Himansu Shekhar Rout

The holy month of Kartik will come to an end with the celebration of 'Kartik Purnima' (Full moon day) tomorrow. Thousands of habisyalis (women, most of them widows) from parts of Odisha have been observing month-long ‘habisha’ brata. 

As per tradition, they will also sail boats, either made of paper, plantain trunk or thermo cool, in water bodies and on the sea in Puri. They have started preparations for ‘Danga Bhasa’ (boat sailing) on Kartik Purnima on Monday.

On Sunday, the habisyalis were reportedly happy after having darshan of 'Laxmi Nrusingha Besa' (attire) of the deities on Baikuntha Chaturdashi. They are on their toes preparing for the boat sailing in the pilgrim town of Puri. 

The Holy town is now abuzz with crowds coming in hordes to observe Kartik Purnima by sailing boats on the sea. Small traders dealing with puja materials and boats are doing brisk business on the eve of the Kartik Purnima.

Habisyalis were seen thronging the roadside shops and stalls on the Bada Danda to buy various materials like paper boats, plantain trunks (traditionally used as boats), incense sticks, betel leaves, betel, incense sticks, flowers, bananas, cotton wicks, earthen lamps, or candles, which will be used for boat sailing on Kartik Purnima. 

As per reports, during the boat sailing, the ambiance near the water bodies and the shoreline will be reverberated with chanting of some lines: ‘Aa kaa maa boi, paana guaa thoi, paana guaa tora, maasaka dharama mora.” 

Talking to media about her preparation, an elderly woman, said, “I will put rice, fruits, green grams, plantain, arum, flowers, betel leaves, betel nuts. We will light an earthen lamp on the boat before setting it afloat on the sea.”

She added that in the holy month of Kartik, they (habisyalis) take a bath in the sea early in the morning and perform pujas around ‘chauras before having darshan of the deities in Srimandir.

Also read: Habisyalis Observe Kartika Brata In Puri

Pandit Padmanabh Tripathy, a servitor, dwelt on the preparation for Kartik Purnima.

Tripathy observed, “Neither Kalia Santa (referring to Lord Jaganath) nor His devotees will feel drowsy all through the night before Kartik Purnima. All will remain awake and will not know how night will usher in the holy dawn. The atmosphere that now prevails in Purusottam Kshetra is beyond words. The water bodies here and the shoreline of the sea will be thronged by lakhs of devotees and echoed with their chanting of ‘aa(the month sof asadha) kaa(the month of Karthik), maa(the month of Margashira) boi( the month of Baishakha)…” the age-old lines that are chanted while sailing boats.”

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