‘Danda Nata’ Allowed To Be Performed With Restrictions In Odisha’s Ganjam

Berhampur: Ganjam district administration has allowed the famous ‘Danda Nata’ to be celebrated under COVID-19 guidelines.

District collector Vijay Amrit Kulange said the participation of devotees in the ‘Danda Nata’ has been limited to 200 and only the locals are allowed to participate. Cultural shows will not be allowed, he added.

‘Danda Nata’, a form of a religious festival having originated in the district is observed during three months of March, April and May every year.

According to historians, it started around 400 years back. The groups of ‘Danduas’ offer prayer to Goddess Kali and Lord Shiva during their ordeal for 13 to 21 days. They generally undertake the ordeal to get their wishes fulfilled. During this time, they stay away from their near and dear ones and take food once a day.

Though the dance has a number of restrictions and rituals, there is no bar on caste.  The Danduas visit Kali temples to offer  prayer to Goddess Kali on the auspicious day of Visuva Sankranti. They perform various dances in three phases, including Panidanda, Dhuli Danda and Agnidanda. The dances are performed in front of houses of those who invite them as per their religious vows.

Households and bazaar committees invite the ‘Danda Nata’ troupes to perform and worship Goddess Kali. The dance is done mainly to worship Lord Shiva. Other Gods and Goddesses such as Krishna, Ganesh and Durga are also worshiped.

During the night staging social dramas have become a practice in the last few decades. But due to COVID-19 pandemic and accompanying restrictions, the dramas would not be staged this year.

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