BALANGIR: The demand for direct bus communication from Puri to Patali Srikhetra Sonepur is gathering steam ahead of the Sunia festival. People of Balangir have pitched in with their counterparts of Sonepur for the long pending demand.
Sunia festival is celebrated in Bhadrabh month of Odia calendar as the Odia New Year by some communities. The day is also observed as Vamana Jayanti - the day when Lord Vishnu appeared in Vamana (dwarf) incarnation.
The festival is of great importance to Puri where thousands of devotees throng. The festival is also celebrated with much fanfare in Western Odisha districts on the same day.
Researcher Purusottam Mishra said Patali Srikhetra has significant historical importance. It is believed that Lords Jagannath and Bhalabhadra and Devi Subhadra were kept hidden in the caves of Trikut hill near Sonepur for 144 years following the invasion of Raktavahu.
A local Ghasiram Panda said despite the historical importance of Sonepur, communication link to Puri still eludes the residents. The Tourism Department needs to provide bus services to Puri at the earliest, he added.
Similar demands were made by the residents of Balangir. Secretary of Srota Swati Sahitya Sanskruti Gabesana Parishad Sandip Kumar Kuanr said direct communication from Patali Srikhetra and Harishankar to Puri is the need of the hour keeping in mind the upcoming Sunia festival.
The State Government should take necessary steps in this regard, he added.