Staff Reporter

‘Shubha Khunti’ put up at Desibehera Street to mark the occasion

BERHAMPUR: Formal preparations for the famous biennial Thakurani Jatra began with the erection of the holy mast ‘Shubha Khunti’ at Desibehera Street.

It was decide to celebrate the festival from April 8 to May 4 at a meeting called by P. Durgaprasad Desibehera, the traditional head of the festival. Though the festival would coincide with the elections and the polling day on April 16, the organisers decided not to break the tradition of commencing the festival after Vishub Sankranti.

Invitation to goddess

After the meeting, the festival committee led by Mr. Desibehera carried the holy mast from the Desibehera Street to the temple of goddess Budhi Thakurani. It may be noted that the mast represented the invitation of Mr. Desibehera to the deity to come to his house for the festival. After the traditional rituals at the temple, the holy mast was brought back to the Desibehera Street. It was decorated with flowers from the deity, which marked the acceptance of invitation by the goddess. The holy mast was fixed in front of the house of Mr. Desibehera. A makeshift thatched temple would be constructed at the spot. It would be the abode of the deity during the festival. The deity happens to be the traditional deity of the Dera community of the city. She is also considered a family member of their leader, Mr. Desibehera. The Deras are skilled silk handloom weavers who settled down in Berhampur. For this reason, the city is known as Silk City.

As part of the festival, people of all ages don the role of various mythical characters and go around the city.