Danda Nacha or the Danda Jatra forms a rich folk and religious tradition of Ganjam district in Odisha. The 21-day festival of penance to appease Lord Shiva and Goddess Kali concludes every year on Maha Bishuba Sankranti. Know more about the festival as we take you through some pictures from the festival in Bhanjanagar of Ganjam.
By: Devbrat Patnaik
Last updated: 14 April 2022, 03:38 PM IST
Participants of Danda Nacha are called ‘Danduas’ or ‘Bhoktas’ and the leader is called ‘Pata Bhokta’. They perform Dhuli Danda, Pani Danda and Agni Danda, which means midday summer dances in hot sun, in the dust and that in the ponds in the evening besides midnight walk on fire.
The closing day is known as ‘Meru’ which is observed on the day of Maha Bishuba Sankranti. The day also coincides with Hanuman Jayanti, Pana Sankranti and Odia New Year.
In all these 21 days, Danduas remain away from their homes and wear a sacred thread. On ‘Meru’, Pata Bhokta who is inside Kali temple for 21 days comes out, and is made to walk on burning coals before he is hung upside down on a pole till a few drops of blood ooze out from his nostrils and fall on yajna pit. After this, the danduas go to the temple to pay obeisance to the Goddess.