Festival tours – Experience vibrant culture of Odisha

Festival tours are an excellent way to immerse oneself in the Odisha’s rich cultural heritage. These tours provide a comprehensive experience of the state’s diverse and vibrant culture, including its traditional music, dance, art, and handicrafts. During these tours, visitors can witness firsthand the colorful and grand celebrations of festivals like Ratha Yatra, Durga Puja, and Konark Dance Festival. They can also explore the ancient temples and monuments that are a testament to Odisha’s rich history and architectural brilliance, such as the Konark Sun Temple, Lingaraj Temple, and Jagannath Temple. Overall, a cultural and festival tour of Odisha is an excellent way to explore the state’s unique culture, witness its traditional festivities, and create unforgettable memories.

Ratha Yatra

Ratha Yatra is one of the most famous festivals in Odisha and is celebrated in the holy city of Puri. The festival is celebrated in honor of Lord Jagannath, and it is believed that the Lord comes out of his temple to give darshan to his devotees. During the festival, three chariots are pulled through the streets, and thousands of devotees gather to witness this grand spectacle. The Rath Yatra is an important cultural event in Odisha and attracts tourists from all over the world.

Konark Dance Festival

The Konark Dance Festival is a celebration of Odisha’s rich cultural heritage and is held in the magnificent Sun Temple at Konark. The festival is a celebration of classical dance forms like Odissi, Bharatnatyam, Kathak, and Manipuri, among others. The festival attracts renowned dancers and performers from all over the country, and it is a great opportunity for tourists to witness the best of classical dance forms.

Puri Beach Festival

The Puri Beach Festival is an annual event that takes place in November and is a celebration of the state’s rich cultural heritage. The festival is a perfect blend of music, dance, and art, and it provides a great platform for local artists to showcase their talent. The festival is a must-visit for beach lovers, as it offers a wide range of water sports activities like parasailing, beach volleyball, and jet skiing.

Chhau Dance Festival

The Chhau Dance Festival is a celebration of tribal dance forms and is held in the month of April. The festival is held in the city of Baripada and attracts tribal dance groups from all over the state. The festival is a great opportunity for tourists to witness the state’s rich tribal culture and traditional dance forms.

Dhanu Yatra is the largest open-air theater festival in the world and is celebrated in the western part of Odisha. The festival is celebrated to commemorate the defeat of the demon king Kansa by Lord Krishna. During the festival, the entire town of Bargarh is transformed into the city of Mathura, and people from all over the state come to witness the grand spectacle.

Chaitra Parva is a famous festival, which is also named as Mayurbhanj Chhau. It is observed for three days prior to “Maha Visubha Sanktranti” in the month of April every year. The origin of Chaitra Parva goes back to hoary past. In its early years, it was conceived to be a religious festival but with the pace of time, it has been converted into an art festival with some religious fervor. It is observed for days together continuously with Saivite Ceremonies and rituals during the daytime, whereas Chhau Dance is performed in the night.

The Danda Naata or Danda Jatra is a traditional dance festival held in South Odisha, particularly in the Ganjam District. It is believed to be an ancient festival of the Kalinga kingdom and is still celebrated today. Participants, known as Danduas or Bhoktas, lead a pious life during the 13-, 18-, or 21-day festival and pray to Goddesses Kali and Shiva. The festival begins on an auspicious day before Chaitra Sankranti and only male persons take part. The Danda Naata has spread to different parts of Odisha, but the old tradition of culminating the Danda near Tara Tarini Shakti Peetha is no longer followed.

festival tours in Odisha - Danda Nata
festival tours in Odisha - foreign tourist at the time of Danda Nata Festival

In the Hindu month of Kartik(October – November), the city of Cuttack in Odisha celebrates a renowned festival known as Bali Jatra. The name Bali Jatra means ‘A Voyage to Bali’. This popular festival of Odisha marks its beginning from the day of the full moon and continues for the next seven days at Gadagadia Ghat of the River Mahanadi where they worship the Lord Kartikeswar – the presiding deity of this festival. Moreover, through this festival, the locals also commemorate that day when sailors of Odisha first crusade to distant lands of Java, Bali, Borneo, Sri Lanka and Sumatra. To pay their homage, regional people make the artificial boat(made up of paper, barks of the banana tree and cork) and float it in the water. Besides, the festival also observes the tradition of lighting lamps in the boat which is called Boita Bandana. This boasts an amazing landscape of countless boats lit with lamps.

Apart from festivals, Odisha also offers a range of cultural tours that offer a glimpse into its rich history and heritage. The state is home to numerous ancient temples, forts, and palaces, many of which date back to the 7th century. The Konark Sun Temple, the Lingaraj Temple, and the Mukteswara Temple are some of the most famous temples in the state, known for their architectural brilliance and intricate carvings.

Odisha is also home to several museums and art galleries that showcase the state’s rich cultural heritage. The Odisha State Museum, the Tribal Museum, and the Kala Bhoomi Museum are some of the popular museums in the state that offer a range of exhibits on its art, history, and culture.

A visit to Odisha during its festival season or a cultural tour of the state offers an excellent opportunity to experience its vibrant culture and rich heritage. The state’s festivals and cultural tours are a true celebration of its diverse traditions and customs and offer a unique insight into its rich history and cultural heritage.

Cultural and festival tours

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