Festivals of Puri

Puri is one of the historic places of eastern India and is also one of the four Dhaams as per the Hindu mythology. The City of Puri witness millions of tourists and devotees from all corners of the world every year. There are also several festivals that are being celebrated in Puri. Being a holy city and the presence of the Lord Jagannath temple the festivals of Puri are also related to the Lord of Universe, Lord Jagannath.

Festivals of Puri

Rath Yatra at Puri

The famous Cart Festival of Puri, ‘Rath Yatra’ is one of the most important festival of Lord Jagannath that takes place on the auspicious day of Ashadh Sud 2, in early July. This colorful festival which draws millions of devotees not only from the various parts of the country but also from all around the globe visitors and devotees flourish in millions to witness the holy festival of Rath Yatra. The Lord of the Universe, Lord Jagannath comes out of His sanctum sanctorum to give Darshan to all Devotees belonging to all Communities and Religions. The festival of Rath Yatra lasts for nine long days and on the first day, the three deities of Jagannath temple are carried through the Bada Danda in three huge chariots which are especially made for the festivals and are pulled with huge ropes by the devotees to the Gundicha Temple.

The deities of Jagannath Temple stay for a period of nine days at the Gundicha Temple, and are believed to enjoy the vacations with their aunt at Gundicha Temple house and during that time visitors irrespective to their cast, religion and sect can visit and get the Darshaans of Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra and Goddess Shubhadra. The deities are offered Poda Pitha on their way back to the Temple and at the time when their chariots halt at the Mausi Maa Temple. This is a sweet item which is a kind of baked cake mainly consumed by the poor sections only. Festival of the Puri Rath Yatra has its mention in the Puranas and the can also be found in Kapila Samhita, Padma Purana, Brahma Purana, and the Skanda Purana. It is believed that those who take part in the Cart Festival earn their passage to the Heaven.

Chandan Yatra at Puri

In the hot summer in order to get relaxed the deities of Jagannath Temple are dipped in water which is mixed up with the sandalwood paste in a special pond known as the Narendra Sarobar. The deities are taken on boats of Swan shaped which are known as Chapa to the centre of the Pond. This is the festival of Chandan Yatra which is being celebrated every year on the Akshyaya Trutiya of Vaishaka month as per the Hindu calendar. The festival of Chandan Yatra is not only celebrated in the Puri but in many Vishnu and even Shiva temples the Snana yatra is celebrated with equal spirit, devotion and enthusiasm.

Snana Yatra at Puri

Also known as Devesnana Purnim, Snana Yatra is one of the most important festivals of Lord Jagannath which is celebrated on full moon day of the Jyestha month according to the Hindu calendar. As per the Skanda Purana, once the King of Puri of that time Raja Indradyumna who installed the wooden deities arranged this bathing ceremony. This is the day which is also considered to be the birthday of Lord Jagannath. The festival of Snana Purnima is celebrated by pouring 108s pots of water on the idols of Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra and Goddess Subhadra.

The colors painted on the images fade during the sacred bath and the wooden deities in discolor may not have the appropriate devotional attitude in devotees and in fact may feel sinful, hence the images are immediately dressed as Ganesha and they remain mostly covered. The images are kept away from public view just After the Snana Yatra for fifteen days and the rituals of the temple remain suspended during all these days. The festival of Snana Yatra is also being celebrated in many parts of the State but mostly this is the festival famous for its origin, Puri.

Nava Kalebara Festival of Puri

The festival of Naba Kalebara is celebrated once in every twelve to nineteen years at Jagannath Dhaam, Puri. This is a festival associated to Lord Jagannath where by the idols of Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra and Goddess Subhadra are replaced by new idols. There are several rituals being performed in order to make the idols. After the day of Nava Kalebara is fixed, the 'Gajapati Maharaj' issues a proclamation to the Brahmins, the Vidyapith and the Daitas to search for the tree which would provide logs for idols.

After the completion of the crafting of idols, they are then painted with bright colors by the famous Chitrakars (artists). These idols are then circumbulated for three times and then brought to seat which is known as Anabasarapindi where several rituals are being performed to transfer Brahma (the soul) from the old deities to the new idols. After 'Brahma' placed in the new idols, the old deities are buried in the wells of Koili Baikuntha.

Sahi Jatra Festival of Puri

The festival of Sahi Jatra is a traditional form of the street play. He Sahi Jatra has its theme from the holy Ramayana but the festival is more of a militant and aggressive in nature. He festivals of Sahi Jatra is being organized by the Akhaadas and the Jagagharas which are established on the streets with the motive of training and practicing military art and skills, local development with social and order family discipline and train the learners in Odissi dance and music.

The prime attraction of the Sahi Jatra is the huge processions which turn into ground by tumblers, acrobats, the Nagas, dancers and the Medhas of various deities. The medhas of demons like Saptasira, Ravana, Trisira, Navasira, etc are also made. The tunes for the demon and other acrobat performance are very interesting to watch in the Sahi Jatra. The special characters of Rama, Ravana and Hanuman are some of the most attractions of the Sahi Jatra. The Sahi Jatra is also famous for its Medha and Naga dance. Naga symbolizes velour of the Odisha’s soldier. The processions of this festival are somewhat similar to that of the Ramlila of Banaras.

Puri Beach Festival

The initiative by Odisha tourism in order to increase the number of visitors to the state and Puri, it has one of its major parts in the form of Beach Festival of Puri. It is a festival of Joy and livelihood with the colors and traditions of Odisha. It portrays a brilliant sight of Odisha’s artistic legacy and contemporary way of life. The festival takes place every year in the month of November and lasts for 5 long days. The festival venue is the golden beach on the coast of Bay of Bengal at Puri.

The Puri Beach Festival demonstrates the efforts of the people of Puri in putting up shows and events with a spirit and enthusiasm which are also conventional and spiritual at heart. The Puri Beach festival is said to be a platform for artists of Odisha along with all over India's to portray their art form in front of the masses. From traditional and folk dance, artistic events presentations, handiworks, sand carvings and foodstuff to the beach parties, rock concerts, fashion shows and DJs, the Puri Beach Festival has the all those elements to make it a global carnival.

Several special attractions such as celebrities from across the globe come and perform here. Many famous personalities related to the Indian folk music and dance genre also visit this festival and showcase their talent.
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