Sahi Jatra in Puri
The Celebrations of Sahi JatraThe nature of Sahi Jatra festival is somewhat violent although its theme is completely religious. It is performed every year in the month of April, during Chaitra as per the Hindu calender. The festival is celebrated on Ramanavami when people of Puri mingle with each other, participating in the play.
In Puri, the streets are known as Sahi in Odiya. The term has widely been in use since ages not only in Puri but also in various other cities of the state. Though the origin of the folk drama is shrouded in mystery, yet it is believed that it started in the medieval ages, i.e. from the 17th Century BC.
Sahi Jatra is organized by the street Akhaadas and Jagagharas which were established in the streets. The Akhaadas are responsible for local development; training and practice in military art, also in the Odisi folk music and dance.
Attractions of Sahi JatraThe grand procession is most attractive feature of Sahi Jatra which is carried through many crossings where acrobats, tumblers, dancers, the Nagas, the Medhas of various deities and medhas of demons are displayed. The procession looks similar to Ramlila of Varanasi.
The Naga and Medha dance are performed in the procession. The performers are trained in these dance forms. Presently, there are about 80 units of skilled trainers who train under nine important Akhadas located in Matimandap Sahi, Dolamandap Sahi, Kalikadevi Sahi, Markandeswar Sahi, Harchandi Sahi, Baseli Sahi, Bali Sahi, Kundhaibenta Sahi and Goudabada Sahi. The play starts from Kalika Devi Sahi that presents the scene pertaining to the birth of Rama, and another Sahi follows the next scene.
The main motive of the Sahi Jatra festival is to bring out the hidden glory of long living tradition of the Sahis and to portray them altogether on one platform.