Thousands of people are congregating at the Desibehera street in Berhampur to witness the biennial Budhi Thakurani Yatra.
Budhi Thakurani, the presiding deity of Silk City, reached her temporary abode at Desibehera Street on Friday and would return to her main temple on the last day of the yatra on April 29.
To welcome the Goddess, a temporary 11-foot tall temple is constructed by hereditary craftsmen using casuarina logs and leaves. At the west-side of the temple a pedestal or the Simhasan is constructed to accommodate the Goddess.
According to historians the preparations for the festival start from Shivratri.
The Desibehera (barber) goes to the Thakurani temple in the city and invites the Goddess for the festival. He also gets the Shubha Khunti or holy mast from the temple which is put in front of his house.
As per the tradition on the day of start of festival Desibehera’s wife goes to the Thakurani temple with floral offerings. The offered flower, which falls from the head of the deity, is then brought back as the representative of the deity to the makeshift temple and is put in a ‘ghatam’ along with eight other ‘ghatams’.
On the last day, the ‘ghatams’ return to the main temple in a large procession. During the celebrations all the streets of Berhampur wear a new look and people dressed in mythological characters move around the streets leaving behind a trail of religiousness in every nook and cranny.
The people dressed in mythological characters add zest to the festival. Earlier, the persons dressed as mythological characters had to beg from seven houses and offer whatever they collected at the Thakurani temple. Now it more of an easy income for the unemployed, said an octogenerian.
This year, the district administration has deployed 11 platoons of police force and installed close circuit cameras in wake of the large crowd.