Pradeep Pattanayak

Festive fervour has already gripped Khairagura and Kumuria villages in Bolangir district, as ‘Sulia Jatra’, one of the famous festivals of tribals, will be observed on Tuesday. 

With only a few hours left for the festival to begin, the preparations for the carnival are in their last stages at Khairagura and Kumuria villages.  
On Monday, prior to the festival, an important ritual of worshipping traditional weapons was performed amidst the reverberating sound of beating of ‘panchabadya’.
Tuesday midnight, a ritual called ‘Nishipuja’ will be performed. Tribals displaying their traditional weapons will take out a procession on Tuesday morning and it will culminate at the special designated festival site.

Since it has been a tradition to sacrifice animals and birds at the altar during the festival, it is expected that the custom may be followed this time as well. 
At the same time, the administration has made elaborate arrangements to ensure the observance of the festival in accordance with Covid-19 guidelines. 
While four platoons of police force have been deployed at the festival ground, all those who will take part in the festival like priests and servitors have been subjected to RT-PCR test. 

Chief priest of Sanakhala Harihaar Jhankar said that the tradition of sacrificing animal and bird at the shrine will be performed as usual.  
When asked about preparations, Sub-Collector of Bolangir, Lambodara Dharua said all steps have been taken to ensure the festival is observed with Covid-19 guidelines. RT-PCR tests have been conducted on the priests and their associates.