185 year old Olasuni Cave Fair in Jajpur district of Odisha
This year the fair though have witnessed footfall of many saints, due to Covid pandemic it has been observed as a low key affair
Jajpur: The world famous Olasuni Cave Fair is being observed in Jajpur district of Odisha this year as a low key affair in the wake of the pandemic. Of course, a number of saints have come to witness the same. Started 185 years ago, the fair takes place on the Olasuni hill.
Olasuni Cave Fair is observed on the holy Ekadashi tithi (11th day) in the dark fortnight of the Magha month every year. This is the day when Saint Arakshita Das had died. Of course, this year section 144 has been imposed in the area due to the pandemic. While only the rituals are being performed, only a few locals have been allowed to attend.
The fair is observed on the famous Olasuni hill of Jajpur district. The Samadhipitha of Saint Arakshita Das is a cave of the Olasuni hill situated in the Badachana Block. For the last 185 years since the demise of the saint this nine day long fair is going on every year in the month of Magha.
Lord Jagannath, Lord Radhakrisha are worshipped here. Also, we can see Samadhi of 7 saints here. Besides, the monkey God Hanuman, Lord Ganesha and a few Shalagram stones are also worshipped here. There is no solid information about the year when the big cave in this Olasuni hill was discovered.
Large numbers of devotees attend this fair from the State as well as out of State. They offer Podapitha to the God here. It is believed that by visiting here, devotees may achieve the virtue like Srikhetra darshan.
In the fair, an angyamala (garland of order) is taken from the Samadhi of saint Arakshita Das to the Grama Devati (Village Deity) temple where it gets ceremonial worship. However, this year many restrictions have been clamped due to the pandemic. Only the devotees have been allowed to provide the offering.
On the occasion of the Olasuni Cave Fair, a festival gets organised. This time the 9th State level Olasuni Cave Festival is being organised in the nearby Gangi hill hosted by the Olasuni Cave Trust and Santha Arakshita Das Foundation.
The managing committee member of Puri Srimandira, Sri Ramakrushna Das inaugurated the festival. On this occasion Dr. Bijaya Narayana Ramanuja Das and Rabindra Narayan Mishra were felicitated in the honour of Saint Arakshita Das. Besides, the special issue of the Olasuni paper was inaugurated. Many saints took part in the festival.
However, in the wake of Corona pandemic no commercial kiosks were set up this time. The fair is a low key affair this time with presence of only a few numbers of devotees.
With inputs from Abineshwar Satpathy, Jajpur