The Telegraph
Wednesday , October 5 , 2011
Since 1st March, 1999
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Puri gets festive with Gosanis

Bhubaneswar, Oct. 4: Different from the glitter and glamour of Dussehra in urban areas, Puri is celebrating the festival in the traditional way. All the lanes of the holy town, locally know as sahis, are bustling with devotees of the presiding goddesses, who are being worshipped as Gosanis during Durga puja.

Known as Gosani Jatra, this festival is celebrated by invoking the local goddesses, who are believed to be different manifestations of goddess Durga.

Almost all sahis in the city have their presiding goddesses.

The idols of these Gosanis are specially decorated for this festival. The goddess is depicted to be in a rage and winning in the battle over Mahisasura, the demon with a buffalo head.

The vivid idols of the goddess are usually coloured yellow while the demon is painted in green or blue.

Mostly named after plants, the goddesses worshipped during Gosani Jatra are Kakudikhai, Janhikhai, Jani Mundia, Gelabai, Sunya Gosani, Barabati and so on.

Each is decorated with special accessories and weapons and pose in different postures. The clay idols are decorated by a backdrop especially made of sola and zari adornments and crafts.

Miniatures of animals, birds and toys are depicted alongside the deity in the backdrop. “An ancient tradition, Gosani jatra has been observed for centuries in the sahis of the city.

“It is believed to have been initiated by the first Ganga king, Choda Ganga Deva, who began the ritual of shakti puja or ishana puja following the instructions of a tantric guru, Nitei Dhobini,” says Jagannath culture scholar Pandit Surya Narayan Rathsharma.

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