Buddhi Thakurani Yatra in Berhampur from April 4 to May 1
The biennial festival of Buddhi Thakurani, popularly known as ‘Thakurani Yatra,’ will commence here from April 4 and continue till May 1.
The last biennial festival of Buddhi Thakurani was observed for only seven days from April 9, 2021 midnight and the district administration advised everybody to abide by Covid regulations. The festival was observed for 32 days in 2019 from March 29. Buddhi Thakurani is considered as the daughter of Desi Behera and the deity stays with her father's family during the entire 'Yatra' period.
Preparations for the festival commenced at Desi Behera Sahi after Subha Khunti (auspicious post) was installed on March 17 midnight. Earlier, Desi Behera held discussions with Vasudeva Sastry Sidhanti, the traditional astrologer, who announced the date for the 'Yatra.' Desi Behera and others from Desi Behera Street went to the Goddess' temple in a procession to bring 'Subha Khunti.' Desi Behera P Durga Prasad sought the cooperation of everybody for smooth conduct of festival.
Historians say the cult of Buddhi Thakurani originated along with the emergence of Berhampur town around 1672 AD. Telugu Lingayat Dera (weaver) community, who came to Mahuri on the invitation of Raja Saheb of Mahuri to take up their profession of weaving, started their 'Ghata Yatra' (Pot Festival) for highlighting the divinity of Mahamayee Thakurani of his capital town Berhampur.
The Department of Tourism and Culture, Odisha, recognised 'Thakurani Yatra' in Berhampur as the sixth State festival. The other festivals are 'Dhanu Yatra' in Bargarh, 'Parab' in Koraput, 'Mukteswar' and 'Rajarani' in Bhubaneswar and 'Konark Festival' in Konark. During 'Thakurani Yatra', the Silk City is flooded with people dressed in mythological characters such as Krishna, Balaram, Radha, Rama, Sita, Hanuman, Siva, Parvati, Durga and move around lanes in the town in cycle, bike or on foot.
The 'Beshas' are not confined to mythological characters. Some others dress like social and folk dance characters. Even some dress like sorceress, police, doctor and political leaders before reaching the temporary abode of the goddess. The traditional Bagha Nacha' or tiger dance is the main attraction during the 'Yatra.'