Berhampur, April 28 (LocalWire): Wish to meet God? Well, come down to Silk City and meet any God of your choice.
Lord Krishna rides the bicycle on the streets here while the monkey God walks nonchalantly through crowded places.
Lord Shiva along with his consort Parvati is also visiting homes in the lanes and bylanes of the town.
Don’t be alarmed. Mythological characters, known as veshas, have turned Berhampur into a temple town, celebrating the famous biannual Thakurani yatra.
The yatra is observed to mark the visit of Goddess Budhi Thakurani from the temple to her father’s house at Desibehera Street.
The month-long festival which started on March 29 will end Monday.
Bedecking their bodies with tiger skin, wearing the peacock feathers or carrying the trident, bows and arrows and the mace, the weapons of the Gods and colouring themselves blue or orange, as myths depict Gods in, several people irrespective of age or gender, walk the streets during the festival. They dress as Gods and Goddesses to keep their part of the promise (manashika) they made to Goddess Budhi Thakurani so that she helps them overcome their problems.
‘I have dressed my seven-year old girl as Sri Krushna as my mother
had a manashika for her welfare,’ said Babual Panigrahi.
‘We had a manashika to dress my son as Radha after he recovered from an ailment.
Now, he is seven-years-old and we came to perform the ritual and dress him up as Radha,’ said Ranjita Mishra, a resident of Baragarh.
Not only mythological characters, several people also dress up as folk characters.
Some of these characters are Pila-khai dahani (child hunting witch), Babaji (sadhu), police, doctor, political leaders, beggars.
In some localities, several people also come out in communities to depict different characters and travel through town before reaching the temporary abode of the Goddess.
Similarly, some others also dressed in fancy and animal characters.
‘We will organise the Budhist monk vesha very soon,’ said an organiser
Similarly, 21 youths from Dalua Sahi dressed up as Guru Nanak vesha recently. ‘It’s our tradition to dress up as Guru Nanak vesha from Dalua Sahi in the Thakurani festival,’ said Ranjan Mohanty of the locality.
‘The community vesha like Guru Nanak, Budhist monk, priests and the
Hindu characters as the secularism and brotherhood in the festival,’
said Hrusikesh Panigrahy, a folk dance research scholar, who works at
All India Radio, Berhampur.
Even though the experts could not specify the origins of the vesha system in
Thakurani yatra, but they said the number of participants is increasing every festival.
‘Almost all veshas are closely related to the goddess and they dress up in that form to appease the Goddess,’ said Durga Prasad Desibehera, who dressed up as as the father of the Goddess.