Berhampur: Take a walk on the streets of Berhampur and you are likely to spot Hanuman riding pillion on a bike or Lord Krishna walking along the pavements. You might even spot Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati mingling with crowds of shoppers in the city’s bazaars, while his followers dance in the streets.
At present, the famous biannual Thakurani Yatra is being celebrated in the Silk City and mythological characters, or rather regular people in the ‘vesha’ (disguise) of gods and goddesses flood the street these days. The yatra is observed to mark the visit of Goddess Budhi Thakurani, the presiding deity of the town, from the temple to her father’s house at Desbehera Street here.
Residents of the town, across age-groups, dress themselves in costumes akin to characters from mythology and use body paint and other accessories to look like them. Then they roam about the streets during the festival period as part of a ‘manashika’ (votive) offering to the gods. People do not dress only as mythological characters during the yatra but also like some social and folk dance characters.
At the end the ‘Chitralaya’ owners smile a lot as they rake in lot of money during the festival. In the city, there are 15 ‘Chitralayas’ which get flooded with ‘manashikadharis’.