Budhithakurani is known as the presiding deity of Berhampur. There are some spine-chilling stories behind the yatra.
Orissa POST interacted with temple priests and elderly people to learn the history of the yatra. The yatra was started in 1806. Villagers believe goddess Budhithakurani saves them from all epidemics.
Folklores have it that, villagers here were dying due to epidemics in the area. Chief priest of Budhithakurani said all this happened due to the wrath of the goddess. To appease her, then king Chaitana Dev arranged the yatra in the area in the name of Goddess Budhithakurani. At that time it was known as ‘Jhaleri’ Yatra.
King Krupamaya Dev started the practice of animal scarifies in 1892. But in 1948 some youths protested animal scarifies and from then the practice of animal scarifies had stopped at the temple.
Another king Ramchandra Dev had transferred the idol of Budhithakurani to the temple of Goddess Manikeswari at the palace. As a result the yatra was stopped for two years.
But after two years, servitor Simandri Padhiari again reestablished the goddess in her temple 1951.
Historians and devotees say Maa Budhithakurani is the incarnation of Goddess Sati’s blood particle. In Odisha, there are only three Shaktipithas – Taratarinisthanajukta (two sisters), Bimla in Puri (Navi Mandal) and Birja in Jajpur (Pada Jugala).
During the yatra, a temporary pandal was established in front of the palace. From the temple she is brought to the temporary pandal by a procession. The Jani Brahmins worship goddess on the pandal for seven days.
Fair, dramas, melodies, and various types of foods are the main attractions of the yatra. People from all religions celebrate the yatra in the city by showing communal harmony.
During the yatra, after the sandhya alati the ghata of goddess goes in a procession in the area and this is famous as ‘Nagara Parikrama’ in the city.
The goddess’ favourite prasad – khichidi, pana, dahiarna, manda, kakra and kheer, are served as bhog. Goddess Budhi Thakurani’s favourite besha (avatar) is Baghabesha due to which the devotees apply varnish and dress up as a tiger.
Large numbers of women throng the temporary shelter and move in a queue to offer turmeric, alata and flowers at the goddess’ feet every evening.
Every household invites their married daughters to their parental homes and keeps her as a guest and they leave for their in-laws’ place after the conclusion of the yatra.
The yatra in the city mainly represents communal harmony, respect to women, fraternity, integrity, peace, and brotherhood, which further represent the rich culture of our state.