24 May 2018

Chakulia Panda - ଚକୁଳିଆ ପଣ୍ଡା

Chakulia panda is a sect of people from Odisha, an Indian state who are mostly found to live in the southern Odisha. The male members of this sect walk from door to door and recite religious poems, from early Odia literature and receive rice in return from the households and "suanga" (humorous plays).

A Chakulia panda would be seen putting a mark of white sandalwood on the forehead, carrying a "Chhatri" (palm leaf umbrella), and walking with a bag of rice on his shoulder singing songs. Offering rice to Chakulia panda is considered holier as compared to hundred Brahmins. They are heard reciting "Rama, Parasurama, Dasarathanandana Rama, Janakanandini Rama" while visiting houses. They never ask for alms during the entire course of his visit and accepts whatever is offered.  Slowly this cultural presentation is diminishing delimiting the visit of Chakulia panda to houses and of them losing their livelihood.

The story of Chakulia panda is narrated in many folktales in Odisha that have a satirical remark on the greedy nature of Chakulia panda while begging and the moral of him being punished by a deity. They are the most talked characters in Odia literature.

* All these photos are taken by Himashu Bhusana Jena.

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