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7 Famous Festivals of Odisha that Exudes Warmth and Diversity

There are plenty of major festivals that are celebrated with great zeal in every part of India and there are some festivals that are regional being peculiar to each state. Likewise, there are some famous festivals of Odisha that depicts the regional ethnicity and also add the much-needed zing to the mundane. 

And with this blog, Adotrip will take you a step forward to the land of Temples where you can savor the customs and traditions that bind distinct communities in a cultural cocoon.

7 Famous Festivals of Odisha

Enjoy the idiosyncrasies of the local culture of the state and immerse yourself in elation at the land where every single festival is celebrated with warmth and exuberance. These vibrant festivals of Odisha bring with them reasons to rejoice and stay knitted. Scroll down to know the significance and mythological fables attached to these festivals and events of India:

1. Ratha Yatra

Jagannath Ratha Yatra is the famous festival of Odisha. It is the most awaited festival in India due to its historical and religious significance. Also being mentioned in the Puranas, the nine-day festival commemorates Lord Jagannath’s annual visit to his birthplace along with his elder brother Balabhadra and sister Subhadra. 18 days before the Ratha Yatra, a ritual of Snana Purnima marks the beginning of the festival. On this day the three deities are given a ceremonial bath with 108 pitchers of water in an open platform known as Snana Bedi. Thereafter they retire for 15 days and after the isolation, the Deities are taken out of their temples and placed on the temple-like chariots that are as huge as 45 feet in a colorful procession to meet their devotees. 

From here the Rath Yatra begins and the devotees pull the chariots to Gundicha Temple where the deities reside for nine days before carrying them back to Puri in a similar procession called the Bahuda Yatra. On the way back, the deities take a halt at their aunt's abode, Mausi Maa Temple, and are served with Poda Pitha. The arrival of Deities back to their sanctum sanctorum marks the end of the Rath yatra. The grand festival of chariots is attended by a massive number of devotees from all over the world annually. They flock to get a glimpse of the deities, even to touch the chariot, which is considered to be very auspicious. 

2. Kalinga Mahotsav

A three-day festival, Kalinga Mahotsav is also known as the festival of Martial dance. It is the brainchild of Italian Odissi dancer Ileana Citaristi who is now settled in Bhubaneswar. Since 2003, the festival is celebrated annually in the month of January-February to pay tribute to the Kalinga war. It is organized at the footstep of the Dhauli stupa, the land where the great emperor Ashoka fought the last battle of his life. The battle of Kalinga enlightened him with the futility of bloodshed for mere accumulation of wealth and with that, he surrendered his sword to embrace Buddhism. 

The extravaganza displays the ancient tradition of the fighting system, martial art through dance and music. Artists from different parts of the country gather to display live performances of the distinct art forms of India such as Chhau and Paika from Odisha, Kalaripayattu from Kerala, Rajbanshi from West Bengal, Mallakhamb Dance from Puri, and Thang Ta from Manipur. The incitement behind this unique festival is to fuse and integrate the verve of both martial traditions with the art of dance to spread the message of peace and harmony.

3. Konark Dance Festival

Held at the epodic land of Konark in an open to sky auditorium overlooking the eulogizing Sun temple, Konark Dance Festival is the most opulent dance festival not only in Odisha but in India. The hair raising rhythm of the ancient classical drums -mridangam and mandala chiming in with manjira, flute, and mellifluous sound of the ghungroos reverberates the ambiance and transcends the spectators into a different world. The artists of the avant-garde from all over the country participate in the cultural extravaganza to display and promote the traditional Indian heritage of dance through a weeklong celebration.