Chhatar Jatra of Maa Manikeswari

Chhatar Jatra or Chhatar Yatra (Odia: ଛତର ଯାତ୍ରା) is a traditional festival celebrated by the people of Kalahandi District, Orissa, India. The festival involves Maa Manikeswari (ମାଣିକେଶ୍ୱରୀ), the family goddess of the Kalahandi King's family.

Maa Manikeswari is the prominent presiding goddess of the Kalahandi district. The temple of the goddess is situated within the boundary of the ex-rulers of Kalahandi so that the rulers could observe the auspicious festival Chhatra Jatra, which has been transformed and is now known as Chatar Jatra.

Maa Manikeswari Temple is decorated with flowers and Muruja (Rangoli) for Chhatar Jatra 2021

How, When and Where?

Chhatra Jatra or Chatar Jatra or Chatar Yatra are meant to celebrate the Vijaya Utsav with a cheerful heart and splendid display. The festival is being celebrated during the Mahastami of Durga Puja festival. The ritual practice of Khonds (Adivasis of Kalahandi Districts) Nabakalevar (the renewal of post-worship) is also performed during the festival.

Chatar Jatra is mainly celebrated in the district headquarter of Kalahandi, Bhawanipatna though Thuamul Rampur, Jugasaipatna and Bhawanipatna, all three places are famous for Maa Manikeswari temple.

ChhatarJatra of Maa Manikeswar Temple, Bhawanipatna, Kalahandi

Maa Manikeswari comes out from the Garbhagriha on Mahastami midnight to Jenakhal which is at about 3 km distance from the alma mater. The Jatra starts with Nagar Paribhramana on Mahanavami's (Mahastami at Pooja Pandals) auspicious morning. A bamboo covered with black cloth represents Maa Manikeswari in the Jatra, and at the top, on a silver plate, Dasamahavidya Yantra is installed which represents the Tantric Hinduism. To please maa Manikeswari, a tribal dance is performed, which is known as Ghumura Dance. Ghumura is a traditional dance and a heritage of the Kalahandi district. It is a dance performed with the traditional instrument Ghumura Veer Badya. The dancers tie the Ghumura (badya/instrument) on their shoulders and hang it tight on their chest. 

Chhatar Jatra of Maa Manikeswari

Animal sacrifice is prevalent in this festival. Though the government has strictly banned these kinds of activities, still devotees don't follow the rule. About 50,000 animal sacrifices take place in this festival.

I've collected some photographs by the local friends with the help of an Admin of GCEK Today, a Facebook page of Government College of Engineering Kalahandi, Bhawanipatna.

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