Devotees dress up as mythological characters in the procession
Almost the entire city went sleepless on Monday night to take part in the return journey of Goddess Budhi Thakurani to her permanent temple that marked the end of biennial Thakurani Jatra festival.
The procession of the ghatam that symbolised the goddess reached the temple at around 3 am. The whole city bore a deserted look till late morning on Tuesday. Most of the shops and business establishments opened late. More than two lakh devotees took part in the return procession of the deity.
The ghatam started from the temporary abode of the deity at Desibehera street at around 11.30 pm.
The colourful procession that also included devotees and revellers travelled through all major streets in the old city area before reaching the permanent temple. Elaborate police arrangements had been made to control the crowd during the return journey procession as it would pass through narrow streets of Old city area.
Characters from mythology had come alive in hundreds as people got themselves attired as mythological beings or funny creatures to pay homage to the deity.
‘Sahasrakshi ghatam' a special ritualistic ghatam led the procession. It was followed by the ghatam representing the deity.
This ghatam was carried by the wife of Desibehera, the hereditary head of Dera or weaver community. Eight other ghatam were carried by wives of other Dera Senapatis, or leaders of Dera community.
This large procession also consisted of thousands of married women from the city and outside. They also carried ghatam on their heads during the procession. They had ritualistically worshipped these ghatams at their homes through out the festival period. When the procession reached the permanent temple of the deity all earthen ghatam carried in the procession were crushed outside the temple except the main ghatam depicting the deity.
This return journey of the goddess Budhi Thakurani is believed to be the return of the deity from her parental home to her in-laws' house, said a senior citizen of the city.