BERHAMPUR: With the biennial, month-long Buddhi Thakurani Yatra nearing its final phase, the festive fervour among people has reached its zenith. The yatra, which began on March 29, sees the goddess leaving the main temple and residing in a makeshift temple at Desibehera street.
The festival marks appeasement of the goddess with devotees thronging the city. Devotees also dress up as mythological characters providing Chitralaya owners a lucrative opportunity to do business. The “Bagha Bhesa” or ‘tiger dance’ is one of the main attractions of Thakurani Yatra.
Devotees, who had taken a vow of “Bagha Bhesa,” are painted by a particular section of artists. The tradition of “Bagha Besha” is as old as the yatra itself, said Iswar Das, who has learnt the technique of tiger-painting from his father Ulla Das.Ulla has been involved in tiger-painting for more than four decades. He has been also providing training on ‘tiger dance.’
“I am in the business for the last one decade and along with my father, I have formed a group of 12 people engaged in ‘tiger painting’ during Thakurani Yatra,” said Ram Tanti, another artist.“Dressing up as a tiger costs around `9,000. The cost includes ‘changu players.’ The painting itself costs `4,000,” he said. Usually, ‘Bagha Bhesa’ begins in the evening and the devotees perform ‘tiger dance’ throughout the night. They remove the paint only after worshipping the goddess.
However, due to restrictions, the duration of dance has been reduced till midnight. The festival also sees a surge in sale of CDs and audio cassettes on devotional songs. As per the tradition, devotees, clad in fancy attires, visit seven houses of their relatives or families known to them to get alms. The yatra will end on April 29.