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Thakurani Jatra begins amid tight security

Staff Reporter

BERHAMPUR: The biennial Thakurani Jatra festivals started amidst tight security at Bhanjanagar in Ganjam district and Phulbani in Kandhamal district on Wednesday night.

Administration and police were alert at these two places during the festival. Memory of communal tension in Kandhamal district a few months back has made the administration extra cautious at Phulbani. Alleged presence of naxalites in the Gasama jungle near Bhanjanagar has also increased security alertness in the area during the festival. It may be noted that naxalites had used the Gasama jungle as their base for their attacks in Nayagarh district and their escape later.

Procession

Both these festivals started at late night on Wednesday. The idol of goddess Byaghradevi was taken out on a decorated bullock cart in a procession from the Kulada temple to her temporary temple for the festival at Bhanjanagar. It marked the beginning of the Thakurani Jatra festival at Bhanjanagar. The deity would be kept at Bhanjanagar for 21 days, during the period of the festival.

Additional Superintendent of Police (ASP) Anup Kumar Sahu and Bhanjanagar Sub-Collector Purnachandra Pathi have been supervising the festival. Goddess Byaghradevi is revered in Bhanjanagar area as she happened to be the reigning deity Bhanja royal dynasty, which produced great Oriya poet Kavi Samrat Upendra Bhanja. As per folklore, Upendra Bhanja could beget his unique writing skill due to blessings of the deity.

The deities of four different temples at Phulbani were carried in processions to a temporary makeshift temple to mark the Narayani Thakurani Jatra festival. Kandhamal District Cllector Manish Verma supervised the arrangements for the festival. It will continue till May 30.

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