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Dhenkanal: Bhuban’s “Bullock Festival (Balada Yatra) Low key Affair This Year

 Bhuban,Dhenkanal(FASTMAIL) - Bhuban, which is the largest village in the Asia Continent, situated in Kamakhayanagar subdivision in Dhenkanal district has become famous for its annual bullock festival (Balada Yatra).

The place attracts several thousands of people during Dussehra time, particularly on the day of Vijaya Dashmi to witness the world famous  bullock festival (Balada Yatra).

The locals said, on the day of Vijayadashami, Bullocks are being taken in a procession decorated with beads, furs and  colorful saddles. This festival of bullocks organized by both Thoria and Baladia bania community, couldn’t be found elsewhere in the world, according to the villagers.

Pabitra Mohan Sahoo, the chief of Thoria community told TOI,"This Bullock festival of Bhuban has a special identity. Every year this bullock festival is being celebrated in grand manner  but since last year the celebrations have become a low key affair due to the pandemic. This year we are celebrating the yatra amid Covid-19 guide lines”.

 Every year on the day of Vijay Dashami the bullocks are decorated and taken in a procession in Bhuban,he said, adding every year more than 30-40 bullocks takes part in the procession but this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic only two bullocks were allowed to take part  in the procession”.

Likewise, every year there is a 2-day bullock festival in Bhuban on Vijaya Dashmi and Ekadashi. But past two years one day bullock festival is allowed. only. The Ravana Podi festival has been completely closed. The idols worshiped in various mandapas are immersed in their own facilities.

The bullock festival or yatra which continues for two days this year it was celebrated for one day on Bijay Dashami. while the second day celebration on Ekadasi was not held due to COVID-19 protocol.

The thoria community people first worshipped at Chandi temple while the Baladia community people worshipped at Madanmohan temple. Then after finishing all rituals at jaganah temple they took out bullock procession or Balad yatra,according to villagers.



 He said that  in ancient days Bullocks were used for both transportation of the Thoria community and Baladia bania(goldsmith) community of Bhuban. These community people use Bullocks for the trade and business purposes in the past,he said.

These traders and businessmen used to travel miles to trade gold and silver jewelleries.Thus in order to pay respect and honor the bullocks, when these animals are not engaged in any work, they  were taken in a procession to the village gram devati for worship.

Nanda Kishore Sahoo,the chief of Baladia community said that the bullocks are attired with ornaments, beads and bells in their neck with colorful velvet saddles in their back were taken in a procession by the people of the Thoria and Baladia community for the worship at Gramadevi(Village Goddess).

”Though each year the bullocks on the second day were taken in a procession to worship goddess Banijari(Gramadevi) ,this year the bullocks didn’t go there due to Corona protocol”,he said.

He said, "Though the procession starts with full blown music, the bullocks never get disturbed either due to the music or noise during the procession which covers  around 4 to 5 kilometers long and runs the whole night”.

 The procession starts around 6 PM and goes till the next day morning. But this year the procession was completed in the midnight as two bullocks took part in the procession.

The festtival became a mass festival for the people of Bhuban now with each of the family and people of these community are involved in this festival, he added.

Bhuban is the birth place of Sahid Baji Rout where people celebrate dussehra where bullock festival or balada yatra with main attraction of the four day long festival .

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