Archive for November, 2011

Bhubaneswar To Miss The Bus To Retail Revolution

FDI in retail Sector

FDI in retail Sector

Don’t fancy walking in to a Wal-Mart, Careefour or Tesco outlet in Bhubaneswar in the foreseeable future. The city will miss the outcome of the Union government’s latest decision to allow foreign direct investment in multi-brand retails as it does not have the minimum required population of 10 lakh for such international retail chains to set shops here. For that matter, no city in Odisha belongs to the million plus club.

As per the Central government decision, international brands cannot open stores in cities with a population of less than 10 lakh. India has 53 such cities but none in Odisha. The population of Bhubaneswar stands at 8.37 lakh according to Census 2011. Among other big cities in the state, Cuttack’s headcount was pegged at 6.06 lakh and Berhampur’s at 3.55 lakh.

The Union cabinet has decided to open the retail sector for FDI, allowing 51% investment in multi-brand retail and raise the FDI cap on single-brand retailing to 100% from the current 51%. With this, large-scale investments are being forecast in the retail sector, which the state may miss.

Residents and policy makers in the city are however optimistic  about the retail  boom coming to the city sooner and for better. Residents  say that population growth being a dynamic process, it is but a matter of a year or two before the city’s population crosses the magic number  and then it is all a part of the retail  revolution.

Votaries of FDI in retail argue that with a large number of big chains in the fray, the ultimate gainer will be the consumer as the prices would come down due to better chain management and elimination of middle men. Many feel, small scale farmers and producers are also going to be benefit from direct linkage to the marketing chain.

Ranaveer Sinha, chairman of CII eastern region, said the region being primarily an agrarian economy, FDI in retail would boost the agriculture sector through establishment of supply chains by linking farmers directly to the retailers and offering quality products to consumers at reasonable prices. Organized retailers will pay higher prices to farmers compared to the existing intermediaries and middlemen. FDI in retail will open up more and better paid job opportunities for people as well, he said.

Singh argued that opening up of retail can be seen as a solution to tackle the stubborn food inflation problem. FDI in retail would help in building the much needed back end infrastructure too. Additionally, investments in cold storage chain infrastructure will reduce losses of agricultural produce and provide more options to farmers, he said.

Some of the existing ‘desi’ retailers on the other hand don’t see FDI or the lack of it as any impediment to growth of retail sector in the state capital just like anywhere else in the country. “Whether a foreign player comes here to invest or not doesn’t matter much for us as players or even to customers. We are growing at a robust pace not only in Bhubaneswar and Cuttack and hope to do well in Rourkela and Sambalpur as well,” said Arun Srideshmukh, chief executive of Reliance Trendz.

Those opposed to FDI in retail, however, argue the move is going to ruin the existing trading mechanism and render crores of people jobless. It is only a matter of time before the population of Bhubaneswar and other cities in the state cross 10 lakh to become a victim of the decision, they said. “Wrong projections are being made that foreign players’ entry will generate jobs. Traders who collect vegetables from farmers, transporters, wholesalers, shopkeepers and vendors — everybody will lose jobs,” said Sudhakar Panda, chairman of Bhubaneswar Merchants’ Association. The big retailers will go for contract farming and will exploit farmers as well, he added.

Siruli Mahavir Temple of Orissa: An ancient Shrine of Lord Hanuman

Siruli Mahavir Temple

Siruli Mahavir Temple

One of the important  seats of Hanuman worship in Orissa, the Siruli Mahavir temple  is noted for its antiquity as well as uniqueness of the idol of the presiding deity; Lord Hanuman.  Notably, the idol at the temple of Lord Hanuman at Siruli has the image of  Mother Anjana carved on the thighs of Lord Hanuman which incidentally is the only of its kind in the entire world.

Situated at about 27 kms on  the north east of Puri town,the shrine  lies between Puri and Bhubaneswar.Though not imposing in view or magnificently designed, the structure shows typical adornments of the ancient Orissa architecture like the  Vimana, Jagamohana, Natamandapa and Bhogamandapa. It is built in both late rite and sand stones. A tank has also been excavated in the eastern side of the temple complex. The temple faces south, while the idol of Lord Hanuman  in standing posture is set towards the Jagannath temple of Puri and the  right eye is set towards Lanka ( the kingdom of Ravana).

The huge statue of Lord Hanuman is enshrined in the sanctum is carved on a single piece of stone in standing posture . He holds a short dagger in left hand and Gandha mardana mountain in right hand. The figure of Lord Hanumana has been designed in the attitude of destroying Murasura (a demon). Anjana, the mother of Lord Hanumana is carved to the right side of the pedestal. The height of the figure is about 10 feet and made of black chlorite stone. A Shiva Linga canopied by seven hooded serpent is carved on top of the head of the figure. The figure of Lord Mahavir exhibits Lord Rama and Goddess Sita in his tearing heart.

There is a a popular legend that gives importance to this temple of Lord Hanuman. It is widely believed that Lord Hanuman used to stand guard to Lord Jagannath at his temple in the earlier days. However goddess Laxmi once had problem getting into the premises of the Lord as the enormous sized Hanuman obstructed her vision. She thus instructed Him to retreat two and half foots back and then take guard.  Lord Hanuman upon retreating back reached Siruli where the present day temple has been built.

On the basis of the local tradition people say that the temple was built by Anangabhima Deva – III (1212 A.D. to 1236 A.D.), the Ganga ruler of Orissa.  R.P. Mohapatra has referred that the Mahavir temple of Siruli was constructed during the late medieval period.

On the basis of the architectural features, the construction period of the temple can be tentatively assigned to the 16th century A.D. It is known from the above discussion that the architectural features of the temple  is not so important like other notable temples of Orissa. But the temple is considered by devotees as  one of the important  Hanumana  shrines of Puri. People of the neighboring villages attend this deity in large numbers.  Festivals like Makara SSankranti, Dusshera, Kumar Purnima , Ramanavami, Dola, Chandana Yatra and Gahma Purnima are regularly observed  in this temple with great pomp and enthusiasm.

 

Horse Shoe Crabs Facing Extinction From Orissa Coast

Horse Shoe Crabs of Orissa Coast

Horse Shoe Crabs of Orissa Coast Facing Extinction

Orissa has got a long coastline that is habitat to some of the world’s rarest or rare animals. Olive Ridley turtles, Irrawady dolphins and Horse Shoe Crabs are qute a few species of marine wildlife that are unique to Orissa only. However these creatures have of late been facing extinction owing to a number of reasons. And the most threatened of the aforementioned three creatures are the Horse Shoe crabs.

Horseshoe Crab, which  was widely found along the coast of Orissa had existed long before the arrival of dinosaurs  and till two decades ago,  were found in large numbers along the coastal belt but now the species is confined to specific pockets like Eakakula beach, Balarampur, and Chandipur beaches of Balesore district and Hukitola areas of Kendrapada district,.

These marine creatures were once found aplenty in the Orissa Coast and were known by names like Laxmania Kankada, Samudra Bichha and Belangkar . Horseshoe Crab belongs to the Phylum Arthropoda, which includes insects, spiders, scorpions and crabs. Surprisingly, Horseshoe Crab is not actually a crab. In general, crabs have two pairs of antennae and a pair of mandibles of jaws, which are not present in Horseshoe Crab. It is closer to spiders and scorpions. Their main habitat consists of temperate and tropical seas . The coast of Orissa, especially the wetlands areas provide favorable living conditions and breeding grounds for Horseshoe crabs. These prefer to remain on the bottom sediments of the shallow sea. With high tide, male and female Horseshoe Crabs come ashore in large number for breeding. Nesting activity occurs during full moon and new moon days depending upon the lunar cycle. During this period countless breeding pairs are found along the coast of Orissa.

The crab is in high demand worldwide for its therapeutic values. These crabs are prized owing to their blue blood and find wide application in medical sciences in making drugs for diseases like mental exhaustion, arthritis and gastroenteritis. Local fishermen who have known these traits of the horse shoe crabs have hunted them in large numbers. It is not uncommon even to find children of these fishermen being used in the process of collecting these horse shoe crabs and smuggling them out to earn a prized income. In fact Smuggling of Horseshoe Crabs to foreign countries is rampant here, as they are in great demand by pharmaceutical companies for their medicinal value. It only helps that countries like Japan, Indonesia and America which were once home to these rare creatures have  lost sizeable tracts of these creatures while still retain the market for medicinal products being prepared from these creature’s blood.

Orissa coast is now the only place in India which is the nesting place of these crabs. However rampant killing of these creatures have forced their population to dwindle sharply even here. It is time that  the state take  serious measures to ensure the killing and smuggling of horseshoe crab is prevented before the species becomes extinct.  Though the central government has already taken steps in this direction by  declaring the horse shoe crabs a n endangered species, serious efforts to conserve  and breed the species is needed .

 

Nature’s Own Habitat: Gahirmatha Marine Sanctuary

Olive Ridley Turtles

Olive Ridley Turtles

Winter is approaching and what better time for a quick weekend trip somewhere? And if you are planning for a trip, well, a marine world life sanctuary is what you should be looking to explore. You need not book air tickets and plan in advance; Gahirmatha marine wild life sanctuary is one of Orissa;s top delights. Check out what’s in store for you….

Gahirmatha coast in Kendrapara district, the world’s largest nesting beach for olive Ridley turtles is packed with pleasure for tourists. Declared a wild life sanctuary in Orissa in 1979 and a world heritage site, Gahirmatha is significant for turtle conservation.

The breath taking view of the sanctuary, located on the converging point of the Dhamra River and Bay of Bengal attracts nature loving tourists. You will be amazed by the extensive area covered by the sanctuary – nearly 1,435 sq km. Watching the olive ridley turtles crawling on the beach is a rare sigh you will cherish for years. The sanctuary has been declared a world heritage site and has slowly attracted attention as an important place in Orissa Tourism.

Gahirmatha turtle sanctuary hosts  a variety of flora and fauna. One will find flaura like  Bels, terminenalia, Zizphus Bija, Salaia Sal, Babul, Teak, Bamboo and many other varieties in the sanctuary. Although the sanctuary is famous for the giant olive Ridleys which travel from as far as the Pacific ocean to nest her, it also  hosts the wild boars, barking deers, bears, leopards, crocodiles, jungle fowls, hyenas, wild dogs, four horned antelopes, sloth bears and blue bulls.

On a clear moonlit night, during the nesting season, you will see thousands of turtles crawling out of the sea, puffing and laboring as they drag themselves towards the beach. They usually select a suitable site, dig a hole in the sand with their flippers, lay nearly 120 eggs each, cover and compact the holes with their own body, sweep out all traces of their visit and crawl back to the sea – all within 45 minutes. Environmentalists are of the view that this is indeed one of the nature’s miracles.

Olive Ridley Turtle Hatch lings in Gahirmatha

Olive Ridley Turtle Hatch lings in Gahirmatha

The state government, assisted by International and regional NGOs has created this safe habitat for giant turtles. This has only been made possible by adhering to strict regulations banning fishing and forbidding nearby industries to run amok.

Once considered a delicacy by the locals who used to catch these creatures not long back, today the harmless creatures can at least move around freely thanks to the timely intervention of the government. The result is evident : today you can see thousands of giant olive ridleys in Gahirmatha.

On your tour to the marine sanctuary, watch out for no less incredible creatures thriving all around. But please retain you curiosity and don’t disturb them.

Nearby Attractions

While on a trip to the Gahirmatha sanctuary, you can also visit some interesting spots nearby. The temple of Lord Shiva built in the early 9th century in Dangmol is worth visiting. The sandstone temple of Nahakbabu is also a prime attraction. Some other spots at Lalitgiri, Ratnagiri and Udaygiri Buddhist complex are worth visiting. One can also embark on a trip to Chandipur beach from here.

Bhitarkanika wild life sanctuary and national park near the Gahirmatha sanctuary is a major attraction. It sis recognized as the second largest mangrove ecosystem in India covering an area of 672 sq km.  The forest offers shelter to more than 2145 species of birds. It is also recognized s a “Crocodile Sanctuary” and is home to  the biggest population of salt water crocodiles in the country.

 

 

 

Orissa Hockey Looks For Sponsors

Hockey Dying a Slow death in Orissa

Hockey Dying a Slow death in Orissa

The British rule in India ushered many things into the traditional Indian society which evolved for good in later part of times in the country. Hockey is one such gift endowed upon India by the Britishers. The game infact gave identity to the India in the pre independent days and India kept on dominating the world in hockey championships till around 1980. Field hockey became the country’s national game and India saw the emergence of genius players like Dhyan Chand. Gradually Indian Hockey scripted its way into the world Map( 8 olympic gold medals and 1975 world cup win).

India s golden run in hockey though dwindled after 1980, it kept on sparkling with talented players like Dhanraj Pillay and Dilip Tirkey. Today however, there is hardly a player in the national hockey team that commands an era like that of Dhyan Chand or Dilip Tirkey and  countries like Germany,Spain, Argentina have put India out of the Hockey perspective in the international arena and internally cricket has become the religion replacing the national game.

The contribution of Orissa  to the nation has been spectacular. Lately however the state has failed to produce legends like Dilip Tirkey. Players have been inconsistent and have not been able to cement their place in the national side. Lack of proper infrastructure and coaching and the negligence of the state government has been hindering the game and one will not be surprised if there is no revamp. Orissa hockey Association secretary Pratap Satpathy expressing his concern on the game feels that its high time for corporate sponsors to help out Orissa hockey. The game is suffering sans government support. And though Orissa’s players are talented and  consistently prove their worth by getting selected in the national team ,lack of the encouragement from the government is letting them dow.

Also a manager of the Indian hockey team and chairman of the Hockey India’s finance committee, Satpathy states that it is a challenging task to revamp the Orissa hockey. What impresses Satpathy though is the emergence of girls rather than the boys in the Hockey scenario of Orissa. Players like Nilima Minz,Deep Grace Ekka and other Oriya girls have  proved their mettle. Similarly players like Ignace Tirkey,Roshan, Prabod Tirkey have proved their mettle by getting selected in the Men’s hockey team. Satpathy however rues the lack of support from the government. Satpathy claims that there has been no support from the government since the last two years . The secretary informed that the Orissa Hockey Association had academies in Sundargarh and Rourkela and with the facilities at disposal, it was trying to produce talent for the state and nation.

Its common in India to blame it on cricket for the the downfall of Indian hockey. However a survey of the ground realities throw disheartening picture. And if the government does not come forward to do its bit for the sport, it will not be far off when the talented hockey players from  Orissa will be waning into obscurity.

 

Some Traditional Dance forms staring at oblivion in Orissa

Traditional Dances of Orissa

Traditional Dances of Orissa

Indian culture is marked by its unmistakable diversity. The Indian cultural stage is typically cluttered with larger than life aesthetes who suck their creative juices from the wellspring of tradition. Indian aesthetics lie on the secure foundation of religious moderation and spiritual fraternity. This profound culture is at once loud yet serene rebellious and yet sage like and turbulent yet placid much like the mighty oceans. While Indian drama and dance, not to mention Music is undoubtedly vivacious, they follow the meandering course of the tranquil rivers running over every obstacle rather than uprooting them. These art forms while deeply traditional as opposed to the conventional are at the same time intensely innovative.

Orissa which was once characterized by the profusion of  traditions and a land of multifarious tribal and folk dance forms is unfortunately on its way to loosing a chunk of its cultural wealth. U*untiring efforts to revive the disappearing dance forms notwithstanding the onslaught of modernization and hegemonies consumerist culture have had detrimental effect . In the age of DJs and bollywood music, the links to tradition are getting severed. In some parts of the state self conscious tribal groups and even a handful of artists in the villages are ardently practicing and propagating folk dance and other performing arts in a bid to stay afloat.

Many promising performers of  traditional dance forms  are struggling to survive and the proponents of these art forms who were once considered excellent entertainers ,today perform to empty gallery these days. The spotlight therefore inevitably shifts to reviving these traditional forms of songs and dances. However these dance forms are conspicuous by their absence from the menu of cultural events these days and adding to the woe is the absence of  quality performers who would take the baton on their hands and vie for the revival of these antiquated dance forms.

While on one hand we have popular dance forms like Chhau, Ghumura,Gotipua, baagha Nacha, Dhepa Dhulai and Danda Nacha which still retain their enduring charm, a few are virtually on the verge of extinction. Despite best efforts, these dance forms have failed to stand the test of time. Lets zoom in into the past and have a look into the traditional forms of dance which are struggling out to save their identity in Orissa.

Ghuduki Nacha

 

Ghuduki Nacha

Ghuduki Nacha

“Ghuduki” is an indigenous stringed instrument which is played in rhythm by the singer by striking his fingers at the instrument. Performers enact a number of acts by asking  each other questions and  giving the answers simultaneously. Ghuduki is popular  among the Saura and Santhal tribes . Although rooted in the aboriginal culture, it is  also popular in the Kela community. The interesting thing about this form is the instrument , one side of which is covered with lizard skin fixed in place with a wire. The top of the wire is fuxed with a stick that produces a peculiar sound.

Ghuduki as a folk art has very recent origin.  It started in the year 1950-51 with the first performance at the doorstep of Zameendar (landlord) paikray of Nayagarh. A performer named Pramila and her husband dressed up traditional attire approached the zameendar playing the strange instrument and impressed the audience.

Guru Kashinath Mohanty later made the Ghuduki a popular form  of art in adjoining 75 villages and gained immense popularity. He was later conferred the title “ Guru Jogendra Nath”. Today Guru Kashinath Mohanty paints a sorry figure. He has a few takers and  laments the disappearance of this traditional dance form.

Of  late the Kela community has discontinued this form of dancing and have made certain amendments  to retain the audience base.  In the latest avatar, four to five members take part in the recital and both traditional and modern musical  compositions accompany it. While the lead male performer plays the instrument, the female partner sings and a few other performers dance to the tune of the Ghuduki

Daskathia

Daskathia

Daskathia

Once a popular art form from Ganjam, Daskathia is slowly disappearing. The art form is associated with the worship of Lord Shiva. During a performance, accolades to the Lord are offered and He is referred to variously as  Rudra, Mahadeva,Hara,Shankar and Bholanath.

Two members , the singer (gayaka) and the Palia(his assistant) dressed in costumes that  are  colorful and lavish present mythological stories in  rhythmical intonation. They keep on changing their voices and present humorous stories to make the entire performance interesting.

Daskathia generally begins with an invocation composed by a local poet followed by a performance by the duo after which the theme is announced.Though normally mythological anecdotes of Lord Shiva form the core, other gods such as Vishnu, Krishna, Ganesh, Durga and Maa Kali are also revered by the performers. Daskathia is is usually performed on auspicious occasions like the naming ceremony of the child or  celebrating the first or 16th birthday of the children.

With the advent of modern music, this interesting music form is slowly taking  a backseat. And though there are some parts of the state where it is still popular, we are witnessing an adulterated form of the original Daskathia.

Dhumpa

Dhumpa

Dhumpa

Another dwindling dance form that  again gets its name from the instrument that is played while the performance, Dhumpa is an instrument made from the bamboo tree named ‘moi”. Dhumpa is still popular in regions  like Tigiria of Cuttack,Khandapara of Nayagarh and Digapahandi of Ganjam district.

Folklores describe that  in Badakhemundi, under Ganjam district, during the stay of Lord Ramchandra at the mount Mahendragiri, the tribal people of Mahendragiri welcomed the Lord by playing Dhumpa “sangeet”.

The Dhumpa instrument, a cylindrical empty bamboo stick is used for the performance. This instrument is set on the floor and four to five  music players holding sticks beat it which create a peculiar sound. A solo instyrument at first, Dhumpa is now performed with various  other accompanying instruments like pakhawas,flute,cymbal and turi.

 Harikatha

Hari Katha

Hari Katha

A typical performance resting on the modus operandi of storytelling, Harikatha  had its origin in the southern India and blends poetry, music, drama, dance,religion and philosophy. Based usually on mythology, the stories are narrated in different dialogues and through songs with tenor modulation to match the voices of the characters narrating the story.

At one point of time, Harikatha used to transmit cultural, educational and religious values to the masses.  The performer, who is the moral preceptor, narrates the episodes from mahabharat, Ramayana ad other mythological texts. He is an actor who also sings songs and plays the instrument to complement the song sung by the performer.

 

Cultural Tour Of Orissa Through Sand Art: A Unique Endeavor At The Bali Yatra

Sand Sculpture in Bali Yatra

Sand Sculpture in Bali Yatra

A 20ft high sand art depicting the cultural heritage of Odisha is the centre of attraction at Bali yatra that began yesterday.

Sand artist Pramod Patnaik, the elder brother of internationally acclaimed sand artist Sudarshan Patnaik, has built the sculpture that showcases several landmarks including the Jagannath Temple of Puri and the Sun Temple at Konark.

“We have tried to depict the cultural heritage of the state and especially Cuttack, which is one of the oldest cities in the state,” said Patnaik.

The artist said that the main concept behind the theme was to ensure that those who come to the annual fair from different parts of the state got an opportunity to see the historical monuments in the city at one place.

It took Patnaik and his team of eight around four days to complete the sculpture, which showcases the historic Barabati Fort, Barabati Stadium, Ravenshaw University, Kadam Rasul mosque and the statue of Netaji Subhas Bose.

A sand artist from Mysore, Gauri MN, also assisted Patnaik in making the sculpture. Around 300 tonnes of sand has been used to make the sculpture that is 40ft long and 20ft wide.

“This is the fifth time that I have come to attend Bali yatra that is celebrated in a grand manner in Cuttack. Though I have seen a lot of sand art  in Puri, this beautiful sculpture provides a detailed description about the historic monuments in Silver City,” said Sunita Choudhry, a visitor from Puri.

Last year, Patnaik’s created a 40ft-high sand art called Jagatika Utaran (universal elevation) that attracted a lot of people during the six-day fair.

One of the biggest sand arts ever created, Jagatika Utaran carried a number of social messages on HIV/AIDS, drugs, pollution and its impact on environment and universal brotherhood.

Around 1,300 kiosks have come up at Bali yatra this year, which is organised jointly by the district administration, Cuttack Municipal Corporation, Odisha tourism and the culture department in association with other departments.

 

Orissa Ranks High In the Developed State’s Index

Orissa On Development Path

Orissa On Development Path

A latest survey, puts orissa at par or ahead of developed states like Gujarat, Maharastra, Tamilnadu and Karnataka in terms of governance, growth , infrastructure and development.

The state which till recently was considered backward and impoverished, has made remarkable  improvements  in many fronts  and has registered stupendous progtress in industrial growth,farming, general health and education, says the survey by the “India Today” group.

The study carried out by the latest edition of the “ State of the States” between, 209-2010 and 2010-2011 for the purpose of ranking India’s most improved states, has put Orissa in the third position after Maharastra and Gujrat in terms of transparency way ahead of states like Tamilnadu, Karnataka, Kerala and Punjab.

While Maharastra has excelled for its transparency in governanace, Narendra Modi’s Gujarat ha staken rapid strides in women’s welfare, girl’s education and poverty alleviation programmes besides its industrial powers. Orissa is palced third, next only to Gujrat in overall performance, bringing credit to Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik’s effective administration. Developed states like Andhra Prades,Tamil Nadu, Punjab, Kerala and karnatak stay far below Orissa’s overall growth ratings.

Similarly the infrastructure stydy has placed Himachal Pradesh, West Bengal, Orissa, Punjab and Gujarat as the top five five states which are best for business. In terms of investment, Orissa is ranked fifth after Gujrat, karnatak, Assam and Maharastra.

Similarly Orissa has grown stupendously to become one of the largest consumer  markets in the country. It now ranks third as the largest consumer market in the country alongwith Maharastra and Uttarakhand.  In terms of educational growth, the state is placed in the  fifth position  piping even educated states like Kerala and West Bengal behind.

 

Lobhi Thakurani : The Goddess of Greed

The temple of Goddess Lobhi Thakurani

The temple of Goddess Lobhi Thakurani

Lobhi Thakurani stands out from other deities inIndiaas she represents human failings of  greed. Aptly named, Lobhi Thakurani is the presiding deity of  Garh Santry, a village 17 kms off the district headquarter town ofAngulinCentral Orissa.

The deity who spits vengeance on the people who undermine her, is propitiated with offerings like bananas, coconuts, he – goats and hens. Such is her wrath that devotees never venture to take back even a portion of the offerings that is made to the goddess lest She harm them or their family members. Interestingly goats and chickens offered to the godess in her temple are not sacrificed but auctioned to the villagers at a nominal price.

Mythological Backdrop

 The popular poet Srinivas Gadnaik who originally hails from Garh Santry sheds light on the legends revolving Lobhi Thakurani. It is believed that when Lord  Ram was returniong from lanka after vanquishing the demon king Ravana on Pushpak Viman ( airplane of Ravana), he noticed the  deity of Lanka following them too.On accosting her, she replied that  Lanka had lost its identity after the death of Ravana. So she urged Ram to take her with him. However Lord Ram refused to do so.

After traveling a considerable distance, when Lord Ram  alighted on the rim of a vast forest to rest awhile, he found the Devi still following him. An infuriated Ram, ordered her to stay back or face death. She stayed back on the forest which later came to be known as Garh Santry and was incidentally a fortress of the the then king of Angul.

The deity is hard to satisfy and it is popularly believed by the residents that She often ventures out in the night roaming from villages top villages.

Lobhi Thakurani Jatra

 The Lobhi Thakurani yatra is observed for theree days beginning in the holy month of Kartik very year on the full moon day of Kartik Purnima. On this day, the twin villages of Garh Santry and Tulsipal are bedecked with colorful festoons and thousands of people from the Angul Talcher region as well as from other parts of the state make a beeline to the yatra ground near the temple to pay obeisance to the Goddess.

A grand procession brings the sacred symbol of the deity from Tulsipal to theTempleat Pidha Sahi of Garh Santry. The grandeur of the procession is intensified by the drums in synchrony with the folk dances of the Paikas, the warrior calss of the village. The dehury ( priest) holds the idol of the deity on his shoulder and walks for five kilo meters with the devotees. He then puts the sacred idol on a ceremonial dais and performs the worship for two consecutive days. On the third day, the deity returns to Tulsipal – her original seat.

The yatra is a grand congregation of people  with nearly 80,000 people gathering annually at the yatra ground to see the worship of Lobhi Thakurani. Lots of stalls com eup and festivity is in the air.

 

Orissa Bureaucrats most corrupt in the country

Corruption in Orissa on the rise

Corruption in Orissa on the rise

Well, its not most of the times that Orissa hits the headlines in tabloids and newspaper. And whenever it does, it does for the wrong reason! While floods, Farmer deaths, Christian violence , poverty etc have put orissa high on the news space, it was another distinction that attracted attention of media persons and common men alike.

Orissa has gained the dubious distinction of topping the country in public corruption. Giving two hoots to the crackdown by vigilance sleuths , the “indulgence” of the bureaucracy in the state continued in the most unfazing and unabated manner. And thus, with 950 gazetted and non gazetted officers under the vigilance glare, Orissa has thus emerged as the lead state nationally in number of officials booked under the Prevention of Corruption Act ( PCA).  The number baffles when one considers the statistics that reveal a 540% rise in the corruption cases against Grade- B officials in Orissa

With large quantum of development work being initiated in the state in the last 3-4 years, crooked officials have sniffed in a big opportunity of making money. Cases of financial irregularities and frauds have thus risen. The state vigilance department has thus gone active and has set a target of arresting at least two corrupt officials a day this year. Similarly the Central bureau of Investigation ( CBI), though has fewer utilities in Orissa, has set itself a target of arresting 4 cases in Orissa a month.

However the main reason behind the spurt in the corruption cases is the number of acquittals which have simply outnumbered the convictions in all corruption cases in orissa. Of around 200 cases taken up for trials in 2010, acquittals stood at 123 while there were only 76 convictions.