Friday, December 23, 2016
The Oriya culture, diverse religions and a proud heritage make Bhubaneshwar a city of rich traditions. The city was once home to nearly 2000 stone temples in the medieval age, out of which 700 or so still remain today. The capital city of Odisha, Bhubaneshwar has beautifully preserved the balance between upholding its rich cultural heritage and conforming to modern times. The best time to visit Bhubaneshwar is between September to April as the city is full of festivities and celebrations. Some of the most vibrant festivals of Bhubaneshwar include:
The Taratairni Mela is known to be one of the biggest fairs in the state of Orissa and is usually conducted during the months of April-May. It is hosted at the Taratarini Temple where the confluence of Hindu-Buddhist rituals is seen prominently. The third Tuesday of the month Chaitra is considered highly auspicious for prayers and celebrations so many tourists plan their holidays during this time specifically.
The grandest and most famous festival of Odisha, Rath Yatra is held in Puri during the month of June/July every year. This festival is also known as the ‘Car Festival’ and is celebrated in honour of Lord Jagannath, trusted to be an incarnation of Lord Vishnu and Krishna. The idols of Krishna, Subhadra and Balrama are taken in chariots in a procession to their summer temples for a week. The festival is a representation of Lord Krishna’s journey from Gokul to Mathura.
This festival is celebrated at the Lingaraja Temple and is a chariot festival, similar to the Rath Yatra in Puri. An idol of Lord Lingaraja is taken on a wooden chariot from the Lingaraja Temple to the Rameshwar Temple, where it stays for 4 days.
A week-long colourful fest, the Megha Mela is also known as ‘Khandagiri Mela’. It is attended by thousands of people every year during January/February, in the month of Megha (which lends its name to the festival).
This festival takes place from 18th to 20th January at the famous Rajarani Temple in Bhubaneshwar. During this festival, the architectural beauty of the temple is celebrated with Odissi, Carnatic and Hindi music. Maestros from all over the country play enchanting music during this 3-day festival.
Makar Sankranti is celebrated with great joy in the state of Odisha. The harvests are done by this time of the year and on the day of Sankranti, the Sun God is worshipped with offerings of food.
Durga Puja is held with great enthusiasm and fanfare during the months of September/October. It is a nine-day festival that celebrates Durga Mata. It is also a celebration of good over evil and is rejoiced with Bhog (Prasad) that is served to all guests.
Bhubaneshwar is surely a city full of vibrant festivities in every corner. If you’d like to see the pomp and celebrations, plan your holiday during one of the festivals to witness the grand culture of the city.