“Jhamu Yatra” is the significant and popular festival of Goddess Mangala and it occurs on the first Tuesday of the sacred month of Vaisakh (April 14 to May 15) every year.
On the occasion, devotees collect sacred water from river ‘Prachi’ and offer pray to the deity to get her blessings. The devotees with the earthen pot filled with sacred water of the river used to walk on the burning wood charcoal filled in a channel.
It is believed that the blessings of the Deity save the devotees to be hurted and uninjured while walking on the fire charcoal. Every year thousands of devotees come to celebrate the Jhamu festival in a grand manner.
On the occasion of Maha Visuva Sankranti or Odia New Year, thousands of devotees on Tuesday thronged different Devi temples in Cuttack for darshan of the deity and also witnessed the Jhamu Yatra organised by many temples in the city.
The day was marked by Jhamu Yatra (fire walks), show of traditional martial art skills at various places.
People who observe the Jhamu Brata is known as Patua or holy devotee. These Patuas complete their brata on this day in traditional way by walking in on fire.
At the time of yatra, patuas walk on burning charcoal filled in a channel as a part of their penance observed for the deity. They wear picturesque costumes and dance bare footed over burning charcoals which is a part of the ritual during the festival.
The patuas undergo a lot of pain and hardship to appease the Goddess, who they believe would fulfil their desires. Some people also do it to show their gratitude to the Goddesses for having fulfilled their desires, pre-ordained vows.
The Jhamu perform such dreadful stunts in a state of hallucination and inflict a lot of pain on themselves. In religious parlance, this delusional state is called ‘possession’ of the devotee by gods. It is believed that divine intervention helps these patau in bearing all the mental and physical pain.
Bisuva Sankranti is celebrated as the first day of the Odia calendar across the State. It marks the end of spring and beginning of summer.