Diwali is a unique celebration in Odisha. Here, the ‘Festival of Lights’ is not just limited to customary bursting of crackers and exchange of lip-smacking sweets, but also accompanied by Kali Puja and the ritualistic ceremony of ‘Badabadua Daka’. The celebrations are special in the Millennium City of Cuttack, Coastal town of Bhadrak and the very-popular Pilgrim Town of Puri.
At Cuttack, festivity is a never-ending affair during this part of the year. Just a fortnight after Durga Puja, the city braces up for Kali Puja that coincides with Diwali, a celebration of victory of good over evil. Keeping up with the saying ‘Baara Mase Tera Parba’ (13 Festivals in 12 Months of A Year), people of Cuttack celebrate Kali Puja and Diwali with much fervour and gaiety. Although the celebrations are not as grand as Durga Puja, the revelers are no less enthusiastic.
The Kali Puja here is over 500-years-old and it is believed that Bengalis brought this tradition to Cuttack during the 16th century. This year, around 70-odd puja committees are worshipping Kali, another form of Goddess Durga.
Three jets of blood spurt out of her bleeding neck and are drunk by her severed head and two other attendants. Instead of standing on Lord Shiva, the Goddess steps over an embracing man and woman on a lotus.
Likewise, Puri witnesses a grand gathering on the day of Diwali as people observe ‘Badabadua Daka’ to pay obeisance to their ancestors. In the unique ritual, people gather outside the 12th century Jagannath temple and burn jute sticks (known as Kaunriya Kathi in local parlance) inviting their ancestors to descend from heaven on Diwali and bless them. The burning of jute sticks is accompanied by a prayer ‘Badabadua Ho Andhaare Aasa, Aalua Re Jao (Ancestors, come in darkness and go back along the lighted path). With thousands of bundles of jute sticks being lighted on the day, the Grand Road in front of the Jagannath temple offers a beautiful spectacle.
Diana Sahu writes at her blog Trips to Roads Less Travelled
Journalist with The New Indian Express I Curious Traveller I Blogger I Photographer. Passionate about de-mystifying the world of travel, my interest areas are monumental heritage and eco-tourism. Different cultures and cuisines fascinate me.