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Mrunal Manmay Dash

Berhampur: The famous biennial Budhi Thakurani Yatra in Berhampur was cleared for observance this year by the Ganjam district administration on Sunday.

Sources said, the festival was finally given a go ahead after a meeting in this connection was held at the Berhampur Municipal Corporation (BeMC) with the stakeholders including the Chief Manager of Maa Budhi Thakurani Yatra, MLA of Berhampur and the Commissioner of BeMC.

https://youtu.be/CMd7sRPuxvo

As per the agreement, the Subha Khunti’ (auspicious pillar), which marks the beginning of the Budhi Thakurani Yatra will be installed on Monday midnight, and the festival will commence.

The tenure of the carnival can further be extended after reviewing the COVID situation. "We have conveyed our concerns to the Yatra committee and they have also accepted the conditions. So it will be observed as per the tradition," said, BeMC Commissioner, Siddheswar Baliram Bonder.

"We have provided an initial clearance of seven days for continuing the Yatra, but we can extend it after reviewing the situation," he added.

Shedding more light on the meeting, the Puja Committee Manager, Desi Behera said, "We could not put the 'Subha Khunti' on March 19. Our traditional Guru fixed March 22 as another date for the auspicious occasion. I got a call from the Commissioner to attend the meeting in which it was unanimously agreed that the Yatra will be observed but with all the COVID guidelines on place."

It is pertinent to mention here that, while the priests were preparing for installing the ‘Subha Khunti’ on Friday night, Bonder had called off the festival after having a discussion with the chief organiser of the yatra.

In the meeting, Desi Behera informed the BeMC commissioner that the time period allotted them to conduct the rituals is not sufficient.

The usually month-long festival marks the journey of Goddess Budhi Thakurani, presiding deity of the Silk City, to her parental abode at Desi Behera Street. During the festival, people move around the streets dressed as mythological characters. The festival is basically celebrated by the local weaver community, known as Devangiris.

(Edited By Suryakant Jena)

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