With the errection of holy mast for the bieannial Budhi Thakurani yatra,humen activities in Desbehera street increased. As per the calculation of the traditional priest,the holy mast was fixed last night and the organisers of the yatra Durga prasad desibehera appealed the district administration to conduct the bieannial yatra from next 28th to April 27th.
Every alternate year the Berhampur city and whole of south Odisha pulsates with the celebrations of Thakurani Jatra in the city. During the period the goddess will leave her main temple at Thakurani temple street and stay in a temporary temple at Desibehera street.
As per historians this festival has a history of more than two centuries.The first Thakurani Jatra was celebrated in the city in 1779 april.In this celebration the weaver Dera community of the city and their cult head, Desibehera play a major role.
As per sayings the Dera community are originally from Andhra Pradesh and the king of mahuri kingdom,Narendra Dev had got them settled in Berhampur.The king had been impressed by their weaving skills on silk.Due to these Deras Berhampur became famous for its silk Patto sarees and got the name,Silk city.The Mahuri king had given the title of Desibehera to the head of this weaver class.
As per the myth a Desibehera of the past used to worship the Goddess budhi thakurani of the city.And the goddess got pleased with him and blessed him that she will come to his home every alternate year like a daughter comes home from her in-laws'house.She also said that during her stay at his house she will be worshipped not by brahmins but by the people of the barbercaste.
These barbers who worship the deity during the festival are called Damala. Myth says that initially the king did not allow for this festival to happen as he feared that it will increase the status of desibehera more than him.
But the king fell ill and the goddess instructed him that if he allows the festival then he will be cured.The king allowed for the festival. And he got cured when the ghatam representing the goddessreached his palace after reaching desibehera's house.
The preparations for this festival usually starts from the day of Shivaratri.But this year it delayed.After the holy mast the process of a make shift thatched temple for the goddess in front of Desibehera's house started today.As per the tradition on the day of start of festival a senior women member of Desibehera family or his wife goes to the thakurani temple with floral offerings.
They put these flowers on the head of the deity and offer prayers.A flower falling from the head of the deity marks the signal by the goddess for the start of the festival.The offered flower is then brought back as the representative of the deity to the make shift temple and is put in a ghatam along with eight other ghatams.
After two days these ghatams are moved around various streets of the city in processions.Various streets also prepare decorative chariots in honour of the goddess.
The uniqueness of this festival happens to be the carnival spirit.During the festival hundreds of people put on attires and make up of mythic characters and roam around as a offering to the deity.It provides a source of income for the theatrical dressand make up providers.
Most famous attire happens to be that of tiger which accompanied by tiger dance and beats of drums. For it the whole body of a person is painted as tiger.It takes around six hours for the paint work. Parents also get their children dressed up as Rama,Krishna etc as a offering to the goddess for fulfilment of some wish or for the well being of health of the children.
Some people also put up the grab of demons and witches.Some other famous attires put on during the period by people are Balaram,Bhim,Parshuram, Arjun,Goddesses,Tribals etc.
It is quite common sight to see mythical characters moving around the city on bikes, rickshaws and cycles during this period.And it adds to the glamour and spirit of this festival.As per the tradition the persons putting on dresses as mythical characters had to beg from seven houses and to offer what they get at the thakurani temple.
But now it has become an easy income source for the unemployed for collection of money.Most money is collected by the persons who dress themselves astigers and dance to the tune of drums as people pay them well.Even small children colour themselves in black paint to call themselves as`Chhod gajia and collect small change from people.
On the last day of the festival the ghatams return to the main temple in a large procession. During this processions thousands of women also participate with ghatams on their heads as mark of respect to the deity in return of any fulfilled wish