Biripani Jatra of Jeypore in Koraput district of Odisha

Jeypore: The Biripani Jatra of the tribal dominated Koraput district of Odisha is a unique celebration because prediction about rainfall is made using religious input. The probability and percentage of rainfall in the upcoming monsoon season is guessed during the last leg of the religious observation. The Jatra is observed in the Gadapadar village, on the outskirts of Jeypore town.

During the Biripani Jatra, devotees crowd the village to witness the unique observation and to get blessings of the Goddess. Different types of priests known as Dishari, Gunia, Seera etc. hold the holy bamboo of the Goddess and bless the devotees.

An interesting tradition goes here which is unbelievable but true. The rainfall in the upcoming monsoon is predicted after the worship at the hill. While in this modern age, people bank on science, here people also believe in the findings by the priest.

Biri (black gram) is used in the worship of the Goddess. And following the worship, the main priest finds out what will be the percentage of rainfall. In other words, prediction is done about water, which is called ‘paani’ in the local dialect. And hence the Jatra has been named as ‘Biripani’ Jatra, named after black gram and water.

The devotees worship the Goddess offering sacrifice of goat, hen and dove etc. After the Pitha puja the priests hold the holy bamboos of the Goddess and go atop the Kandamali hill in a procession. On the hilltop they worship Goddess Biripani and in three holes. After this worship, a dove and a hen are put alive in a certain hole. Miraculously after some time water automatically oozes out of the hole.

After verifying the amount of water, the main priest then predicts about the percentage of rainfall in the upcoming monsoon season and about different aspects of harvest in the coming season. Accordingly, people get a rough idea about the upcoming monsoon and start preparation for the farming accordingly.

Besides, after the worship, the priest collects the holy water from the hole and sprinkles it on the devotees. It is regarded as the blessings of the Goddess. It is believed that with this water, diseases can be cured.

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