Berhampur: The biennial Thakurani Jatra of Silk City Berhampur will begin tonight with the ‘subha khunti’ or sacred pole installed by the chief or Desi Behera of the Dera or weaver community. The festival revolves around welcoming the deity Budhi Thakurani to her parental abode.
As per legend the Dera community chief used to collect flowers and offer it to the Goddess everyday. Once on a Chaitra Tuesday night he heard a girl crying on the road near his veranda. When he enquired why she was crying, the girl in a black saree replied that she lost her way to her father’s house. The kind Dera chief asked her to take rest at his house as she was like his daughter. The young lady then suddenly disappeared in the nearby bushes.
Next morning when he offered a Hibiscus flower to the Thakurani, the flower fell down after every attempt. A voice resounded saying, ‘As your daughter how can I receive prayer or offerings from a father?’ The Thakurani told him to go home and requested him to appoint the person he saw first on the way to home as the priest. The chief returned home and saw a barber first. From that day the barbers are the priests of Buddhi Thakurani. The Goddess later told the chief “I am your daughter. I will visit my father’s house every two alternative years for a particular period and return to my temple”. Thus the tradition goes on.
“This tradition of welcoming the deity as our family’s daughter is age old and hereditary. We are all set to to welcome her home again after two years,” said Desi Behera P Durga Prasad.
The schedule of the event which is anywhere between one and half to two months long will be finalised after the sacred pole is set up and the almanac will be referred.