Sital Sasthi: Divine Marriage Of Shiva & Parbati Solemnised

Bhubaneswar: Like every year, the divine wedding of Lord Shiva and goddess Parbati was solemnized as per the Vedic rituals on the auspicious occasion of Sital Sasthi in Sambalpur, Bhubaneswar and other parts of the state late on Monday night.

The much awaited marriage of Mother Parvati with Lord Shiva was solemnized in different places of Sambalpur town and suburbs with gaiety and grandeur on the wee hour today. Sambalpur is the only place in the state where Sital Sasthi, a grand festival celebrated with total devotion and sanctity amidst chanting of matra and sloka by the purohit (priest).

The marriage of Shiva and Parvati is celebrated as Sitalsasthi,a major festival of Utkal Brahmins since ages.  It was started 400 odd years ago in Sambalpur after the king of Sambalpur brought Utkal Srotriya Vaidika Brahmins from Brahmin sasana villages of Puri district.The localities of Nandapada is oldest seat of these brahmins.They first started Sitalsasti Utsav  This Hindu festival is in the form of a carnival.

Sitalsasthi is observed to celebrate the marriage of Gouri and Shankar – as depicted in the Shiva Purana. When Tarakasur was causing terror and devastation all over the world(Swarga, Martiya and Patala),  all the Devata’s approached Vishnu to find out a solution. Vishnu was undone; as Bramha had bestowed a boon that Tarakasura can only be killed by the son of Shiva. Tarakasura knew it well that after the death of his first wife, Sati (Dakshayani), Shiva was left bereft, withdrew from the world and roamed in the wilderness living a life of austerity and would never have a son; further Shiva was in deep meditation. Vishnu suggested all the Devatas to approach Shakti and request her to take birth as Parvati. On the request of all the Devatas Shakti reincarnate herself as Sati (Parvati) born as the daughter of Himalaya and grew into a supremely beautiful young woman. Narada told many stories of Shiva to Parvati and persuaded her to seek Shiva in marriage.  Parvati set in meditation, but even after ages passed Shiva’s meditation could not be broken. Again all the Devatas approached Vishnu to solve the problem. Suggested by Vishnu, Kamadeva took his bow and threw kamabana(Love Arrow) at Shiva. Shiva woke up and opened his third eye and burnt Kamadeva as a punishment; since then Kamadeva took the shape of Ananga. But as a result of this Parvati’s meditation was fulfilled

Like traditional marriage, the bride’s father gives dowry including jewellery, furniture and utensils. All members of the baraat are offered food and during the return baraat, the city wears a carnival look. The carnival will begin on Tuesday night and conclude on Wednesday afternoon.
This year, Panchanan Sahu and his wife Minkshi of Deheripali are acting as in-laws of Loknath Baba of Jharuapada while Nilamani Bidyadhar and Labanya of Hatpada are donning the role of in-laws of Balunkeswar Baba of Nandapada. Likewise, Pradipta Sushari and Kunupriya of Mudipada are performing the role of in-laws of Jageswar Baba of Mudipada.

Originally, the festival was started at Somnath Temple at Balibandha in the city and later organised at Balunkeswar Baba temple. In due course, marriage of Loknath Baba was also solemnised and the temple of Jageswar Baba joined the celebrations in 1978. This apart, the divine marriage is performed for Koshaleswar Baba of Budharaja, Gupteswar Baba of Thakurpada, Sitaleswar Baba of Badbazar besides Sapaneswar Baba of Sakhipada.

It is blessing of that mother who is our daughter today. We feel really fortunate to give the hands of our daughter (Parvati) to Lord Shiva who are otherwise called as Prakriti and Purusha in the Hindu mythology, said Dr Dhar and Mrs Padhi with tearful eyes. Similar was the environment in the houses of all other Kanyapita who celebrated this celestial occasion in their own houses or Kalyan Mandaps of the town.

On the occasion, wedding processions were taken from various Shivalayas with pomp and celebrations. The groom reached the bride’s house in a grand procession. The couple, who performed the role of Parbati’s parents, offered the hand of their daughter to Lord Shiva. The marriage ended with the tying of the couple’s hands with a sacred thread amidst recital of Vedic chants by priests.

Another procession, which marks the homecoming of the deities after the marriage, will be held tonight. The festival was also celebrated in several other parts of the state, including Bolangir and Bhubaneswar. In the capital city, Lord Lingaraj’s marriage was solemnised with goddess Parvati at Kedareswar Temple amidst fanfare.

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