CUTTACK: It is common knowledge that the Hindu festivals are celebrated across the State with religious fervour and grandeur. But, to add more colour to the celebration, particular places celebrate a festival in its own inimitable way. Come Ram Navami and Mallipur village of Nischintakoili block in Cuttack district turns the cynosure of all eyes.
The 11-day festival starts from the day of Rama Navami and ends with the Rama Abhishek. Offering a plethora of cultural activities, Mallipur turns a pilgrimage for the people of nearby villages and towns during the celebration.
The celebration is particularly marked by stage shows called Jatra which are dominated by episodes from Balmiki Ramayan. Sita Bibaha, Banabasa, Sita Harana, Bali-Badha, Nagafasa Bandhan and Ravan Maran are other interesting episodes performed during the period.
The Jatra here is famous for strict adherence to the tradition on the part of artistes unlike other places where Ramalila is diluted with commercial elements. All the artistes, called Suangis, have been performing hereditarily. They lead a pious life so far as food and conduct is concerned during these 11 days. An interesting feature of the Jatra is that none of the participants delivers any dialogue. They only enact their roles physically.
The story of Ramayan is recited in the form of poetry by a person from a corner of the stage which is called ‘Bachanika’. The music accompanying the recital of Bachanika is simple and aided by only Pakhawaja and Gini. However, Dhola and Mahuri are used during the dance of Ravan.
All the artistes have to wear traditional dresses and are painted with water colour all over the body during the performance. Particular forms of dance follow along family lines.
The day of Chaitrapurnami is the most auspicious day when the famous Danda Yatra is celebrated along with exquisite fireworks.
On the Chaitrpurnima night, Lord Raghunath, the presiding deity of Mallipur, comes in a grand procession to Dadhibamanjew temple at Koilo. On the occasion, Lord Dadhibamana takes the form of Sri Ram and waits for Lord Raghunath without taking his ‘Niti Bhoga’. After Raghunath’s arrival, both exchange their Niti Bhoga and gifts. Another attraction of the festival, particularly favoured by the young people, is the dance of ‘Kalika’ and ‘Yogini’. The dancers of Kalika and Yogni sway wildly to the tune of Raga ‘Malashree’ played by Dhola and Mahuri.