Sambalpur: The weeklong festival of Sital Sasthi, which is held in Western Odisha to mark the divine marriage of Lord Shiva with his consort Goddess Parvati (an incarnation of Goddess Sati), started Wednesday. As part of the festival, the engagement rituals, (locally known as Patarpendi or Nirbandha) of Sri Sri Gudeswar Baba, were performed Wednesday.
Priests Sachhidananda Mishra and Samir Satapthay conducted the special rituals in the presence of temple trust board presidentcum-groom’s father Hemant Kumar Mohaptra Saptarshi, Gourishankar Dash, Dindayal Agarwal, Harish Agarwal, Lalit Agarwal, Pradip Tulsian, Arta Mohapatra and Kamal Soni.
Later, the groom’s family members began a search for the bride amid the blowing of conchs and other traditional musical instruments. They reached the bride’s house of Sitaram Agarwal at Tiwari Lane in Khetrajpur where the bride’s family members welcomed them and held discussions about the marriage. The bride’s father agreed to the proposal and gave his consent to the marriage. The festival, which is held with much fanfare, also marks the onset of monsoon and is celebrated by the farmers.
The intense heat wave prior to it symbolises the severe austerity observed by Goddess Sati to get Lord Shiva as her husband. Legend has it that the demon Tarakasur had received a boon that he would be killed by Lord Shiva’s son. But Lord Shiva was busy in meditation on Mount Kailash after the death of Sati. So the Devatas requested Shati to take the form of Parbati and marry Lord Shiva and save them from the menace of the demon. Parvati performed rigorous meditation to get Lord Shiva as her husband. On the day of ‘Jyestha Shukla Paksha Sasthi’ Shiva was satisfied with her austerity and married her. Sital Sasthi was the marriage day
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