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Culture of Bhubaneswar

The Cultural Heritage of Bhubaneswar is opulent and unmatched anywhere in the Indian subcontinent.

The Cultural Heritage of Bhubaneswar is manifested prominently in the architecture of the temples. The temples of Bhubaneswar form a striking feature of the city.

At one time in its history, Bhubaneswar had over 7,000 shrines. These temples epitomize an exhaustive history of the cultural heritage of Bhubaneswar.

These temples also serve as a time line through Indian history; the time line extends for 2000 years from 3rd Century BC to 16th Century AD. The 46 meter high Lingaraj temple marks a milestone in the history of the Oriyan people.

The official language of Bhubaneswar (and Orissa) is Oriya. Oriya originated from the Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo European language family. The Oriya language bears more than a passing resemblance to Bengali and Assamese. A few tribal languages are still spoken by the Adivasis or original inhabitants of the state.

The Cultural Heritage of Bhubaneswar includes the famous Odissi dance form. The Odissi dance originated from Orissa. Odissi is considered by some historians as an offshoot of the Hindustani Classical music of northern India- although the two are quite distinct from each other.

The State Museum of Bhubaneswar offers a window to the region’s valorous past. The museum displays a wide selection of archaeological artifacts, weapons, local arts and local crafts. The State Museum has the world’s largest collection of palm leaf paintings.

The Cultural Heritage of Bhubaneswar is prominent in its art and craft -stone sculptures, silver filigrees and papier mache among others.

Odisha State Museum:  It is a museum in Bhubaneswar, Odisha. In its original form it was established in 1932 and later moved to the current building in 1960. The museum is divided into eleven sections, viz, Archaeology, Epigraphy, Numismatics, Armoury, Mining & Geology, Natural History, Art & Craft, Contemporary Art, Patta Painting, Anthropology and Palmleaf Manuscripts. The museum is headed by a superintendent and the administrative control lies in the hands of Cultural Affairs Department, Government of Odisha.

A statue of Buddha in the archaeology section
Contemporary art
Arms and ammunitions
Art and craft
Mining & Geology
Sanskrit manuscript
Patta painting

Opening timing is 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM all days of the week except Monday.

Ekamra Festival Ekamra Utsav is one of the major festival of Bhubaneswar, held to promote the rich cultural heritage of Orissa. Dedicated to Lord Shiva, Ekamra Utsav which lasts for 10 days is actually a multi disciplinary event comprising of National Handloom Exhibition (consisting of fabrics gathered from the famous textile centers of Orissa), Folk Festival , Food Festival (offering several kinds of cuisine, domestic and international both) and National Handicrafts Exhibition.
National Handloom Exhibition displays various handicrafts and textiles from the famous textile centers of Orissa. Folk Festival hosts regional shows that depicting scenes from Indian epics, like Ramayana and Mahabharata. Food Festival offers different types of cuisines. Another highlights of the festival is the distinctive dance performances like Akhada, Chhau, Danda Nritya, Ghjumura, Ghoda Nach, Paika , Ranpa and Sambalpuri Dance etc.
Ekamra Utsav had derived its name from the word ‘Ekamra’ meaning ‘Mango Tree’. A myth is associated with the initiation of this festival. According to that Lord Shiva went out to search for an isolated place, where he could go and meditate. On the advice of Lord Narada, he went to the Ekamra Kanan (forest) of India and began meditating. Later he got settled at this place as Lord Lingaraj along with His consort, Goddess Parvati. The forest is called Ekamra Kanan (forest), because of its extensive vegetation of mango trees.

Dhauli Kalinga Mahotsav: It is celebrated on foot hills of Dhauli Shanti Stupa in association with Odisha Dance Academy. The festival is celebrated to keep odia ancient culture alive. A major part of Orrisa was earlier known as Kalinga, the land which is seen brutal murders and death of martyrs during the reign of Ashoka. It is the place where Ashoka decided to start a peaceful and non- violent life. Kalinga Mahotsav is celebrated to mark the victory of peace over war. To pay tribute to the martyrs of Mauryan dynasty the festval is celebrated. It is attended by locals as well as national and international heritage enthusiasts. The festival brings together classical, folk, martial and temporary genres of arts on one platform, a treat for the commoners and connoisseurs alike.

Dhauli festival is being hosted since 2003. With time the festival got popularized at national and international level in all over the world. Currently it is hosting nearly 500 artists across the country. The rich three-day festival is celebration of strength and beauty of Odissi dance and music. Along with odisha’s folk dance, tourist can witness different arts and cultural dance forms of other states. Sometimes foreign artists also present their performance.

The Dhauli-Kalinga Mahotsav combines martial dance, which celebrates the victory of peace over war, with classical and folk dances of the state. And the venue, Dhauli Hills alongside the Daya river, is the place where Emperor Ashok is believed to have fought the last battle of the Kalinga war before surrendering to humanity and embracing Buddhism.

RajaRani Music Festival: Odisha even after being a less visited state in India has so much to cherish in the form of art and culture. If one unfolds pages of history, then all that Odisha was known for and still is its undistracted love for music and dance. With the coming of the new year, comes the most celebrated event of Odisha, Rajarani Music Festival. Celebrated from 18th January to 20th January every year, the festival is just a way to cherish the art form which has been the soul of the eastern state. Music enthusiasts and artists from across the globe come to Odisha to relish the heartwarming beats of the Odissi Music, and that’s the reason why it is one of the top festivals of Odisha. Using the backdrop of Rajarani Temple which finds its place in the ‘temple city of India’ Bhubaneswar, the festival is just way for devotees to come here on a spiritual vacation, seek blessings and also rejuvenate in the classical form of music.

Highlights of the Festival
Classical music legends like vocalists, instrumentalists come here to perform and enjoy the festival.
Travellers can also enjoy Mukteshwar Dance Festival celebrated two days before Rajarani Festival i.e., 14th to 16th January 2018.

Mukteswar Dance Festival This Temple, one of the oldest temple was built in 10th century. Due to the location and architechture it attacts many tourists to its premise. The temple is one of the smallest and most compact temples in Bhubaneshwar. However, it’s famous for its distinctive stone archway and ceiling with eight petal lotus.

This architecture is one of the basic reasons why Mukteshvara Temple is also known as the “Gem of Odisha architecture”. The temple has important role in build of Kalinga School of Architecture. For which the festival is named after it. Mukteswar Dance Festival is organised by Guru Kelu Charan Mohapatra Odissi Research Centre and Odisha Sangeet Natak Akademi with help of Odisha Tourism Department every year at the 10th century Odishan architectural marvel, the Mukteswar temple.

The festival spread in a open air auditorium over three days, dedicated to Odissi style of dance, began each day with a group prayer to Lord Siva, a solo performance and then a duet, culminating in a group performance. Artistes of national and international repute perform here. Odissi dancers tapping their feet to the strokes of the accompanying instruments mesmerize the audience with their classic attire and graceful movements. The temple at the background adds beauty to the festival.

Chandan Yatra: It takes place in the month of Vaisaksha for 6 weeks.. This is the longest festival celebrated in odisha also known as Gandhalepana yatra. The festival is celebrated during peak of summer. So To keep the Deities cool during the time, devotees apply sandalwood paste (chandana) over Radha Madhava and other Deities. ‘Chandana Yatra’ is very attractive and a vast crowd of devotees attend this ritual. Thousand of pilgrimages gather to take part in the celebration of this great festival of Orrisa. All devotees including children and pilgrims are offered a chance to grind chandana for the pleasure of the Deities. The 42 day long festival is observered in two parts: Bahara Chandana and Bhitara Chandana.

Ashokastami: Rukuna Rath Yatra of Lord Lingaraj in Bhubaneswar is one of the biggest festival of the city.The Chariot Festival of Lord Lingaraja is celebrated at Bhubaneswar on the day of Ashokastami or Basanti Durga Puja.The festival takes place in the month of Chaitra (March-April) the day preceding Ramanavami.
On the day of Ashokastami 3 deities i.e. Chandrasekhar – the representative of lord Lingaraja, Rukmini & Basudeva are ceremonially brought to ascend chariot. After that, the chariot is drawn to Rameswara temple and remained there for four days called Gundicha Gharand on the fifth day the three deities start the return journey called Bahuda.
While returning the Chariot is drawn to the temple from the backside without having any turn (The Chariot does not take a turn. The altar of the deities is only changed). For that, there is a saying in Odia: ” Rukuna Ratha Ana leuta ” which means the chariot of Rukuna or Rukmini (Rukmini and Basudeva also sat in the Chariot along with Chandra Sekhar) never turns back.

Iskon Ratha Yatra: The festival of chanting “Hare Krishna” mahamantra. The celebration was launched back in 1996 by ISKCON’s Governing Body Commission, as one of many ways to celebrate ISKCON Founder Srila Prabhupada’s Centennial, or the 100th year since his birth. Back then, it was just World Holy Name Day, and was held annually on September 26th, to commemorate the day in 1965 when Srila Prabhupada arrived in the USA, bringing with him the chanting of the Holy Names of Krishna.
Finally, in 2008, feeling that one day wasn’t enough to glorify the Holy Names of God, they lengthened it to World Holy Name Week, and it has been held for one week annually ever since. While its scheduling changes every year according to the lunar calendar, each World Holy Name Week is always packed with special days related to the Holy Name. World holy name festival is celebrated from 28th Sept to 2nd Oct all over the world by ISKCON Temples. This holy name will not only bring global peace and harmony, but whoever takes part will experience greatest joy and happiness in their lives. ISKCON Bhubaneswar has arranged Harinam Sankirtans in different parts of Odisha and many enthusiastic propagators of the Holy Name come to take part in as many sankirtans as possible.

Raja Mahotsav: Raja Parba is one of the most celebrated festival of Odisha. The three day long is also called as Mithuna Sankranti. Raja is generally associated with the farmers and is celebrated during the onset of monsoons on the fist day of Asadha masa(June/July Month). This is an agricultural festival of Odisha thus it is celebrated to welcome the first rain on the Earth. Raja Parba comes as symbol of happiness of the first rain drenched farming land, moistening of the sun dried soil with the first showers making it ready for productivity.
Under mythological terms, it is believed that the Mother Goddess Earth goes through three days of menstruation during the first three days of this festival, and by the fourth day is given a ceremonial bath. The first day is called Pahili Raja, second day is Mithuna Sankranti, third day is Bhu daaha or Basi Raja. The term Raja pronounced as Raw-Jaw comes from Rajaswala which means menstruating woman. During the period all the agricultural works are stopped making it resting period for both earth and farmer
The festival is mostly celebrated by girls, women and children. Girls are forbidden from all kinds of manual work during these three days of the festival. They don’t carry water, cut vegetables, and sweep the houses. Neither do they sew clothes, grind grains, comb hair or walk in bare foot. The very first day, they rise before dawn, do their hair, anoint their bodies with turmeric paste and oil and then take the purificatory bath in a river or pond. During the festival, they wear new outfits, eat delicious good and spend long hurs on homemade swings(Ram Doli, Chakri Doli, Pata Doli and Dandi Doli), singing. This provides for a happy and joyful atmosphere throughout the town or village.
In many villages night jatra(yatra) and Gotipua dance are performed by artists. This is the most happening festival all over the Odisha.