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Culture of Odisha

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Culture of Odisha

Apart from its architectural marvels, beautiful and scenic locations, tourist attractions, abundant natural wealth, the state of Odisha is also known for its exquisite, unique and vibrant culture and is truly a pride for India. People belonging to various religions and castes live together in peace and harmony with each other. They celebrate various festivals and fairs with pomp and gaiety, adding to the cultural exquisiteness of this state. The rich historic traditions and cultural heritage are reflected through various celebrations accompanied by folk songs and music, arts and crafts, architecture, practices and lifestyle of the people here.

Culture of Odisha

Oriya, one of the oldest languages in India is the official language of this state and is spoken by majority of the population here. It bears a close resemblance to Maithili, Bengali and Assamese languages. English is widely spoken among the educated masses and visitors. Other languages that are popular among the people in Odisha include Hindi, Urdu, Telugu, Bengali etc.

Arts and Crafts of Odisha

When it comes to art and craft forms, the artisans of Odisha are widely appreciated for their talent and creativity. The rich and varied cultural heritage of this state is reflected through its vibrant and artistic and alluring handicrafts. Under the patronage of various rulers, diverse and beautiful art and craft forms have flourished in this region and bear in them strong imprints of various religions along with subtle, yet firm influences of tribal culture and traditions. For the art lovers, this state is thus a treasure trove of souvenirs, that appeal to the modern tastes of the younger generation, yet retain their ancient cultural and traditional essence.

Silver Filigree

The intricate silver filigree works, called as ‘Tarakasi’, is quite popular in the Cuttack district of Odisha. Rich in patterns and exquisite designs, anklets, arm jewellery, necklaces, toe rings are quite popular and are in great demand, especially among the tourists visiting Odisha. The jewellery worn in the classical dance of Odissi, as well as the jewellery used as the backdrop in pandals as well as to adorn Goddess Durga, during Durga Puja is usually made out of Tarakasi work.

Applique Work

Pipli in Odisha state is said to be the birth place of applique work. Dating back to about 850 years, this vibrant and colourful art form of Odisha is a manifestation of the rich and varied culture and traditions and craftsmanship of the local artisans in Odisha. Applique objects including canopies used during festivals and in temples, lamp shades, garden and beach umbrellas, kitchen accessories, bed and table linen, handbags and other furnishing items are available in plenty in Pipli, Bhubaneshwar and other adjoining areas.

Wood Carvings

Wooden works are among the most sought after handicrafts in Odisha. The toil and meticulous efforts of the skilled artisans here are reflected through the intricate and exquisite designs and carvings on the wood work, that catch the fancy of the visitors.  Apart from utilitarian items like bowls, plates, and ashtrays, various other items including statues of gods, toys, masks, boxes are in great demand among the tourists visiting Odisha. The beautiful wood carvings on the temple ceilings, beams and doors and motifs can be witnessed at Charchika temple, Buguda, Banki, Birnchinarayan temple, Kapilas, Siva temple and the Laxmi Nrusingha temple at Berhampur.

Weaving

The weavers of Odisha are known for their distinctive style and painstaking efforts, that are exhibited in the fabrics. The ‘Ikat’ fabric created using the intricate ‘dye and tie’ technique is popular all over the world. The tussar silk fabrics of Sambalpur, Berhampur, Mayurbhanj and Nuapatna in Odisha are known for their unmatched beauty and striking features. The Bomkai cotton saris from Ganjam district are known for their bright tribal patterns and designs. Similarly, different regions in Odisha have their own style of weaving and make different types and patterns of textiles.

Stone carving

When it comes to stone carving, the accuracy and precision of the artisans in Odisha are unparalleled. Through intricate carvings, these craftsmen have the capability to bring to life even the mute stones. The stone carvings in Puri and Konark Temples in Odisha speak volumes about the craftsmanship and skill of the stone carvers in Odisha. While in Odisha, do visit Bhubaneshwar, Lalitgiri, Puri, Khiching to experience the magic of the enchanting stone carvings here.

Sculptures of Odisha

The culturally exquisite state of Odisha is known for its rich temple sculptures, with aesthetic and artistic images and decorative motifs. The temple sculptures of Konark temple depict the architectural brilliance and eloquence of the sculptors here. The majesty and beauty of the sculptures here tend to captivate and enthrall the audience here and the charm exuded from these sculptures is perceived as the remainder of the brilliant artistic sculpture prevalent in Odisha.

Buddhist Sculpture in Odisha

Buddhist Temple Sculptures in Odisha

The Buddhist sculptural art form was given an impetus in Odisha under the patronage of Emperor Ashoka, during the period from 261 BC to about 12th Century AD. The early medieval Odishan sculptures include various stupas, monasteries, small Buddhist images, depiction of Boddhisatva and Avalokiteswara in various forms etc. The flawless Buddhist sculptures of Lalitgiri, Udayagiri and Ratnagiri reflect the artistic brilliance and genius of the artists. Apart from Buddhism, sculptures pertaining to various other sects including Hinduism, Shaivism, Vaishnavism and Shaktism, depicted by various forms of goddess Durga can be observed in the temples here.

Temple Sculpture in Odisha

The temple sculpture in Odisha mainly consists of the cult images and decorative motifs adorning the walls of the temples. The images of Ganesh, Kartikeya and Durga on the walls of Siva temple, called as Trivikra Nrusimha, Varaha and the ten avatars on the walls of the Vishnu Temple are a must see, for those who wish to get a glimpse of the grandeur of Odishan sculpture. The scuptures of yakshas and yakhis, nayika and mithuna figures, processions with musicians, elephants, horses, soldiers, human figures, as well as those based on ordinary themes like hunting, dancing, games, family life can be seen in the temples. Erotic sculptures, semi – divine beings, fables and stories, various flora and fauna are depicted in a highly realistic manner in the temples. The beautiful sculptures of Muktesvara, Rajarani and Lingaraja temples in Odisha exude a charm that captivates the visitors and takes them into a dream like trance.

Architecture in Odisha

Being a land of temples, the temple architecture of Odisha is renowned world-wide for its splendour and grandeur. The Kalinga style of architecture consisting of three different types of temples, namely, Rekha Deula, Pidha Deula and Khakhara Deula can be found in the state of architecture. A temple belonging to the Kalinga style of architecture consists of the main shrine along with a frontal porch. There is an assembly hall called as Jagamohana, where devotees gather together. The main shrine has the deity and is constructed on a square base, with a curvilinear tower and is called as rekha deula. The frontal porch is built on a rectangular base and its roof consists of pidhas, successively arranged to form a perfect pyramidal structure. Later on, the natya mandira – the dancing hall and the bhogamandapa – a hall of offerings came to be added in the temples.

The architecture of the various temples in Odisha are known for their unparalleled beauty and perfection. The beautiful Mukteshwar Temple of Bhubaneshwar is adorned with a magnificent ceremonial arch in its front and is rightly called as the ‘gem of Odishan architecture’. The Rajarani Temple, set amidst a brilliant backdrop of paddy fields reminds one of the Khajuraho temples, due to its brilliant architecture. The Lingaraja Temple is known for its architecture, chiselled almost to perfection. The Lord Jagannath Temple at Puri, along with its brilliant stone carvings is a perfect reflection of the skill and expertise of the craftsmen in Odisha. One of the finest Ganga monuments in Odisha is the Sun Temple at Konark that appears as a twenty four - wheeled chariot, driven by seven horses. In spite of several modern architectural projects being undertaken in the state, the temple architecture of Odisha still holds a special place world wide for its universal magnetic appeal heritage and extravagance and stands tall and proud as a symbol of Odisha’s distinct cultural heritage.

Folk Songs and Dances of Odisha

The state of Odisha is known for its vivid and rich culture and varied heritage. It is a colourful and vibrant state, known for its distinctive styles of folk art forms. Music and dance form an integral part of the lives of the people here, and thus marriages, family gatherings and get togethers are often accompanied by singing, dancing and merry making. As this state is home to various tribes as well, one can see large variations in folk songs and dances of different regions. These folk art forms carry their own distinct style and reflect the cultural diversity prevalent in this state.

Folk Songs of Odisha

The Odiya music can be said to be a perfect blend of the right kind of ingredients in the right proportion. The folk music of this state is called as ‘Loka Geeta’, and folk songs are sung on different occasions and may differ from one region to other, with respect to their scale, tone, interval etc, with the basic underlying tune remaining standard. Various forms of folk songs including Dalkhai Geeta, Kendra Geeta, Jaiphula Geeta, Balipuja Geeta, Kela Keluni Geeta, Jaiphula Geeta, Gopal Ugala, Osa Parva Geeta etc are passed on from one generation to the next by oral rendition. These songs are sung during significant events in life, with the active participation of all the people belonging to the community. These songs are accompanied by music using various instruments and the enchanting and engaging tune and rhythm of these songs appeal to the popele and strike the right chord with the listeners.

Folk Dances of Odisha

Gotipua Dance

Gotipua Dance in Odisha

It is one of the most famous folk dance forms in Odisha that emerged from the Devdasi tradition. This form of dance is performed by boys, who dress themselves up as girls. This systematic dance form consists of Vandana – a prayer to the teacher and God, Abhinaya – enacting the song and Bandha Nritya, in which the dancers arrange themselves in various acrobatic poses, replicating the forms of Lord Krishna and Radha. This dance thus involves strenuous acrobatics and extensive use of hands and feet and thus requires a great amount of agility and flexibility by the dancers. The songs are sung by the dancers themselves or by separate singers and are supported by musicians playing cymbals, harmonium, flute and violin.

Ghumra Dance

It is one of the most famous and colourful dances that originated in the Kalahandi district of Odisha state. The musical instrument called ‘Ghumra’ is tied around the dancer’s neck and play on the drum, while dancing. Various other instruments including dhol, nishan, madal etc are used, while the songs depict different stories and emotions. This form of dance is extensively performed during various cultural and social events, owing to its fast pace and intricate and co-ordinated steps of the dancers.

Ruk Mar Nacha and Chhau Dance

Popular in the Mayurbhanj district of Odisha, it is a complex and stylised martial arts dance form. There are two groups of dancers with swords and shields, who alternately attack and defend themselves through highly co-ordinated steps and rhythmic intricacies. The central themes of these dance forms include various tales of bravery and valour, from ancient epics like Mahabharata and Ramayana. The dancers are known for their effortless elegance and precision, leaving the audience stupefied. Accompanying music from instruments like mahuri, chad chadi, dhola, dhuma play a prominent role in these dances.

Sambhalpuri Folk Dances

The Sambhalpuri Folk Dances are known for their liveliness, realistic depiction of various human emotions and use of quaint musical instruments including Samprada, Ghumra, Madal, Ghanta Vadya etc. Young unmarried girls of the village perform the Dhalkai dance and invoke the blessings of Goddess Dhalkai, for the welfare of their brothers. Nachnia dance is performed by seasoned male artists, during wedding ceremonies. Bajnia is a colourful, fast paced dance form, performed by men and women dressed in hand-woven Sambalpuri sarees and dhotis. The Chutkichuta Dance is dedicated to Goddess Sambleswari and reflects the rich and varied culture and art forms prevalent in the Sambhalpur region of Odisha. Durla Nacha is an important folk dance performed as a part of the marriage festivities of the tribal communities in Odisha.

Performing Arts in Odisha

Theatre was once a major means of entertainment for the people of Odisha. Jatra theatre performances originated during the Moghul rule. The performances by various experienced artists included plays, dance and music, and were based on various tales from Ramayan and Mahabharat. Later on, musical performances too came to be included along with the plays.

Cinema in Odisha

The Oriya film industry, called as Ollywood is gaining popularity among the Indian masses, due to fresh and meaningful movies being made here. The first Oriya Talkie film, titled Sita Bibaha was made in the year 1936.Although the progress of Oriya Film industry was very slow in the initial years, it gained recognition and fame, especially due to the remarkable contribution of Bengali film makers to Oriyan film industry. Later several meaningful and high budget movies came to be made in Odisha, giving rise to a golden era in the Oriya film industry. Various talented and versatile artists, with their remarkable performances in Ollywood have left indelible impressions in the minds of the viewers. With their achievements and efforts, these artists and technicians have contributed majorly towards the betterment of the Oriya Film industry and helped it gain recognition at the national as well as international level.

Religion in Odisha

The state of Odisha can rightly be called as a melting pot of varied culture and religions. However, the people here are known for their mutual tolerance and respect for each other’s religions and thus live in peace and harmony with each other. People belonging to Islam, Sikhism, Jainism, Buddhism, Vaisnavism, Saivism and other religions live together, in spite of having different customs, traditions, beliefs and religious practices. While the religion of Buddhism gained fame after the War of Kalinga, Vaishnavism flourished under the patronage of the Ganga dynasty rulers. However, majority of the people here are Hindus and Odisha is one of those Indian states with the maximum population of Hindus. With numerous temples scattered all over the state, Hindu festivals like Rath Yatra are popular all over the world and attract people belonging to all religions and sections of the society.

There are several castes and sub castes belonging to the Hindu community. While Brahmins, Khandayats, Karans are believed to be the upper castes, the working castes include weavers, carpenters, blacksmiths, potters, milkmen etc. Though untouchability was prevalent in the ancient era, it has now been abolished and has been replaced with feelings of brotherhood and fraternity. In addition, there exist people belonging to a wide variety of tribes like the Santhals and the Mundas, who follow the tribal faith called as ‘Sarana’. Irrespective of their religions, the people here are known for their moral values and virtues including compassion, tolerance, kindness and hospitality. A visit to cities like Bhubaneswar, Puri and Konark is a must to understand in depth the religious and cultural exquisiteness of this marvellous state.

Festivals of Odisha

India is said to be the land of festivals. Various festivals are celebrated by the people in a grand and pompous manner, forgetting all their religious and cultural differences. Festivals in India thus provide an opportunity to witness the rich and varied Indian culture, at its best. The state of Odisha, known for its vibrancy and cultural exuberance, is home to numerous festivals and celebrations.

Rath Yatra in Odisha

Ratha Yatra

Also called as the ‘Car Festival’, this event in Odisha, associated with Lord Jagannath is one of the most important and sacred festivals celebrated here. Celebrated in June – July every year, this festival signifies the holy journey of Lord Jagannath from the main Jagannath temple along with his sister Subhadra and brother Balabhadra to a shrine called Gundicha Mandir for a period of nine days. Devotees from all over the world throng to Puri to witness this celestial journey and earn their passages to heaven, by pulling the chariot. This massive grand event amidst the spiritual ambience spreads infectious joy and enthusiasm all around and provides the visitors with an out of the world experience.

Durga Puja

Durga Puja is an important festival celebrated to commemorate the victory of good over evil. In Odisha state, especially in Cuttack, this festival is celebrated in a grand and pompous manner. Beautiful images and statues of the Goddess adorn the houses of the people, as they pray to her and perform various rituals and customs with utmost sincerity and devotion. In the temples here, this festival extends for a period of over sixteen days. Being an important cultural centre in Odisha, Sarbojonin Durga Puja is celebrated, where devotees throng in huge numbers to participate in the festivities conducted in the puja mandaps. The procession for immersion of idol in the Kathajodi River on the day after Vijaya Dasami proves to be a visual treat for the visitors.

Holi (Dholapurnima)

This festival is quite popular among the people living in the coastal areas of Odisha. It is celebrated on the full-moon day during the Falguna month, to welcome the spring season. During this festival, various devotional and traditional songs are sung and the Oriya calendar is prepared and is offered to Lord Jagannath, also called as Dolagovinda. Holipada or the burning of straw hut is flowed by the Holi festival, where colours are smeared on each other. In various parts of the state, large fairs called 'Melana' are organised, where different household articles, furniture, agricultural implements etc are brought as well as sold.

Diwali

This festival of lights is celebrated in Odisha with great fervour and enthusiasm, like the rest of India. Along with Kali Puja and Lakshmi Puja, sweets are distributed, lamps are lit, crackers are burst with infectious joy, in memory of the return of Lord Rama to Ayodhya after his fourteen years of exile. In the district of Mayurbhanj in Odisha, this festival is celebrated by worshipping cow and bullocks. Night time is spent in feasting, drinking, singing, dancing and merry making.

Maha Shivratri

This is celebrated on the fourteenth day of the dark fortnight of Phalguna in honour of the Hindu God, Shiva. It is believed to be the night when lord Shiva performed the Tandava dance and thus is celebrated with great reverence and sanctity. With Bhubaneshwar alone having over 500 temples dedicated to Lord Shiva, it is one of the most important religious festival celebrated in this state. The devotees fast throughout the day, while they remain awake at night and chant the name of Lord Shiva. Shiva Linga is worshipped by offering vilwa leaves, and the fast is broken the next day. Married women pray for their husbands, while unmarried ones pray for ideal partners. The celebrations at Lingaraja temple, Kapilash temple, and Mukteswar temple in Odisha are noteworthy.

Apart from these, various other religious as well as tribal festivals are celebrated by the people in Odisha. People belonging to different castes, creed and religions take part actively in these celebrations, forgetting all their differences. Thsee festivals are a manifestation of the cultural uniqueness and ‘Unity in Diversity’ that is prevalent in Odisha state.

Literature of Odisha

The rich Oriya Literature has been divided by the historians into the old Oriya, Early Middle Oriya, Middle Oriya, Late Middle Oriya and finally the Modern Oriya. Many prolific writers have their roots in Odisha, including many great poets, authors of children’s literature, novelists etc. Sarala Das, who translated the epic Mahabharata is known to be one of the greatest poets of Odisha. The Bhakti Literature in Odisha flourished under the contribution of the five great poets called Panchsakha - Jagannath Das, Balaram Das, Achyutanda Das, Yasovanta Das and Ananta Das, who wrote over a span of about hundred years. Later, modern Oriya literature and poetry flourished under the patronage of many great and renowned writers. Some of the great writers in Odisha include:
  • Sarala Das
  • Fakir Mohan Senapati
  • Gangadhar Meher
  • Radhanath Ray
  • Kabi Samrat Upendra Bhanja
  • Gangadhar Meher
  • Haraprasad Das
  • Pratibha Satpathy
  • Surendra Mohanty
  • Manoj Das
  • Sarojini Sahoo
  • Manoranjan Das
  • Gopal Chhotray

The Odisha Literary Festival is one of the important literary events that is held for promoting and creating an awareness about the rich Odiya literature. This grand event showcasing various interactive sessions, recitations, narrations, debates by eminent writers and scholars attracts huge crowds. Through various engaging and innovative themes, this festival aims at making the younger generations aware of the importance of preserving the rich and traditional Odiya literature and keeping alive its indomitable spirit.

Cultural Festivals in Odisha

Konark Festival

This is an annual cultural festival organised by the Odisha Tourism Department and is held in an open air auditorium amidst the beautiful backdrop of the temple. Eminent dancers are known to set the stage on fire with their delightful and magical performances of Odissi, Bharathnatyam, Manipuri, Kathak , Chau dance and other traditional and cultural dance forms of India. In addition, visitors also get to enjoy an exhibition featuring the beautiful Odishan Temple sculptures, crafts fair and an attractive sand art exhibition.

Konark Dance and Music Festival

Konark Dance and Music festival

Organised by the Konark Natya Mandap, this colourful festival that takes place in the Natyashala in the Sun Temple in Konark features various lively and captivating dance performances by artists of national as well as international repute. Odissi, Kathak, Bharatnatyam, Kuchipudi, Manipuri, Mohiniattam and various other tribal and traditional dance forms of Odisha are performed amidst the picturesque settings. The spectacular performances amidst aesthetic backdrop make this event one of the most sought after ones in Odisha state. 

Rajarani Music Festival

Held during the month of January against the backdrop of the beautiful Rajarani Temple in Bhubaneshwar, this festival showcases enthralling performances by Odissi and Hindustani vocal maestros, striving to recreate the age old customs and practices of the darbari gayans. The soothing music, sublime ambience creates a divine environment, transporting you to a different world altogether. This festival thus is a perfect amalgamation of celestial music by eminent musicians and instrumentalists and the architectural beauty of the temple.

Dhauli – Kalinga Mahotsav

The Dhauli – Kalinga Mahotsav was started by the Odisha Dance Academy (ODA) and Art Vision to give an impetus to and promote the rich and varied Odishan culture. It is celebrated in a very grand and pompous manner with over 500 artists from various disciplines performing a wide array of martial dance along with traditional folk and classical dances of the state. Various items including Odissi dance, Odissi vocal, Mardal recital, Chhau dance, Daskathia, Pala, Yajna, Sankirtan area  part of this exciting festival, that takes place at the Dhauli Hill, on the outskirts of Bhubaneshwar.

Parava (Tribal Dance Festival)

Known for its rich tribal culture and heritage, the Parava festival of tribal dances is organised at Koraput in Odisha during the months of October to November. It takes place for about a month, during which various dance forms are exhibited by the people belonging to the tribal communities in Odisha. With colourful and bright costumes and fancy head gears, the dancers perform to their fullest, providing the audience a visual treat. An exhibition cum sale is organised as a part of this festival, where various innovative handicrafts and products made by the locals here are displayed. 

Khandagiri Mela and Kharavela Mahotsava

A very grand fair is organised at Khandagiri near Bhubaneswar for about a week, beginning from the Magha Saptami day. This fair aims at promoting tourism in Odisha and keeping alive its rich culture and traditions. Various cultural events take place throughout the week, to keep the visitors engaged and entertained. Odissi, Sambalpuri, Chhow, Ghodanacha, and Shankhabadan are performed by well trained and talented cultural troupes of the state. In addition, an exhibition of various local hand made products including stone wares, bell-metal utensils, and artefacts for interior decoration made by the people belonging to the rural areas adds to the charm and vibrance of this fair.

Costumes of Odisha

The essence of spirituality and traditional beliefs embedded in the culture of Odisha can be witnessed from the dressing style and costumes of the people here. The diversity and variations in the clothes worn by the people here, is captivating and adds to the irresistible charm of this state. Traditional attire of the women here include sarees of bright colours and different innovative patterns, Kataki Sari, Bomkai Sari and Sambalpuri Sari being some of the most popular ones. Sarees of different styles, patterns and bright colours are worn by the women here during marriages, festivals, gatherings, parties and celebrations of various kinds. The traditional costumes of men here include dhoti and kurta. A small piece of cloth called ‘Gamccha’ is used by the people here for wiping one’s body or it is tied round the head as a turban, as and when required.

Costumes of an Odissi dancerThe costume that is worn while performing the traditional Odishan dance, Odissi is similar to that of Bharath Natyam costume. The intricate patterns and border of these sarees differentiate them from the rest of the sarees. The tribals in Odisha are known for their distinct dressing style, that reflects their identity and cultural uniqueness. The tribals, especially women wear dresses from their birth to death, corresponding to the different stages in their lives. The influence of Western culture can be seen on the lifestyle and the costumes of the people in Odisha. Salwar kameez, Western wear like skirts, kutis, gowns are gaining popularity among the women, while the men here have started opting for jeans, shirts and trousers etc.

Cuisines of Odisha

Having subtle similarities with the neighbouring states, the Oriya cuisine is simple, tasty, has less calorific value, yet high nutritional value. Rice with vegetables, chapathi, dal, sweet and sour preparation and dessert are the typical main course items, while mustard oil is used as the cooking medium. Jackfruit, plantains, papayas, coconut, curd, tamarind, mango powder are some of the commonly used ingredients in preparing the meals. The temples in Odisha are known to make their own offerings to the deities, the ‘Maha Prasada’ of Jagannath Temple is considered to be one of the most important ones. With about 400 cooks, this temple feeds about 10,000 people daily.

Chuda, mudhi, pitha are popular breakfast items that are nutritious and are known for their delicious tastes as well. Sea foods including fish, lobsters, prawns are quite popular in the coastal areas and form the major ingredient in a variety of delectable cuisines.  Sweets of various kinds and flavours form an indispensable part of their regular meals. Finger licking and delicious sweets like rasagulla, rasamalai, kheeri, rasabali, chena poda pitha, malpua, kalakand etc are known for their rich taste and essence, that lingers in your minds and taste buds, even long after they are consumed. The cuisines in Odisha thus retail their distinctive identity and can be said to be the perfect blend of delicious taste and high nutritive value.

Fairs in Odisha

Being a culturally vibrant state, numerous fairs are organised in Odisha that play a major role in distinguishing this state from others and lend it a cultural uniqueness, apart from drawing huge number of visitors from far and wide. The vivid rituals and traditions in these fairs reflect the captivating and varied culture of this state.  Fairs like Bali Yatra, Magha Mela, Taratarini Mela, Joranda Mela , Makar Mela, Adivasi Mela are celebrated here in a grand and pompous manner with the active participation of people belonging to all age groups and different sections of the society.

Bali Yatra

Bali Yatra in Odisha

Called as the ‘Voyage to Bali’, the Bali Yatra, held annually in Cuttack city of Odisha, is one of the largest fairs here. This is celebrated to commemorate the occasion of Oriya voyagers sailing to the far off islands of Bali, Java, Borneo, Sumatra, Sri Lanka for carrying out trade and commercial activities. It is celebrated for seven days from the full moon day, during Karthik Purnima, in the months of October and November. This fair is marked by various colourful cultural events, attractions for children, food stalls, vendors selling a variety of wares etc, thus attracting huge crowds of people from different parts of the country. Toy boats made out of paper and dried tree barks with small lit lamps are floated, in the rivers and ponds by the children here, in memory of the voyages of their ancestors to the distant lands. The sight of the bright floating lamps, accompanied by the singing of various folk songs, lend a joyous and festive look to the entire ambience.

Magha Mela

It is one of the most vibrant and colourful festivals of Konark and falls on the seventh day of the Hindu month, ‘Magha’.  Devotees and pilgrims from all over the world throng to the Chandrabhaga Tirtha near the sea, early in the morning and chant holy prayers and sacred hymns. The sight of worshippers taking dip in the holy river waters and welcoming the rising sun with prayers fills the mind with sanctity and unexplainable joy and reverence.  Starting from this day, a fair is held at Khandagiri near Bhubaneswar for seven days, and is celebrated in a grand manner with great fanfare.

Taratarini Mela

Also called as the Chaitra Mela, this is one of the biggest fairs in Odisha that takes place on each Tuesday of the Chaitra month at the Taratarini shrine near Behrampur in Odisha. Pilgrims from all over the world flock here to seek the blessings of the holy Goddess Tara Tarini and perform their Manasika after getting their wishes fulfilled. The grand congregation that takes place on the third Tuesday is one of the main highlights of this Mela and is a noteworthy sight.

 Joranda Mela

Also called as Mahima Mela, this three day long festival is celebrated in a grand manner at Joranda in Dhenkanal district of Odisha on the Magha Purnima day. During this festival, the Mahima sanyasis gather here to worship Mahima Gosain's Samadhi Pitha.  Apart from the initiation for promoting Bairagi to Apara Sanyasi, a major highlight of this event is the 'Yajnan Kund', a ritual performed to bring peace to the mankind.

Makar Mela

Makar Mela, celebrated on Makar Sankranthi is a grand event dedicated to the Sun God. It is celebrated with great pomp and fervour, where fresh harvest is offered to Gods and goddesses, to invoke their blessings.  This fair is celebrated in places including Dhabaleswar in Cuttack, Hatakeshwar at Atri in Khordha, Makar Muni temple in Balasore and other places in Odisha, with the active participation of people from far and wide.

Adivasi Mela

The Adivasi Mela is an annual fair celebrated at the Adivasi Exhibition Ground in Bhubaneshwar held during the month of January. It is one of the most popular, vibrant and colourful festivals in Odisha that is a must visit for all the visitors. It showcases the art and craft forms of the tribal communities here. Being one of its kind, this exhibition reflects the art, artefact, culture, unique traditions, music and lifestyle of the tribals in Odisha, through various handicrafts prepared by tribal people, cultural shows, music as well as dance programmes.
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