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Culture of Kalahandi

Kalahandi is a rich land in culture and festivals.[47] Since it is a melting point of southern Odisha and Western Odisha with a substantial tribal population, those living in hills as well as plain land, their culture, tradition, languages and belief along with mainstream Hindu culture have made Kalahandi region rich with culture and festivals. The mixture of Aryan and tribal culture makes Kalahandi region rich in its culture and festivals. In pre-independence period Kalahandi was largely inspired to Saivaism, Vaishanivism and Shakti puja. Shakti Puja is largely accepted among tribal, perhaps due to which Kalahandi was well known for celebrating Shati Puja. However, affect induction of Kalahandi as part of Odisha state, dominance of coastal Oriya culture in the state is increasingly influencing the local culture. Celebration of Rathajatra and construction of Jaggannath temple in Kalahandi has been increasingly realised unlike in old days of Radha Krishna temple.

Ratha Yatra  The world famous Car Festival of Lord Jagannath is held on’ AshadhaSukla Dwitiya’ -i.e. the 2nd day of the bright fort-night of Ashadha (June- July) every year. This festival is popularly known as Ratha Yatra, Gundicha Yatra and also Ghosha Yatra. On the Car Festival day, the deities are taken out of the temple and placed in their respective chariots, kept near the Singhadwar. The deities are carried to the chariots in a traditional ceremonial manner-first Sudarshana, followed by Balabhadra, Subhadra and Jagannath. Balabhadra and Jagannath are made to swing forward and backward in a manner called ‘Pahandi’.


Chatar Yatra Chatar Jatra or Chatar Yatra is a traditional festival celebrated by the people of Kalahandi District, Orissa, India. The festival involves Maa Manikeswari, the family goddess of the Kalahandi King’s family. More than 50000 animal are sacrificed today during Bijaya Yatra of the festival. Nearly 1 lakh people take part in the procession of Maa Manikeswari. The Goddess is taken in a procession from Jena Khal after Sundhi Puja to Bhawanipatna with rhythmic beats of nisan and ghanta and dancers performing Ghumra. Devotees line up along the road for glimpse of the Goddess, believing that they will get rid of out vices and diseases by sacrificing animal.


Dusherra  Durga Puja is one of the biggest festivals in Kalahandi and it is the most important socio-cultural event in the society. The festival celebrates life, culture, traditions and customs. She is worshiped for killing Mahisasur, a powerful demon who was also known as the Buffalo Demon. It also marks her return every year in the Bengali month of Aswin, remembering Lord Ram as he summoned Goddess Durga for her blessings in order to save Sita from the clutches of Ravana.


Ghumura dance  is a folk dance of Kalahandi district of the Indian state Odisha. It is classified as folk dance as the dress code of Ghumura resembles more like a tribal dance, but there are arguments about mudra and dance forms of Ghumura bearing more resemblance with other classical dance forms of India.
Though Ghumura has been included in folk culture, it is a widespread dance in the Kalahandi region. It is in unknown if in its early period whether it was a caste-based dance or not. By the time when Ghumura entered into the sphere of folk dance, above from the level of tribal dance, it was extensively performed by almost all castes and communities. Perhaps, Ghumura was a caste-based dance of a particular caste in its beginning and later on extended to different castes and communities. It was then widely accepted as a mass dance from folk dance.
Ghumura dance has had the opportunity to represent the nation in international events in Delhi, Moscow, and other places.


Dandari dance The origin of the name of the traditional dance ‘Dandahulia’ is from the word ‘Danda’ means stick. The individual performer of the dance carries two pieces of sticks in hands go on dancing biting each other in different styles. The Gondabadi or Dandari dance of Kalahandi has a very close similarities with this Dandahulia tribal-cum traditional dance of Koraput and Nawarangpur regions. The Dandas or sticks used in the dance are highly decorative, painted in linear form for a visual beauty and dancing attraction. This traditional Dandahulia dance is an old, ancient dance found in these localities. Some of the researchers relate it to the period of Lord Krishna i.e. Dwapara Yuga, what Lord Krishna was doing up in his childhood period or his time, in Gopapura as a cowherd boy. It is said from the myths related to Dandahulia dance is that Lord Krishna used to play this Dandahulia dance with his cowherd mates as a mode of pastime in the forest regions. The very practice made by Lord Krishna during Dandahulia performance, that he taught his copartners to win overthe enemies through these Dandas at the time of danger or adversities. The Danda can also be used as an instrument-cum-item in performing the traditional Dandahulia dance. The dance has, its origin from that time onwards is being performed by various people in various localities by various names, found as Dandahulia in Nawarangpur and Koraput regions. Loudi Dance in Baleswar district by a specific Gond community.


Madli Dance Specifically telling of Madli folk dance, it is largely performed in the Khadial region of Nuapada district. The Gondas of Khadial to worship and offer their prayer to their Gods like Budhadeo (Bhairav/Balendra), Jungadeo (Jagannath) and Lingadeo (Siva), they perform Madli dance. Through Madli folkdance the dancers, performers want to give a message to the community or the area to start cultivation or farming. This has become a community based dance to the people of the locality. Particularly at the beginning of the cultivation i.e. in the month of Baisakha and at the end of farming i.e. in Margasira Purnima, Madli dance is performed.
The folk dance Madli goes with some musical instruments like Madal, Jhumka, Flute, Jhanz, Timtimi, Thodkel and some farming tools as symbol of aggragarian prospect like plough, axe, sickle, pickaxe, hoe, spade and
fish-netting items like net, stick or rod, pin, thread as a symbol of courage and prosperity.


Kalahandi Mahotsav Or Kalahandi Utsav(Odia: କଳାହାଣ୍ଡି ଉତ୍ସବ) also called “Kalahandi Utsav Ghumara” is an annual exhibition or festival celebrated along with district administration in Bhawanipatna and Dharamgarh of Kalahandi District in the Indian state of Odisha. Kalahandi Utsav is a platform to encourage, motivate and showcase the art, culture, music, drama, literature, handy crafts of Odisha globally.
Hundreds of folk dance troupes and folk singers from different parts of the State and outside perform.
It is celebrated at Lal Bahadur stadium in Bhawanipatna and Panchayat playground in Dharamgarh. More than 300 stalls appear at both venues.


Jhanji Yatra performed at kulerpada(hirapur), Jaipatna,Kalahandi & is a Village in Jayapatna Tehsil in Kalahandi District of Odisha State, India. It is located 79 KM towards South from District head quarters Bhawanipatna. 11 KM from Jaipatna. 391 KM from State capital Bhubaneswar.