The ritual of Bithai has been going on for about 600 years.
This ritual of Jogi Bithai is performed on Ashwin Shuklapaksha in the local Sirhasar.
According to tradition, a young man from the Jogi family, a resident of Bade Amabal, keeps fast for 9 days every year and sits in yoga posture at a certain place in Sirhasar Bhavan.
Navratri program starts in Bastar Dussehra from Ashwin Shukla Pratham.
Kalash is established on the first day of Navratri.
In Danteshwari temple of Jagdalpur, Havan puja continues for nine days.
On the first day of Navratri, the program of ‘Jogi Bithai’ takes place in Sirasar Bhawan. In this program, a person from Aamabal village is made to sit as a Jogi as per the rituals. In the Sirasar Bhawan, a hole is dug big enough to fit a man inside.
After worshiping Mavli Devi, the Jogi is made to sit in it.
The main objective of this penance is to conduct the Dussehra festival peacefully and uninterruptedly.
History of Jogi Bithai
There is a legend associated with this ritual.
According to the belief, years ago during Dussehra, a young man of “Halba caste” had sat on waterless fast in penance near the palace in Jagdalpur.
During Dussehra, when the then Maharaja “Praveerchand Bhanjdev” got information about the young man sitting in a silent state without eating or drinking anything for nine days, he himself came to Yogi to meet the young man, and asked him the reason for sitting on penance… Yogi Told that, he has done this penance to ensure that the Dussehra festival ends peacefully and without any hindrance.
After this, the king decided to carry forward this tradition by getting “Sirhasar Bhawan” constructed for the Yogi at some distance from the palace. Since then, every year continuously, in this ritual, a young man of “Halba caste” disguises himself as a jogi and sits on penance for nine days. This tradition continues even today.
After the Jogi Bithai ritual, the Rath Yatra begins to circumambulate Danteshwari Mai and continues until Panchami. The Rath Parikrama during Bastar Dussehra is considered the pride and identity of the festival. A large number of devotees come from far and wide to witness the chariot being pulled on a fixed route in Jagdalpur every day.
In this chariot, the umbrella of Goddess Danteshwari is placed by the priest.
And they are worshipped also then they are saluted.
The rope of the full chariot is made from the bark of a tree called Siyari by the people of Karanji Kesar Pal and Sonabaal villages.
The rope of the Phur Rath is pulled every day by people from different villages.
This work is done by people from “32 villages of Bastar tehsil and 4 villages of Tokapal tehsil”.
During this time, a different kind of enthusiasm is seen among those people.
During this time, dance, music, musical instruments and the sound of music keep resonating all around and every day after evening, the chariot stops in front of the Singh Gate.
After this, the umbrella of Danteshwari Devi is also installed back in the temple.
In this way, the chariot is also for six consecutive days.
And Bel Puja is also organized on Ashwin Shukla Saptami.
So,After Kachingadi the most important ritual in Bastar Dussehra is Jogi Bithai.