Mayurbhanj: In an obsolete corner of the best-kept secret of India -Odisha, yet another gem stays unnoticed. The ‘Pahada Yatra’ at Kadadiha village of Mayurbhanj district. The age-old festival is celebrated with at most cultural integrity and serenity to welcome Goddess Laxmi. What catches the eyes, the ease with which different clans of tribal communities- dressed alike within their subcommunities, marching towards the hindered apex of three mountains and collecting wild pink flower (locally termed as Kukuda-jata) as a symbol of victory.
A small village, Kadadiha upholds the sanctity of ancient culture and a box of folk tales. The people there are still untouched by the hypocrisy of the modern society. Their innocence and openness will pierce through your heart and soul. During the ‘Pahada Yatra’, a huge number of people gather around to visit the Pahadi Devi (Goddess of mountain) and climb the three mountains, as a custom. At the foot step of the mountains, a fair is organised where different tribal food stalls and other customary goods are sold. Every uniformly coloured group is a kind of tribal group. The females wear sharees of identical design and colour and males wear similar lungis (a piece of cloth man use to wrap like Sharee without pallu). The air around the festivity is filled with diverged yet well merged beats of drummers, from different tribal clans playing their own folk tunes.
The conventional society where, the struggle of human recognition is paramount, those mountain fellows have unintentionally managed to overcome the social hurdles, without even trying to. One of the exemplary tales, that includes the story (still breathing)- any girl (married, unmarried, widow) if gets proposed by a boy for marriage and gives her consent during the Yatra will stay in the mountains for that night. The boy has to propose in these words,” Jibu mo saha?” (Will you go with me?) Her friends will return home and inform her parents. Parents will do anything they want to do, which includes consulting boy’s parents or calling for a panchayat meeting (a trial headed by the heads of the village) during that night only. The next day when the boy and girl come back home, they will definitely get married. Then a ‘vermilion ceremony’ will be organised where groom will give vermilion to the bride, groom’s father will give to bride’s father so as his mother will give to bride’s mother and like this all the groom’s relatives will exchange vermilion with bride’s relatives.
The most thrilling part of the trip is that a huge number of tribal and local people will cross the forest and climb up the mountain tip. Amidst the different folk tunes, cold winter breeze and simmering sunlight the voyage seems really soul thrilling and enchanting. The crystal cold water of the small springs, help to vanquish the thirst of the determined travelers. It might literally take blood and sweat to reach the top. But the view from the apex is worth all the cuts on legs, slipping legs, the thirst and the throbbing heart during the tracking. One can only use the word “Bliss”. You can smell and feel the lush greenery. There is an amazing amalgamation of crowd and peace at the same time. Once you reach the top, you can realize the magnitude of magnanimous love your heart beholds for the mountains.