Berhampur to host Buddhi Thakurani Yatra from April 4 to May 1
The biennial festival of Buddhi Thakurani, known as ‘Thakurani Yatra,’ will take place in Berhampur from April 4 to May 1. The festival dates were decided by the Yatra Management Committee at the house of Desi Behera P Durga Prasad, Chief of Dera community, as suggested by Byomokoti Basudev Sashtri Sidhanti.
The last biennial festival of Buddhi Thakurani was observed for only seven days in April 2021 due to Covid regulations. However, in 2019, the festival was observed for 32 days from March 29. Buddhi Thakurani is considered the daughter of Desi Behera, and the deity stays with her father’s family during the entire ‘Yatra’ period.
Preparations for the festival began on March 17 when Subha Khunti (auspicious post) was installed at Desi Behera Sahi. Desi Behera held discussions with Vasudeva Sastry Sidhanti, the traditional astrologer, who announced the date for the ‘Yatra.’ Desi Behera and others from Desi Behera Street went to the Goddess’ temple in a procession to bring ‘Subha Khunti.’ Desi Behera P Durga Prasad sought the cooperation of everybody for smooth conduct of the festival.
Historians believe that the cult of Buddhi Thakurani originated around 1672 AD, along with the emergence of Berhampur town. The Telugu Lingayat Dera (weaver) community, who came to Mahuri on the invitation of Raja Saheb of Mahuri to take up their profession of weaving, started their ‘Ghata Yatra’ (Pot Festival) for highlighting the divinity of Mahamayee Thakurani of his capital town Berhampur.
The Department of Tourism and Culture, Odisha, recognised ‘Thakurani Yatra’ in Berhampur as the sixth State festival. The other festivals are ‘Dhanu Yatra’ in Bargarh, ‘Parab’ in Koraput, ‘Mukteswar’ and ‘Rajarani’ in Bhubaneswar and ‘Konark Festival’ in Konark.
During ‘Thakurani Yatra,’ the Silk City is flooded with people dressed in mythological characters such as Krishna, Balaram, Radha, Rama, Sita, Hanuman, Siva, Parvati, and Durga who move around lanes in the town on cycle, bike or foot. The ‘Beshas’ are not confined to mythological characters; some others dress like social and folk dance characters. Even some dress like sorceress, police, doctor and political leaders before reaching the temporary abode of the goddess. The traditional Bagha Nacha’ or tiger dance is the main attraction during the ‘Yatra.’