Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Sambalpur, May 19:
With patarpendi ritual (engagement ceremony) of Nandapada’s Bombarad Balukeswar Baba (Lord Shiva) held on Monday began the process for the famous Sitalsasthi Yatra (marriage of Lord Shiva with Goddess Parvati) in the western Odisha town of Sambalpur.
‘Nrusingha Niuta’ (sending of invitation to gods for the celestial wedding) of Bombarad Balukeswar Baba for his wedding with Mother Parvati will be held today.
However, the Yatra committees of Jhaduapada, Mudipada, Badabazaar and Thaurpada will hold patarpendi rituals tomorrow.
With the Sitalsasthi Yatra in the offing, hijras (transgender) have descended on the town in large numbers from both inside and outside the state. They are the other special attraction of the festival.
After completion of puja on Monday evening at Nandapada Bombarad Balukeswar Baba’s temple in keeping with the tradition the groom’s father (Murari Mishra) accompanied by elders of the enclave, yatra committee members and Saptarushi (seven learned Brahmins) embarked on a journey in search of a bride for his son (Bombarad Balukeswar Baba).
To the beats of Dul -duli (traditional drums), hijras, locally known as rangas, performed colourful dances in front of the procession that went up to Mohantypada from Nandapada. From here, the members of the procession boarded vehicles and drove up to Sasan.
On arrival at Sasan, they again moved in a procession from the Kalyan Mandap to the house of bride’s parents- Dr Ashok Nanda and Bijaylaxmi Nanda.
Groom’s father (Murari Mishra of Nandapada) completed the patarpendi ritual (engagement ceremony) of his son (Bombarad Balukeswar Baba) by offering a sargi leaf to bride’s father Dr Ashok Nanda.