If you are looking for a destination that offers a unique blend of spirituality, culture, and nature, you might want to consider Puri, a coastal city in Odisha, India. Puri is famous for its festivals, which attract millions of pilgrims and tourists every year. These festivals celebrate the life and legends of Lord Jagannath, the presiding deity of the city, and his siblings, Balabhadra and Subhadra. Mypuritour travel agency will explore some of the most popular festivals in Puri and their significance.
Puri is known for its vibrant and grand festivals. List of the most popular festivals celebrated in Puri:
Rath Yatra – The Chariot Festival:
The festival of chariots, where the idols of Jagannath, Balabhadra and Subhadra are taken out of the temple and pulled by millions of devotees to the Gundicha Temple. It is celebrated in the month of Asadha (June-July).
Snana Yatra – The Bathing Festival:
This festival is celebrated on the full moon day of Jyestha (May-June) and marks the beginning of the Ratha Yatra preparations. It is the bathing festival of the deities, where the idols of Jagannath, Balabhadra and Subhadra are bathed with 108 pots of water on a platform called Snana Mandap. The water is brought from a sacred well called Suna Kua inside the temple. After the bathing ceremony, the idols are dressed in elephant costumes and placed in a secluded chamber called Anasara Ghara for 15 days. During this period, they are believed to be ill and are treated by special herbal medicines.
Chandan Yatra – The Sandalwood Festival:
Chandan Yatra marks the celebration of Lord Jagannath’s summer retreat. During this 21-day festival, the deities are adorned with sandalwood paste (chandan) and taken on a delightful boat ride in the Narendra Tank. The serene surroundings and the divine presence of the deities make this festival a blissful experience.
Niladri Bije – The Return of the Deities:
Niladri Bije is the grand culmination of the Rath Yatra. It signifies the return of the deities to the Jagannath Temple. Lord Jagannath offers his divine vision to Goddess Mahalakshmi and seeks her permission to enter the temple. The entire event is a procession filled with joy, devotion, and a sense of fulfillment.
Hera Panchami: The Fiery Festival of Goddess Lakshmi’s Anger
This festival is celebrated on the fifth day of the bright fortnight of Asadha (June-July), five days after the Ratha Yatra. It is the festival of Goddess Lakshmi’s anger, where she visits the Gundicha Temple to find her husband Jagannath who has left her behind in the main temple. She breaks a part of his chariot in rage and returns to her abode. This festival symbolizes the marital discord and reconciliation between Jagannath and Lakshmi.
Magha Mela – The Holy Gathering:
Magha Mela is a sacred gathering that takes place during the month of Magha (January/February) on the occasion of Makar Sankranti. Devotees flock to Puri to take a holy dip in the sea, offering prayers to Lord Jagannath and seeking divine blessings. The atmosphere is charged with devotion and spiritual fervor.
Puri Beach Festival – Celebration by the Sea:
Puri Beach Festival is a celebration of art, culture, and the picturesque Puri beach. It showcases a delightful mix of classical music, dance performances, sand art, local handicrafts, and culinary delights. The festival draws artists, performers, and visitors from far and wide, adding a touch of vibrancy to the coastal city.
Dola Yatra – The Swing Festival:
Dola Yatra celebrates the eternal love of Radha and Krishna. The deities of Lord Jagannath and Radha are placed on beautifully decorated swings and worshipped with great devotion. Devotees participate in the swinging of the deities, singing devotional songs and immersing themselves in the divine bliss of the occasion.
Nabakalebara: The Sacred Festival of New Bodies
This festival is celebrated when there are two months of Asadha in a year, which can happen in 8, 12 or 18 years. It is a festival of new bodies, where the old wooden idols of Jagannath, Balabhadra and Subhadra are replaced with new ones made from sacred trees. The process of making the new idols is very elaborate and secretive. The old idols are buried in a place called Koili Vaikuntha inside the temple premises. The new idols are installed on the chariots and taken to the Gundicha Temple during the Ratha Yatra.
Suna Besha is a festival of Lord Jagannath that is celebrated on the eleventh day of the bright fortnight of Ashadha (June-July), a day after the return of the chariots from the Gundicha Temple. On this day, the idols of Jagannath, Balabhadra and Subhadra are adorned with gold ornaments and clothes and placed on a platform called Ratna Singhasana inside the temple. The devotees get a chance to see the deities in their golden attire, which is also known as Suna Besha or Bada Tadhau Vesha. This festival commemorates the victory of Jagannath over King Indradyumna who tried to stop his Ratha Yatra.
If you are a culture enthusiast, a spiritual seeker, or someone who appreciates the beauty of traditional celebrations, Puri is the perfect destination for you. Immerse yourself in the divine aura of the Jagannath Temple, witness the majestic chariot processions, savor the flavors of authentic Odia cuisine, and experience the warmth and hospitality of the local people.
Plan your visit to Puri during the festive season to witness the city come alive with color, music, dance, and devotion. Be a part of the grand festivities, witness age-old rituals, and create memories that will last a lifetime. Whether you seek spiritual enlightenment or simply wish to embrace the vibrant culture of Puri, these festivals will offer you a truly unforgettable experience.
So, mark your calendar, pack your bags, and get ready to immerse yourself in the enchanting world of festivals in Puri. Let the divine energy, cultural fervor, and joyous celebrations leave an indelible mark on your soul. Come and discover why Puri’s festivals are cherished and celebrated not just locally, but all over the world.
Experience the magic of Puri’s festivals, and embark on a journey that will enrich your mind, touch your heart, and rejuvenate your spirit.