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Culture of Mayurbhanj

Culture is deep rooted in the lives of the people of Mayurbhanj District. The vibrancy and richness of the cultural heritage of this District, undoubtedly, makes Mayurbhanj one of the most noteworthy places on the map of Odisha. Makar Parva and Karama Parva are the two well known festivals of Mayurbhanj District which are celebrated with great pomp and show. Mayurbhanj District unfolds an enormous panorama of nature`s beauty. In the midst of the surroundings evolved a beautiful yet virile dance form, known as the famous Chhau dance. This dance form has gained worldwide fame and recognition. It is noted for its beauty, vigour and marvel of the art. Jhumar, the popular traditional folk song, is inextricably interlinked with Mayurbhanj District. These songs depict the thought of the populace festivities, marriages other social functions, sorrows and happiness.

Car Festival (Rathyatra) of Baripada preserves many temples built in different styles of Orissan architecture, such as Rekha, Bhadra and Gauriya. Among the Rekha temples the most important are the temples of Kakharua Baidyanath at Manatri of this District and that of Lord Jagannath at Baripada. The temple of Lord Jagannath at Baripada is universally known as Haribaldev temple. It was built by Shri Baidyanath Bhanj in 1575 A.D. on the same architectural principles of Kakharua Baidyanath temple. The temple stands as a symbol of the religious favour of the Bhanja Rulers of Mayurbhanj and is regarded as the Queen Monad among the princely states during the pre-merger days.

It is made of laterite stone with exquisite designs engraved in the walls. It has height of 84′-6″. A big boundary wall encirles the temple which is a replica of that of Lord Jagannath at Puri. An inscription on the temple wall states that in the year 1497 of the Saka Era this temple was built by Baidyanath Bhanj. This temple, like the Kakharua Baidyanath of Manatri is provided with Vimana, Jagamohan and Nata Mandira and is in a better preserved condition than the latter.

Lord Jagannath, Subhadra, Balabhadra

Besides the presiding deities, there are as many as seventeen Bedha deities consecrated in the temple. There are various other pillars, images and structures both in front of the presiding deity and on the body of the temple. This temple is provided with Nata Mandira and is beautifully painted inside as well as outside. Every year Car festival is celebrated on the day after the day on which Car festival is celebrated at Puri. The three deities come to the Radhamohan Temple (Mausimaa Mandir) during car festival which lasts for two days. The speciality of the Baripada Car festival is that only ladies can pull the chariot of Maa Subhadra.

Chhau Dance In the back drop of Rofty Similipal Forest with gorgeous waterfalls, winding rivers, huge summits and lush green valleys, the district of Mayurbhanj unfolds a vast panorama of nature’s beauty. Amid the surroundings evolved a beautiful yet virile dance form, known as famous CHHAU DANCE.

Arguably, the word chhau has been derived from the word ‘CHHAUNI’ the camp camped at the time of military operation. The folks say that chhau was performed to entertain the Oriya warriors inside the camp and has spread now knowing no boundaries.

Chhau is glorious heritage of Mayurbhanj.

The presiding deity of Mayurbhanj Chhau is Lord “Bhairab”. Mayurbhanj chhau is world famous now. The visual poetry is the name of Mayurbhanj Chhau. Set in a style that is free, intense, stormy dynamic yet lyrical.

Jhumar Folk Dance The prevalence of Jhumar dates back to 18th century but not in organised form. Local folks of Odisha, Jharkhand, Bihar and West Bengal used to practise Jhumar songs and dance to beat boredom and monotony after days hard work which was energising for further work. Even when they were on their way to distant places in quest of work their lips were stuck with melodious, lyrical and colloquial Jhumar Songs.

Gradually a Nachuni group was introduced which consisted of eight to ten people, including one Rasika (the leader of the group) one Nachuni and instrument players for FLUTE, HARMONIUM, DHOL, CHAD-CHADI, MAADAL, MAHURI etc. 18th century downwards Raja (King), Maharaja (Emperor), Zamindar (Land Lord) noticed Jhumar and they became so charmed by the language, sweet tunes and dance that they could not but patronise it which helped remove the financial constraint of Nachuni Groups which further paved its way to earn recognition in upper level of society.

There are two types of dances in Jhumar dance. When a single lady dances, it is alled ‘NACHUNI’ and when dance is performed in a group it is called ‘PANTA DANCE’. Jhumar songs are tune based. Its main element is tune, that means SWARA PRADHAN and its rhythm is typical of its own. Lyrics are descriptive mainly of Radha Krishna’s love.