19 Mar 2023  |   05:37am IST

Sotrio festival demonstrates age-old Hindu Catholic cultural and religious unity

Members of both the communities attended the festival in large numbers
Sotrio festival demonstrates age-old Hindu Catholic cultural and religious unity

Vijay Dessai

The annual Sotrio festival of Shri Shantadurga Kukallikarin Sansthan was celebrated on March12 with zeal and enthusiasm. This year record breaking crowd of devotees attended the festival and took blessings of Godess Kuncolukarin by offering Gulal to Godess Kunkallikarin and also danced with twelve sotrios (umbrellas) to the tune of traditional music of drums and tashes.

This year thousands of devotees participated in Sotrio procession. Last three years due to Covid the festival was held with restrictions. This year since there was no Covid fear devotees came in large number to take Darshan of goddess.

The palanquin procession of Goddess Shantadurga Cunkolikarin was started from Shree Shantadurga Sansthan Fatorpa at 12.15 after the religious rituals. The palanquin reached at the original place MULSTHAN Taleabhat Cuncolim at 4.30 pm. The palanquin of the Goddess was held till 6pm. At Taleabhat the mulsthan hundreds of devotees offered gulal and took blessings from the Goddess. Devotees expressed their happiness and wished each other by applying gulal on each other face.

Procession started from Fatorpa at 12.15 noon by traditional Govidghati way.

On the way Pakkhi stopped at different places like Mallagini, Juzengal, Siddhanagar, Naigilo, Bhivasa and Vhodi to bless devotees who were waiting to offer gulal and to take darshan of goddess.

Devotees danced to the tune of Dhol Tasha and with twelve umbrellas of twelve vangods.They offering a gift of coconut offering. Goddess Shantadurga Kukallikarin Sansthan has a long tradition and history. When the Portuguese started conversion in the state in the early 16th century, Cuncolkars fought for Swadharma and Swarajya. At the same time, Godess Shantadurga Cunkolikarim was shifted to a safer place Fatorpa for protection of Dharma. From then the Godess was settled at Fatorpa and every year the Goddess visits her MULSTHAN Taleabhat on the day of Panchami of falgun month.

It is said the Goddess gave a vision to the devotees and ordered to get her back to MULSTHAN Taleabhat on every Falgun Panchami in the presence of Bara Vagadi and Twelve umbrellas.

This festival has a unique history of Christian Hindu Unity. Christian devotees also take part in this festival with great enthusiasm. This festival, which is an example of Hindu-Christian religious unity. Palkhi procession is passing through the catholic majority areas like jhujhegal, Biunsa, Voddi and salemado catholic devotees welcomed godess by eracting arcs and decorating the ped were Devis palkhi is kept.

Retired SP Tony Fernandes, Retired SP Samy Tavares, NUSI academy adminstrator Neeraj Aguiar, Sociedade elected member and Chieftains trust president Oscar Martins, business man Wandy Gomes and hundreds of Catholics devotees were with pakkhi procession in traditional dress.