Govt to construct seven-storey building for Habisyali at Puri

Bhubaneswar: Odisha government today decided to build a seven-storey building in Puri town to house at least 2,000 women who perform “Habisa” (a ritual performed mostly by widows) in the holy month of Kartik.

The building would be built in Puri town at an investment of Rs 39 crore, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik today announced while laying foundation stone for the proposed multi-storyed building for the “Habisyali”, the women who perform the ritual.

Patnaik also instructed the officials to complete the building construction before next year’s Kartik month. This year, however, the “Habisyali” were housed by the Puri district administration in temporary camps.

The state government had last year launched the ‘Habisyali Brata Yojana’ to provide all facilities for the women performing the ritual.

Under the scheme, around 2,000 devotees, mostly elderly women, are provided free lodging, food, health and drinking water facilities.

Every year thousands of elderly women from across the state congregate in Puri and observe ‘Kartika Brata’ by worshipping the ‘Tulsi’ plant and visiting Lord Jagannath temple.

The women performing “Habisa” avoid eating vegetables like gourds, brinjal, a number of pulses and other leafy vegetables for the whole month.

The district administration will provide free food from the Jagannath Temple during the Karthik month under the scheme.

The government has also made provisions of transportation from the temporary shelters to the Jagannath Temple every day, official sources said.