The famous Lanka Podi Yatra and Ramleela started with much pomp and gaiety on the occasion of Ramnavami at Daspallah in Nayagarh district Friday. It will continue till May 1.
The festival, which continues to attract the attention of admirers of folk culture and mythology, reflects the rich tradition of our society. The spectacular grandeur employed in the representation of Ramleela since 1802, has earned the festival a historic fame.
With Lord Hanuman being the presiding deity, the shrine is called Mahavir Khetra. Another feature of the shrine is that the idols of Rama and Sita look like Krishna and Radha. The rehearsal for the Ramleela commences on Dussehra and continues till Ashokasthami. The play begins on Ramnavami. Ramayana is performed episode-wise for more than 10 days till a particular day – the end of Tuesday and beginning of Wednesday.
The Ramleela artistes, who wear wooden masks portraying the characters of Ramayana, perform dance and deliver dialogues on open stage accompanied by traditional music. The background artistes sing songs for them.
Although episodes like Shiva Dhanu Bhagna, Sita Vivah, Parshuram Bheta, Rama Banabasa, Sita Haran and Bali Badha attract the attentions of audience, people eagerly wait for the last episode – Lanka Podi and Ravan Badha.
The artiste, who plays the role of Lord Rama, fights with a 35-feet-tall idol of Ravan on the road that turns into an open battlefield for the day. Lord Rama shoots arrows at the idol of the 10-headed demon, which is build with crackers installed inside.