Puri is mostly described and defined as a holy place of India. People often come here to experience the holy and divine spirits of Lord Jagannath. This town is considered as one of the most important abodes of Lord Jagannath. Puri is also known as the city of festivals of India. A number of 62 festivals are celebrated in Odisha throughout the year and most of them take place here in Puri. So it is always a place of attraction for those tourists who love to attend festivals in different states and also for those who want to earn spiritual virtues from the almighty god. A huge number of tourists are found every year in Puri from different parts of India and even from abroad. Puri is mostly famous for the Chariot Festival which is also known among the devotees as Ratha-yatra Festival.
An innumerable amount of devotees come here every year during this festival with a wish to get at least a glance of Lord Jagannath and pull the rope of his grand chariot. It is also considered as the largest chariot of Lord Jagannath in the country. This festival is celebrated in the months between June and July. It is one of the largest festivals in India. So before start saying anything about this Chariot Festival let us go through the other important festivals celebrated in Puri.
Some major festival and events are celebrated here in Puri all over the year in a large scale where a huge crowd is found attending them. These are some events and festivals among them which worth mentioning
In Odisha, Deva Snana Purnima is celebrated in a grand way and described as one of the most significant days in the year cycle. This festival is also known as the Snana Yatra. It is believed to be the birthday of the Lord Jagannath by the local inhabitants. It is observed on the full-moon day of ‘Jaisthya’ in Hindu calendar which actually comes in the month of May in Gregorian calendar. By the time this day has become an inseparable part of the famous event of Ratha Yatra. This day is also described as the ‘snana Utsav’ by the devotees. On this day the deities of Jagannath, Balaram and Subhadra are brought outside near the Shitala temple at the confinement of the Jagannath Temple and bathed by the 108 pitchers. After the bathing ceremony is completed, the deities are dressed up in the Gajanana (the other name of Lord Ganesha) Vesha (attire). Then they are taken to the ‘Snanamandapa’ where the ceremony of the food offering takes place. This particular ceremony is also known as ‘Bhogalagi’ in the local language and it happens right in front of the eyes of the devotees. On this particular day in a year, the virtual differences between the lord and the devotees are completely flown away. A huge crowd of the devotees is found on this day to get a ‘darshan’ of their deities. It is believed that ‘Snana Yatra’ is one of the oldest festivals. It is also said that there is a strong reference in the Skanda Purana where Raja Indradyumna had installed the wooden deities here and started this bathing festival. Not only in Puri, is this ‘Sana Yatra’ also observed in the other major places of the state also.
Must Read: Famous Temples of India
This festival is celebrated in Puri right after the completion of the ‘Snana Yatra’. The deities are safely kept in the Anasara house during the 15 days of this festival. According to the Skanda Purana, not a single person and not even the ‘pandas’ are allowed to stay inside the Anasara house with the deities during this festival. It is believed that after the bathing festival (Snana Utsav) the deities fell sick and suffered from high fever. The Daitas (referred to the temple sevaks) use to sit in a secret worship of the deities during these 15 days. It has a strong religious connotation and it is believed to be started long back in the 12th century. Anasara Utsav is also considered as the chief epicenter for the legendary festival of Rathayatra. People who has a vivid connection or keen interests in the religious and mythological study come to attend this festival every year.
It is also known by the name of Holi Festival in the different parts of India. It is a festival of love and the colors. Though it is widely celebrated in throughout the country but the taste of the Dol Yatra in Puri is something very different from the others. Puri is described as the residence place of Lord Jagannath and he is one of the many avatars of Lord Krishna, after whom this Dol Yatra is celebrated. Like every other state in the country, this festival is celebrated here in the same time and it comes in the month of March in a Gregorian calendar. Lord Jagannath is also seen celebrating the festival of colors outside his main shrine and this place is known as ‘Dola Bedi’. Thousands of devotees come to this bedi to see Jagannath participating in Dol Utsav.
This festival is celebrated in the remembrance of the coronation of the Lord Jagannath in this town. The word coronation means ‘abhisheka’ in the local language. Pushyavisheka is observed on the full-moon day in the month of ‘Pausha’ which comes between the months of December to January in Gregorian calendar. This festival heralds the beginning of the annual cycle of Puri festivals. This is very significant for the tourists as this period of time is considered as the peak season to the visitors of Puri.
Don’t Miss: WHY TO VISIT TEMPLES ? Scientific Reason
This day is also referred as ‘Akha Teej’ in the local language. It is usually celebrated on the third day of ‘Shukla Paksha’ (the bright half of the lunar month) in the month of ‘Baisakh’ of Hindu calendar which is actually April in Gregorian calendar. This day believed to be the birthday of the great Parasurama who is considered as the sixth incarnation of Lord Vishnu. It is also believed that on this day Lord Ganesha and Veda Vyas had started writing the greatest Hindu epic ‘Mahabharata’. This day is considered as the holiest day in a year to start a new venture.
This festival is celebrated at the terminal point of the festive cycle of Odisha. The celebration of ‘Chandan Yatra’ is started from ‘Akshay Tritiya’ and lasts for the next 21 days. As the name is suggesting, the most important and inseparable constituents of this festival are Chandan bibhuti (sandal paste) and water. ‘Chandan Yatra’ is celebrated in the month of ‘Baisakh’. Besides the religious reference, this festival has a scientific logic also i.e. Sandal gives pleasure to human skin in the hot summertime of the month of April.
So these are some important festivals mentioned for the tourists among the 62 festivals observed in Puri which bring a huge amount of crowd to Puri throughout the year. But there are some other events and festivals also which deserve at least a mention in this list and those are like Shri Hari Sayan, Utthapan Yatra, Parswa Paribartan, Dakshinayan Yatra, Prarbana Yatra, Uttarayan and etc. Puri is a city of festivals in true sense and that is why people come here throughout the year not only to visit the temples, beaches or to enjoy the scenic spots but also to attend the festivals and events observed here.