| File picture of a Hanuman idol on the occasion of Lankapodi in Sonepur |
Sonepur, Aug. 25: Residents celebrated Lankapodi today, a festival observed on the new moon day of the lunar month of Bhadraba to mark the epic event of Lord Hanuman’s raid on the kingdom of Ravana.
The Subarnapur Lankapodi Mahotsav Committee organised several programmes and competitions to observe the festival.
People bought clay monkey idols either from the markets or Kumbharpada, the potters’ locality. Terracotta artisan Ananta Rana said: “Earlier we used to make the idols in traditional style, but now we have adapted to the demands of time. We dust them with powdered mica to give them a sparkling look. Some are smaller, with legs of solid clay rather than hollow tubes.”
At nightfall, the tails of the hanuman idols were wrapped with old clothes.
Then a container filled with oil or kerosene was attached to the tip and set on fire. Children pulled a rope attached to the front of their toys and dragged their idols to the streets.
“With so many idols burning, it seems like Lanka is on fire. As the night wears on, acrobats and gymnasts perform on the streets. It is a carnival for the people living here,” said historian Sudam Naik, who also authored several books on Sonepur history.
The monkey idols were finally taken to the courtyard of the temple of goddess Somalai and were broken early in the morning.
“This follows a pan-Indian pattern of invoking supernatural presence to inhabit a clay image and then, after the dramatic ritual, destroying the inert body,” Naik said.
Chief organiser of the Subarnapur Lankapodi Mahotsav Committee Shyama Om Prasad Mishra said they were going to organise several programmes to observe Lankapodi in the evening.
“Drawing, essay writing and making of terracotta hanuman idols in traditional styles are a few things we have planned for the evening. Eminent terracotta artisan Bideshi Rana will also be honoured,” he said.