Rural Maharashtra is widely known to its people as the abode of its various regional gods and the colorful vivid celebration related to them. These celebrations are done annually to different villages by the regional communities or dwellers to pay their reverence to their family deities, which are commonly known as JATRA. VitthalBirdevJatra of Pattankodoli is probably the most colorful, decorative and sacred among those all. This festival is also one of the most prominent among the GOLDEN TRIOBHANDARA FESTIVAL of Maharashtra.
Birdev or Birudev is worshiped by the Dhangar communities of the states mainly in Maharashtra, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, and Goa as their family god who is considered as the mythological reincarnation of Lord Shiva. Dhangar is mainly the shepherd community who live by herding domestic animals, especially ship and goat. They are nomadic in nature and can be identified easily with the three yardsticks…Kada (iron bangle), Ghongadi(blanket made of raw sheep wool) and Kathi (the long stick) along with their stout postures and stark features with feta(headgear) on top.
The annual Jatra of Lord Birdev is celebrated in a small village named PATTANKODOLI near Kolhapur, Maharashtra to commemorate the birth anniversary of Lord Birdev every year few days after Dussehra. Followers and devotees from all the adjacent states gather here to celebrate a lifetime experience. Lord Vitthal, another very prominent god of the region is worshipped together who is believed to be the reincarnation of Lord Krishna himself. The juxtaposition of these two gods reminds us of the co-existence of Lord Krishna and Balaram of the mythology which it is seemed to be derived from. The celebration is marked by throwing golden yellow turmeric powder all around. The entire place gets reverberated with the faith of holy chant and layers of turmeric dust.
The most prominent part of the event is announcing the decree of fortune of the nearby States by an enormously respected person named KelobaRajabhauWagmore(Farande Baba), who starts from his distant village Anjungaon of Sholapur for Pattankodoli by naked feet on the day of Dussera. He reaches Pattankodoli on the 7th day maintaining complete fast. Visiting the god in the temple only he breaks his fast and places himself on the altar made for him in the temple premise. The program is celebrated for 7 long days. In the pivotal day, the visitors are greeted by the local devotees with a local drink called OMBIL. Traditional music coupled with devotional songs called DHANGARI OVI is performed on the street everywhere.
Farande Baba comes out of his place and leads to the main temple. Millions of followers follow and accompany him with colorful big traditional umbrellas called CHABINA. The crowd gets rejuvenated and excited all of a sudden. Baba encircles the temple with his followers and then enters it while performing the most fabulous HEDAM dance. Entering the temple he pronounces the prophecy in a typical Kannad dialect. Temple priest gets the notes translated for all. It is said that 90% of those prophecies done by Baba towards the rainfall, crops, weather, and economy of those villages get proved true. Colorful umbrella, traditional drums, music, and dance convert the place into a perfect traditional extravaganza. Baba again leaves the place when the celebration gets over to reach his native place after the 7thday.
About Arun Saha
Arun Saha, the founder and President of the international photography club FOTORBIT INDIA, has worked successfully for 16 years in the field of Cine, Aerial and ground photography with Indian Air Force. His academic qualification is adorned with a Master Degree in both English Literature and Journalism & Mass Communication along with the professional Diploma in Photography.
He has been awarded many national and international gold medals which includes PSA(Photographic Society of America), FIAP (FédérationInternationale de l’ArtPhotographique, Paris), IUP (International Union of Photographers, China) and RPS (Royal Photographic Society, Great Britain). He was the performance award winner in HPA(Humanitarian Photography Award) 2017. His photographic works have been exhibited in more than 25 different countries worldwide. He has been conferred with international distinction EFIAP (“Excellence FIAP”) by FIAP, Paris. Now he works as a photographic mentor to the various national and international photographers and as visiting lecturer of photography for various institutions and universities. Portrait, travel, people, documentary and journalism photography is his forte & passion.
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