It was an unusual day today in Kurla Pipe Line road at Satya Nagar area of Sakinaka in Mumbai. The road which houses Sri Jagannath Temple, went festive with colours and crowed from early morning due to Savitree brata , a popular annual festival being observed by married Odia women. Over 500 Odia women from different locations of Mumbai had visited Sri Jagannath Temple for Savitree from early morning to perform puja near the idols of Goddess Savitree which is also instituted in the temple premises. The Savitree brat has roots in Satya Yug. There is a popular legend linked to this. Savitree, a princess, had married to Satyavan, a prince whose blind father had lost kingdom and was living in forest.
Asper the mythological tale, she had married Satyavan even knowing the exact date of his early death. Satyavan died after a year of his marriage. After the death of her husband, she saw Yama, the God of death, himself had come to claim his husband’s soul. The story describes Savitree as a sati ( loyal to husband ) and intellectual fighter. The story says, after seeing Yama, she prayed him to return her husband. But Yama expressed his inability and started carrying her husband’s soul to Yampur, the land of death. She did not stop from perusing. She followed him and continues her prayer for her husband’s life. Impressed with her determination, Yam said, “I will give you two gift; you can ask for anything except the life of Satyavan as nobody can stop death.”
For the first gift, she prayed for eyesights and kingdom for her father-in-law. For the second, she cleverly prayed for a hundred sons. Without thinking, the all powerful God of death granted her both prayer. At this Savitree asked Yama to return her husband because without him, she could not bear any son. She could trap Yama in his own words. Defeated, Yama returned Satyavan to Savitree.
There are many interpretation of this story by many in the form of books, films and plays. But Savitree brat continues to rekindle loyalty and love between husband and wife. After Puja, a wife touches her husband’s feet for re-establishing her loyalty to her husband. She also observes fast in remembrance of Satyavan-Savitree story.
Away from Odisha, the Mumbai Odia married women continue to observe the Savitree Brat every year in the premises of Sri Jagannath Temple in Sakinaka. In addition to Savitree brat, Sri Jagannath Temple also acts as a platform to help Mumbai based Odias to continue their cultural and traditional practices like Rath Yatra and Kumar Purnima .
Happy Savitree wishes to all .