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Festivals of Odisha
 
Rath Yatra (July)
The biggest and the grandest of all festivals, the highlight is the sacred journey of the statues of the Lord Jagannath of Puri with brother Balabhadra and sister Subhadra from main temple to Gundicha Temple, where they remain for nine days. The mammoth wooden chariots carrying the three deities pulled by thousands of devotees, present a spectacular scene. The yatra (journey) begins on the second day of the lunar month (asadha). The Rath Yatra is also known as Car Festival. An annual festival commemorates the journey of Krishna from Gokul to Mathura. It also symbolizes a journey to light from the dark, which commences on the 2nd day of the bright fortnight in the month of Asadha (June/July). Lakhs of devotees converge to the city to join festivities lasting for nine days. In this journey, thousands haul the three huge rathas (chariots) carrying statues of Jagannath, his brother Balabhadra and sister Subhadra, down Grand road to the Gundicha Temple - just 2 km away in Puri, Orissa.
 
Chaita Parva (April)
Chaita Parva is one of the most celebrated tribal festivals in Orissa. Replete with animal sacrifices, singing, drinking and dances, Chaita Parva is also your gateway to discover the age-old traditions of tribal communities in Orissa, India, before most of them disbanded to join the modern world. Tourism of Orissa offers you a chance to explore Orissa through its intriguing tribal festivals and fairs on your tour of festivals in Orissa.
 
Bali Yatra (November/December)
Exactly on the dates of Karam Festival, the tribal people of Koraput observe the festival of Bali Jatra. Beginning from the eleventh day of the bright half of the month of Bhadrab it continues upto the full-moon. The beginning of the festival begins with Nuakhai (first eating) feast on which new rice is eaten. The festival takes the name for planting of various grains in the wet sand (Bali) brought from a nearby stream and is placed on a structure called Balijatra or sand house. This is an occasion for a number of other celebrations too. Men and women put on fancy dresses and rejoice with drinking, feasting, dancing and singing. In some areas a swing is set up with its seat studded with sharp nails and on this a Bejju (witch doctor) is made to swing. Goats, fowls and pigeons are sacrificed. The Bejju then walks on the bed of live charcoal. He dances in trance for all the three days with intermittent rest during which he prophesies both good and evil portends to grant boons to the people.
 
Puri Beach Festival (November)
Puri Beach Festival, with Tourism of Orissa tour packages, presents a vivid view of Orissa's artistic heritage and contemporary way of life. Puri Beach Festival is modeled on the Goa fair, the festival has its own vigor, and affirmative feelings that will make you drop your stresses and take pleasure in every solitary moment of your stay in Puri, Orissa. Puri Beach Festival is held over 5 days, in the month of November, on the Puri beach that is a well-liked sightseer and pilgrimage target on its own. Visit during festival season and watch how the admired Puri Beach is changed into the brightly lit multicolored place for the Puri Beach Festival. The carnival gives you a possibility to discover the tinges of the population of Puri, Orissa, who put on show a deep-seated attitude towards shifting ambience and are yet profoundly spiritual and conventional at heart.
 
Konark Festival (February)
The Konark Dance and Music Festival has been organized for the past 24 years (1986) by personal effort of Guru Gangadhar Pradhan, a Padmashree Awardee, cultural and social Activist and founder/director of Konark Natya Mandap situated at Arka Vihar, Konark. The KNM has an open air theatre, a prototype of Konark Temple where Konark Dance and Music Festival has been organised every year to popularize rich cultural heritage of Orissa. Konark Dance and Music Festival is a great platform to perform both by professional and upcoming artistes thereby creating an unique cultural exchange and national integration.
 
Kalinga Festival (February)
Kalinga Mahotsav or the National Festival of Martial Dance is celebrated to pay tribute to the Kalinga. It shows the vibrant traditions of martial art of India through dance and music. It is in the essence to mark the victory of peace over war. It took place on the outskirts of Bhubaneswar at Dhauli Shanti Stupa on the 10th and 11th of January this year. This Mahotsav attracts Martial artists from all over India.
 
Holi (March)
The tradition followed in Orissa is quite similar to that of West Bengal with only minor region specific changes. For instance, Holi assumes the name of 'Dol Purnima' here also, but instead of placing the idols of Krishna and Radha on the swing they place the idol of Lord Jagannath. This is so because of the famous temple of Jagannath at Puri. Besides, Jagannath is only a synonym of Krishna. The palanquin - with the idol of Lord Jagannath on it is taken out in a procession around the main streets of the city. Devotees take turn to swing it while women dance around it and sing devotional songs. All this while men keep spraying coloured water and colour powder, 'abeer' at them.
 
Durga Puja (September/October)
Worship to the goddess of power is celebrated by the entire Hindu fraternity in general and Bengalis in particular in the form of Durga puja. The clay idol of the goddess is decorated with immaculate decorative pieces, tiny lights and beautiful flowers. The goddess sitting on a lion is shown killing the 'Buffalo Demon' - Mahishasura accompanied by her two sons, Lord Ganesha and Kartikeya, and two daughters Goddess Laxmi and Saraswati presents a really powerful picture standing true to its synonym 'Goddess of Power.' The arti ceremony that takes place early every morning and evening is a grand affair where the praises of the goddess are sung describing her gumption and valor. The sweet fragrance of incense adds to the charm.
 
Shivrartri (February)
The auspicious festival of Maha Shivaratri is celebrated with devotion and religious fervor all over India and even beyond. Though fasting and worship of Shiva Linga with a ritual bath remain the common feature of Shivaratri celebrations at all places, minor variations due to regional difference can be observed in some states.
 
Diwali (November)
There's not much different about Diwali Festival Celebrations in Orissa. Rows of oil lamps, candles and lanterns adorn the thresholds of all houses. Crackers are burst, sweetmeals are relished and distributed. It could be akin to Diwali Festival anywhere else in India, save for one small ritual. It is a ritual that calls upon the spirits of the family's forefathers. Jute stems are burnt to light up the dark path that the spirits of the ancestors take back to heaven. All the members of the household gather together just after dusk. A rangoli of a sailboat is made on the ground. The boat has seven chambers. Over the drawing of each different chamber several items are kept - cotton, mustard, salt, asparagus root, turmeric and a wild creeper. Over the central chamber are the offerings meant for prasad. Perched over the prasad is a jute stem with a cloth wick tied around the edge.
 
Dusshera (October)
In Cuttack, the celebration of Durga Puja (Dussehra) is particularly vibrant with the images of the Goddess being dressed most exquisitely and finally being carried in a colourful procession for immersion in the river.
 
Gajalaxmi Puja (September/October)
The festival is especially known for its significance to unmarried girls and boys. Gajalaxmi Puja also known as Kumar Puja is specifically popular in the state of Orissa. The main deities worshipped on this day are the Sun and the Moon. Unmarried girls take an early morning bath, followed by draping new clothes, ornaments and accessories. In the day time they offer prayers and offerings to the Sun. After following these rituals, they prepare some delicious food-dishes. On an all, this day is extremely important for them and they enjoy in full swing.
 
Bada Osha (September/October)
Dhabaleswar, Temple of Lord Mahadeva in the state of Orissa is an extremely famous and known among the localites of the state. The festival of Bada Osha is essentially a “Festival of Fasting” celebrated in the month of Kartik. Orissa is famous for its culture and traditions. As a state it witnesses a number of religions, temples, shrines and tribes all fusing to blend in a rich state of traditions.
 
Bali Yatra (November/December)
Bali Yatra Festival in Orissa marks the culmination of all the religious festivities held in the month of Karthik, which is considered the most auspicious month of the 12 months in a calendar year. Held on the full moon day in November/December that is celebrated all over Orissa as Karthik Purnima, Bali Yatra commemorates Orissa's ancient maritime legacy.Karthik Purnima was considered the most auspicious day by the traders (sadhabas) of Orissa to venture on a journey to distant lands namely the islands of Bali, Java, Sumatra, Borneo and Ceylon (Sri Lanka). Tourism of Orissa offers tours to Orissa during the Bali Yatra fair and festival so that you can get a glimpse of Orissa's rich cultural history and colorfully vibrant present on your tour of Festivals in Orissa.
 
Mondei Festival (November)
The festival of Mondei is an extremely popular festival celebrated in the Nabarangpur district of Orissa. The celebration of the festival can well be understood from its nomenclature as the name Mondei is derived from the Hindi word “Mondi” that means a small market place. Mondei Festival witnesses a large congregation of devotees from all over India, who worship a common deity. This offering of prayers to deity is done amidst traditional rituals and customs. The festival celebrations are accompanied with a fair organized by the localites. Apart from the traditional rituals and customs there are Dance and Music performances that are held every year.
 
Parab Tribal Festival (January)
Parab Tribal Festival, known as the 'festival of festivals', is not merely a showcase of the rich tribal culture of Koraput Orissa, but it also serves as a forum for the various tribes, with distinct cultures and life experiences, to interact and work towards preserving their indigenous cultural heritage - arts, handicrafts, traditions etc. You too can tour Koraput during the Parab Tribal Festival with Tourism of Orissa tour packages.
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