Silk City celebrates Thakurani Yatra

Berhampur: People in this Silk City in Ganjam district have dressed up to look like mythological characters while celebrating the ongoing Thakurani Yatra since the last fortnight.

Some resemble Hanuman riding bi-cycles, while others dressed like Krishna, are seen walking the busy areas. Some others resemble Lord Shiva and Goddesses Parvati.

The biennial Thakurani Yatra is celebrated to mark the visit of Goddess Budhi Thakurani from the temple to her father's house at Desibehera Street. The festival, which began on April 5, will continue till April 29.

People of the town, irrespective of age, dress up as gods and goddesses. This is part of the "manashika" (avowed wish) they have made to the goddess earlier.

"I am dressed like Krishna as my mother had made a "manashika" to the goddess for my wellbeing," said 21-year old Raju, a computer engineering student.

The "Beshas" are not confined to mythological characters and several others are dressed like social and folk dance characters. Some even resemble witches, police, doctor and political leaders.

Programme head of All India Radio (Berhampur) Hrushikesh Panigrahi, who has done a research on the festival, said "Almost all 'Beshas' are closely related to the goddess to appease her", he said.

Social activists said some miscreants are cheating visitors in the town, dressed like police. "Police should keep a strict vigil on the activities of such people, because thousands of people arrive in the town to witness the yatra", said Sudhir Sabat, an activist.

"We have deployed adequate forces to maintain law and order", said a police officer. Besides, a temporary police outpost has been set up at Desibehera street and three more police aid centres have come up at differnt locations to help the visitors. Four CCTVs have also been installed at Desibehera street.