Sital Sasthi 2024: Sambalpur gears up for grand celebrations amid sweltering heat

Prameyanews English

Published By : Prameya News Bureau | June 07, 2024 IST

Sambalpur, June 7: As the auspicious Sital Sasthi festival approaches, residents of Sambalpur are abuzz with excitement, despite the scorching temperatures. The festival, which commemorates the divine marriage of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati, is set to be a week-long cultural extravaganza, featuring the participation of around 7,000 artists from Odisha, neighboring states, and abroad.

 

The festivities has already commenced on June 6 with various rituals, culminate in the celestial union of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati on June 10. The grand homecoming procession of the divine couple will commence on the night of June 11, attracting millions of devotees.


Today the traditional 'Patra Pendi' ritual, observed with great fervor and joy by the Nandapada Sital Sasthi Jatra Committee at Balunkeswar temple in the city. This ritual, akin to a formal proposal in a wedding ceremony, symbolizes the search for a bride by the parents of Lord Shiva, who then extend a formal proposal to the bride's parents for marriage.

 

This year, Ram Charan Mishra of Nandapada assumes the role of the father of Balunkeswar Baba, while Sumanta Panda and his wife Nitipriya Devi of Charbhati in Sambalpur city are selected by the committee to portray the parents of Goddess Parvati. In accordance with tradition, Balunkeswar Baba is ceremoniously escorted in a procession, accompanied by the resounding echoes of conches and the rhythmic beats of gongs, to the residence of Sumanta Panda, where the 'Patra Pendi' ritual takes place.

 

Following the culmination of the ritual, the 'Deba Nimantran' ceremony of Balunkeswar Baba is scheduled for today. During this ritual, invitations are extended to various gods and goddesses in different temples across the town, along with members of the public, marking the inclusive spirit of the festivities.

 

The joint coordination committee of the Sital Sasthi Yatra revealed plans for an enhanced celebration this year, with the Nandapara, Jharuapara, and Mudipara committees collectively allocating over Rs 1.20 crore for the festival. 
 

Notably, the Nandapara committee aims to spend Rs 40-50 lakh, engaging over 2,500 artists, while the Jharuapara committee has earmarked Rs 42-45 lakh for the participation of around 2,300 artists, including renowned kirtan performers from Bhopal.

 

Similarly, the Mudipara committee has allocated Rs 35-40 lakh for the festival, inviting over 2,500 artists, including a troupe from Sri Lanka. Despite concerns over the sweltering heat, organizers are implementing preventive measures to safeguard the artists from sunstroke.

 

While challenges persist, the spirit of Sital Sasthi remains undiminished among the people of Sambalpur, as they eagerly anticipate the vibrant celebrations ahead.

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