The state of Orissa has many holy places and hence there are many festivals that are associated with them. These festivals are mesmerizing with raw energy, religious zeal and tribal colours. In many cases the religious undercurrent unites the traditional dances, music with the festivities of Orissa.
The festive tours of Orissa comprises of many famous festivals like Rath Yatra of Jagannath, Chaitra Parv, Bali Yatra, Kalinga Mahotsav, Konark Festival, and Puri Beach Festival. The festivals in Orissa also include conventional festivities like Durga Puja, Maha Shivaratri, Dusherra and Diwali.
The most famous of the festivals in Orissa is the Rath Yatra or the Chariot festival of Jagannath, Puri. The festival marks the journey of the Gods- Jagannath, Balbhadra and Subhadra- to their aunt's house for their annual week-long sojourn. The festival commences from Jagannatha Temple, which is the home for the idols of these Gods, and culminates at their aunt's house, Gundicha Ghar. Here the idols of Jagannath, Balbhadra and Subhadra are placed in their respective ornate chariots, and drove by thousands of devotees to their aunt's house at Gundicha Ghar, 3 km away. However, this 3 km journey is filled with joyous festivity and colours of exuberance, and a sea of crowd swells on the streets with devotional chants of the crowd ranting through the air.
Puri Beach festival is another attraction of the festive tours of Orissa. Puri beach is the venue for this festival. You can enjoy cultural events, classical and folk dance performances, sand sculptures, handicrafts, food, rock concerts, DJs, beach parties and fashion shows at this festival. Puri Beach Festival has everything that establishes it as an international festival. Kalinga Mahotsav is the National Festival of Martial Dance. This is celebrated to mark the victory of peace over war. It is a tribute to the Buddhist philosophy. At Dhauli, emperor Ashoka realized the hollowness of his victory and power. A Buddhist monk rescued King Ashoka from his despair and led him to the journey of enlightenment. The festival is organized on the first and second of February, every year in Dhauli. At this Mahotsav one can witness the various martial dance performances like Chho, Paika, Thang Ta and Kaariyattu, which are part of the Indian folk culture.
Konark festival or the Konark Dance Festival is famous for its classical dance recitals. This festival is held usually in the first week of February. The festival is held in the Natya Mandir (dance hall) of the Sun Temple Complex. You can enjoy the various dance forms like Odissi, Bharanatyam, Manipuri, Kathak and Chau, by expert dancers at this festival. The leading classical dancers, art connoisseurs, and tourists attend this festival.
Bali Yatra celebrates Orissa’s ancient maritime legacy. Bali Yatra is held on Kartik Purnima, a day which is supposed to be auspicious to commence a journey to distant lands. The people used huge boats called boita to cross the sea in ancient times. To commemorate this legacy, people of Orissa float small boats made of cork, colored paper and banana tree barks in rivers and tanks. The ritual of launching paper boats with lit lamps in them is a marvelous sight. Bali Yatra is attended by thousands of enthusiasts and tourists.
Chaitra Parva is celebrated by tribal communities of Koya and Bhuiyans in the Hindu month of Chaitra. Mother Earth is worshiped in the form of Gudi Mata, in this festival. The festival is marked with the beautiful tribal dance.
Last Updated On: 2011/07/14