Berhampur, April 28 (Localwire): As the month-long Thakurani yatra draws to an end, the streets of Berhampur are packed with tens and thousands of devotees, while some are donning the costumes of mythological characters, others have painted their bodies orange with tiger stripes.
Some participants were also seen donning costumes of Lord Krishna, Lord Shiva and Lord Hanuman riding bicycles, or walking in a procession.
People also emulate the mythological character of “Vesha” in the final phase of the yatra, celebrated to mark Goddess Budhi Thakurani’s visit to her father’s house.
The festival, from March 29 to April 29, kick-started with a massive procession and fanfare. During the festival, the city is lit up with colourful lights and decorated with flowers.
“I have dressed my seven-year old girl as Sri Krishna since my mother had a manashika for her welfare,” said Babual Panigrahi, a city resident.
“The Goddess has helped in my son’s recovery, so we he have come here to participate in the rituals. We have also dressed our son as Lord Krishna’s wife Radha,” said Ranjita Mishra, a resident of Baragarh.
Not only mythological characters, people also transform themselves into local folk heroes like “Pila-khai dahani” and “Babaji”.
The traditional art and craft have also come alive during the festival, as they find expressions on the chariots of different deities and art exhibits set up at various locations.
The colourful chariots, “Kalakunja” art and story-telling are major attractions during the festival.
The “Kalakunja” art work of wing commander Abhinanda’s return to India from Pakistan jail has been a major attraction in the festival, said an organizer.
The chariots and Kalakunja art work are installed at different localities since last several years to draw crowds, said Pradeep Mohapatra, former head of Berhampur University’s journalism department.
“We have been exhibiting the Jwalamukhi idol since 1939,” said Tarini Sahu, one of the organizers of the chariot at Kalu Patra Sahi. He said the idol was made of neem wood by an artist from Andhra Pradesh.
“Story-telling as an art form is popular in eastern India, particularly in West Bengal,” said P.K. Das, former principal of the Government Art and Craft College, Khallikote.
The biannual Thakurani Yatra will come to an end on Monday.