Bastar Dashahra or Dussehra - Jagdalpur Danteshwari Temple, Chhattisgarh

Bastar Dashahra Attractions

Bastar Dashahra Festival (Dussehra festiva) is very famous festival celebrated in Bastar District of Chhattisgarh.

The festival involves participation of all major tribes of Bastar.
Deities from all nearby villages are gathered at danteshwari Temple in Jagdalpur. “Paat-Jatra” ceremony with rite and rituals at Sirhasaar Square in Jagdalpur during Bastar Dasahra is famous.

It is celebrated for countinuous 75 days. It has been started by the Royal families of Bastar and is now became tradition of tribal life of Bastar.

The 600-year old Bastar Dashahra festival that began last week would continue for 75 days and all the tribes would work together for the rituals everyday, that too without even the organizers informing anyone of them about anything. While one tribe has taken the responsibility of building the chariots for the fair, there are others responsible for pounding wood or decorating the deity. And all of this goes without any written or documented word. Each tribe metes out with its responsibilities on time, taking note of the start date and the end date and passes accordingly. "For generations, our families have been tasked with construction of two chariots, the main attraction of the festival, without being informed. We accomplish our task on time", Dalpat, in-charge of construction of the chariots, said. The chariots add splendour to the festival, drawing thousands from across the world. Two chariots are taken on procession-the main one for the presiding deity of the Bastar royal family-Maa Danteswari and the other one is for the other deities. The chariots are built of sal logs that are cut and designed with the help of a few crude tools.

Bastar Dashahra : Rituals

  • A variety of rituals are associated with the Dussehra festivities in Bastar. There is a special sequence to some of them. It starts with Pata Jatra.

  • Pata Jatra(पाट जात्रा पूजा), which is worship of the wood, followed by Deri Gadhai, the posting of the pillars.
  • बस्तर संस्कृति और इतिहास से जुड़ी किताब के लेखक लाला जगदलपुरी ने पाठा जात्रा के बारे में बताया कि यह बड़ा विचित्र और संवेदनशील चलन है। वन विभाग से स्वीकृति प्राप्त कर हरेली अमावस के दिन जंगल से जब लकड़ियां लाई जाती हैं तभी रथ बनना शुरू होता है। लकड़ी के इस आत्मदान को भुलाया नहीं जा सकता। इसलिए इस प्रथा के माध्यम से बस्तर का जनजीवन, लकड़ी के प्रति अपनी कृतज्ञता ज्ञापित करता है। बस्तर दशहरे की तैयारी में इस प्रथा का भावनात्मक महत्व है। 

  • Deri Gadhai : डेरी गड़ाई पूजा

  • Kachan Gaadi : काछन गादी, the throne for goddess Kachan Devi; Kalash Sthapana, the installation of the urns.

  • Kalash Sthapna : कलश स्थापना पूजा

  • Jogi Bithai : जोगी बिठाई, the Jogi’s penance; Rath Parikrama, the chariot circuit; Nisha Jatra, the nocturnal festival.

  • Daily Navratri Puja : प्रतिदिन नवरात्रि पूजा

  • Daily Chariot Revolution : प्रतिदिन रथ परिक्रमा पूजा

  • Maha Ashthami Puja : महाअष्टमी दुर्गा पूजा

  • Nisha Jatra Puja : निशा जात्रा पूजा

  • Kunwari Puja : कुंवारी पुजा

  • Jogi Uthai : जोगी उठाई पूजा, the raising of the Jogi.

  • Maoli Parghav, the reception of the Devi Maoli; 

  • Bheetar Raini : भीतर रैनी, the inner circuit; 

  • Chariot Revolution Puja : रथ परिक्रमा पूजा

  • Baahar Raini : बाहर रैनी पूजा, the outer circuit; 

  • Chariot Travel Puja : रथ यात्रा पूजा विधान

  • Kachan Jatra : काछनजात्रा विधान, the thanksgiving ceremony; 

  • Muria Durbar : मुरिया दरबार, the tribal chieftains' conference.
  • मुरिया दरबार को बस्तर के लोगों की संसद भी कहा जाता रहा है जहां प्रजा बोलती है और राज सुना करते थे।

  • Gangamunda or Kutumb Jatra : गंगामुंडा या कुटुंब जात्रा

  • Ohadi : मांई दंते‌श्वरी की दंतेवाड़ा विदाई और प्रस्थान का आयोजनfinally on the last day, Ohadi, a farewell to the Deities.

One crucial ritual the Kumdakote ceremony or Nayakhani 

On the 12th day of Dussehra as it was celebrated in royal times, the king was ‘kidnapped’ to a place called Kumdakote, to the east of Jagdalpur, where the people presented him with gifts of cash, game, fruit, brooms, mats, and hawks. The practice was known as Joharni, johar being a term of greeting in Halbi. It was also a time when the king partook of new grains (Nayakhani).

In the context of the quick-ripening millet and coarse paddy grains of the shifting cultivation cycle that was prevalent all over Bastar, Dussehra made sense as a harvest festival. The Mawli Priest claimed in a 1992 interview that the offering of forest produce was intended to reassure the king that neither the people nor he would starve, even during drought. According to Menon (1938), the tribals felt aggrieved that, despite being the majority of the king’s subjects, they could not take part in the essentially Hindu celebrations. They wanted their own Dussehra, ‘which, they said, could only be held in their own home, the jungle’. So they kidnapped the king when asleep and took him and his chariot to Kumdakote, which was a dense jungle then. The king came to some understanding with them, and rode the chariot back in triumph. In yet another interpretation, one might read the offering of grains and first-fruits as a symbolic assertion of the people’s rights to the forest in the first place.

The Kumdakote Nayakhani reveals Dussehra as an act of negotiation between people and king. The king legitimized his own position as essential to the well-being of the land through the ritual eating of the first grains and fruit, sacrifices, and other rituals. The people, in turn, subordinated the kingship to their own ends of agricultural prosperity. Through this, they also asserted their rights to the land and its produce, and the king’s dependence on them for his own livelihood.

Bastar Dashahra : History

Dussehra in Bastar has always been a performative act of legitimation. Within the agricultural mode of production, Dussehra was an extension of the village jatra, local festivals necessary to preserve fertility and avoid sickness.

The king was seen as necessary to the performance of this function for the kingdom as a whole. Danteswari, as the tutelary goddess of the Kakatiya king, performed the role of a village mother goddess at state level. However, the manner in which she came to be regarded as chief goddess, by accommodating local mother goddess rituals, as well as the goddess of the defeated Naga kings, Manikeswari, indicates the manner in which ritual was imbricated in the establishment of royal hegemony.

During Dussehra, every single group in the kingdom, however small in number, has some role to play. Certain functions are carried out on a caste basis and certain others on a regional basis. For instance, a village which has been assigned to bring wood may have several castes, all of which are involved in the task. Until the middle of the twentieth century, the villages in a pargana would pool resources and send rice, goats, and other presents to the king through the majhi. Certain parganas contributed supplies, while others contributed labour.

The clearest example of how the kingdom is integrated through Dussehra comes in the making of the two chariots which are required to make a circuit round the centre of the town during Dussehra. Every year, one of the chariots is made afresh. The wood for the base is brought by one set of villages, while that for the roof is brought by another; a third group brings the coal for smelting the iron used in joints, while a fourth set brings the creepers to make chariot ropes. In all, some seventy-two villages appear to be involved in bringing construction materials for the chariots alone, and several more are associated with making them and pulling them through the streets of the town.

Through the incorporation of different groups as participants and contributors in ritual, the Kakatiyas ensured their contribution in terms of corvée and revenue to the more mundane and regulated aspects of state construction and sustenance. For instance, throughout the state every village maintained a resthouse and two village functionaries to serve the needs of visiting officials. several villages contributed labour and supplies to the royal household. The latter was the real service the people performed for the state, but its ritual
overlay, Dussehra, came to be seen as equally central to the continued existence of the polity. The mechanisms of mobilization for everyday corvée and Dussehra were essentially the same, through village institutions and, in the case of Dussehra, upwards through the pargana majhi.

The central theme of the Dussehra festival, taken generically, is said to be the worship of the goddess by the king on behalf of the kingdom, in order to ensure its well-being. However, the various rituals of Dussehra in Bastar are multi-layered accretions of different meanings going back to different historical periods and events and drawing upon different ensembles of tradition, some pan-Indian and high-Hindu, and some specific to Bastar.

Bastar Dashahra : Location

This place is located in Jagdalpur Bastar District Chhattisgarh(Check CG districts map)

Air: (Check Chhattisgarh Airmap)

From Raipur Airport: by Car.

Train: (Check Chhattisgarh Trainmap)

Jagdalpur Station

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