Pilgrims and scholars from across the country will come together this Sunday to kick off the second Ugratara Cultural Festival in Saharsa district.
Planning and development minister Narendra Narayan Yadav will inaugurate the two-day festival organised in Mahishi block, around 200km northeast of Patna. Among the attractions at the event is a seminar on Mithila culture where scholars would discuss the need to promote the heritage of the region and make people aware about eighth century philosopher Mandan Mishra.
Mahishi is the birthplace of Mishra, a contemporary of Adi Shankaracharya.
This year, the tourism department and the Saharsa district administration is organising the festival with funds of Rs 25 lakh.
“We expect at least 10,000 people to attend the Ugratara festival. Arrangements have been made for the accommodation and travel of the outstation guests. Security has also been beefed up,” said Shashi Bhushan Kumar, district magistrate, Saharsa.
Pramil Kumar Mishra, vice-president, Shri Ugratara Mata Mandir Nyas Samiti, Mahishi, said: “The attraction of this year’s Ugratara festival would be a national seminar — ‘Ugratara, Bharti Mandan and Mithila culture’ — on the second day. Noted Bhojpuri singers Malini Awasthi and Kalpana Tapowari would regale the audience in the evenings.”
“There is a need to include topics related to Mandan Mishra and his works in the syllabus of at least the universities in this region. Steps should be taken for the development and promotion of Mithila culture. Ugratara temple and Mahishi are mostly known for their religious significance but they should be promoted as a historical place,” said one of the speakers, Pankaj Kumar Mishra, Sanskrit faculty member, St Stephen’s College.