Bhawanipatna: Celebration of ‘Nuakhai’, the main agrarian festival of western Odisha, started in Kalahandi amid much pomp and gaiety on Thursday. In a slight deviation from the rest of the western Odisha, where the festival kicked off five days ago, people in Kalahandi are celebrating their most awaited festival today.
As part of the ritual and in strict adherence to the ‘Subha Lagna’ or auspicious time fixed by the priests of Manikeshwari temple earlier, ‘Nabanna’ or porridges made out of newly harvested rice was offered to the deity in a secret ritual at 8.15 AM sharp in the morning. Later, the offering was distributed among the deities starting from 9 AM after the temple doors were thrown open for darshan. People took ‘Nabanna’ at their respective houses between 9.15 AM and 11.45 AM.
Following the offering of ‘Nabanna’, festive fervour gripped areas like Bhawanipatna, Lanjigarh, Thuamul Rampur, Madanpur-Rampur, Jaipatna and Karlapat in the district.
Notably, Nuakhai is celebrated in Kalahandi on the 10th day of lunar fortnight (Shukla Pakshya) of the Odia calendar month of Bhadrab every year. However, the agrarian festival is celebrated in the rest of western Odisha five days in advance on the fifth day of the lunar fortnight.