26 Jan 2020

The Biraja Temple (Odia: ଓଡ୍ଡ୍ୟାଣ ପୀଠ or ବିରଜା ମନ୍ଦିର) is a historic Hindu Shakti temple located in Jajpur. It's about 125 kilometers or 78 miles on the north side of Bhubaneswar, Odisha, India. According to our history, the present temple was built during the 13th century.

The main idol of this Temple is Devi Durga, who is worshiped as Viraja or Girija. It's considered as one of the oldest Shakti Pitha in Odisha. As per the name Biraja, the place is called as Biraja Kshetra or Biraja Pitha.

The idol has two hands which people say Dwibhuja. With one hand, spearing the chest of Mahishasura and pulling his tail with the other. One of her feet is on a lion, and the other is on Mahishasura's chest. Mahishasura is depicted as a water buffalo.

The idol's crown features Ganesha, a crescent moon and a lingam. The temple covers a large area and has several shrines to Shiva and other deities. According to the Skanda Purana, it cleanses pilgrims, and it is called the Viraja or the Biraja kshetra.

On Triveni Amavasya or on the Magha Amabasya, the birth anniversary of Maa Biraja is celebrated at the Place. A number of devotees use to visit maa Biraja on this day.

* All the photos are taken by Parsuram Sahoo and his friends.
* All these data are taken from English Wikipedia.

14 Jan 2020

Makara Sankranti (Odia: ମକର ସଂକ୍ରାନ୍ତି) is a Hindu festival dedicated to the deity Surya or Sun. On this day, Sun goes towards the Southern hemisphere. This festival is more dedicated to farmers. This festival is also known as Maghi.

It is observed each year in the lunar month of Magha which corresponds with the month of January as per the Gregorian calendar and is a day the people of India celebrate their harvest. It marks the first day of the sun's transit into Makara (Capricorn), marking the end of the month with the winter solstice and the start of longer days.

The festivities associated with Makar Sankranti are known by various names, such as Magh Bihu in Assam, Maghi (preceded by Lohri) in Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh, popular amongst both the Hindus and Sikhs, Sukarat in central India, Thai Pongal in Tamil Nadu, Ghughuti in Uttarakhand or simply as 'Makara Sankranti' in Odisha, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Goa, Andhra Pradesh (also called Pedda Pandaga), Telangana, West Bengal (also called Poush Sankranti) and Uttar Pradesh (also called Kichddi Sankranti).

Makara Sankranti is observed with social festivities such as colorful decorations, rural children going house to house, singing and asking for treats in some areas, melas (fairs), dances, kite flying, bonfires, and feasts. The Magha Mela, according to Diana L. Eck (professor at Harvard University specializing in Indology), is mentioned in the Hindu epic Mahabharat. Many observers go to sacred rivers or lakes and bathe in a ceremony of thanks to the sun. Every twelve years (marking one complete revolution of Jupiter around the Sun) the Hindus observe Makar Sankranti with one of the world's largest mass pilgrimages, with an estimated 40 to 100 million people attending the event. At this event, then they say a prayer to the sun and bathe at the Prayaga confluence of the River Ganga and River Yamuna at the Kumbha Mela, a tradition attributed to Adi Shankaracharya.

Since Makara Sankranti is the festival of cultivation, we Odias worship our Lord by offering them the newly harvested Paddy from our farms. We couldn't offer the normal rice grains like that, so we prepare this delicious mix prasad for Lord by adding some fruits, milk, coconut, banana, etc to it.

Source: Wikipedia

10 Jan 2020

Puspuni is written as ପୁସପୁନି or ପୁଷପୁନୀ in Odia script, an annual festival of the western and southern part of Odisha celebrated to offer the newly harvested paddy near the God. The word Puspuni is a combination of two words Pus which means Pausha (Odia: ପୌଷ), the 9th month of Odia calendar and Puni means Purnima, the full moon day.

So, the festival is celebrated on the Pausha Purnima that is, on the full moon day of Pusha month. According to the Georgian calendar, this festival is celebrated in the month of December or January every year.

Photo: Sandeep Nayak

People of Western Odisha, irrespective of their economic occupation feast, song, and dance, and rejoice in giving away on this day.

How it is celebrated?

On the full moon day of the month of Pausha, they cook rice, tasty dishes (Chha 'Tun Na' Bhajaa), especially goat meat, along with rice pudding and cakes. The family dines together and makes marry. They share their dishes and cakes with other families and friends.

More Facts

In Bargarh town, this festival is celebrated by a day delay due to the Dhunujatra. Pausha Purnima is the last day of Dhanu Jatra, the mythological drama held in Bargarh town which is the biggest open-air theater of the world. At the end of this drama, the Mythological king Kansa dies and after that people celebrate this festival.

Pausha Khechudi

At this festival, in some places, people also make one type of prasad named Pausha Khechudi to offer God. People use to prepare this from newly harvested things like Rice and different types of dals.

Photo: Manaswini

4 Jan 2020

Dhanu Jatra is the biggest open-air theatrical performance in the world celebrated in Bargarh, Odisha in India. It's celebrated for 11 days long around the Bargarh town.

The main theme of this theatrical performance is based on the story of Lord Krishna and his uncle Kansa. But the difference is, here Krushna is not the lead character, Kansa is in the lead role.

The theatre is an 8-kilometer radius area around the Bargarh municipality where the visitors and guests also played a character in the drama. During the celebration, the Kansa rules the city and he usually calls the officers from various departments and also punishes them for their faults. He uses to visit the whole city by sitting on an elephant.

The person who plays the Kansa Character always takes care of his appearance. While he plays his devil character on the pandal, he appears like a real Devil and while interacting with people, he appears like a loveable character for the children and the dignity on the face like a real king.

To relate the character with that real character he uses to appear like him with big mustaches, in the way it's described by our forefathers in our ancient books. He puts some different makeup on his face to appear like a real devil.

Apart from these real things, he also plays the old ancient drama of Dhanu Jatra which includes the Gopa Leela of Krishna and his plans to kill Lord Krishna. During the celebration, the whole city turns into Mathura Puri and Gopa Pura. The river Jeera turns into the Yamuna river.

The whole story shows how Kansa rules over the Mathura Nagari and how he fears his nephew Krishna. On one side he rules like a good King and on the other side, he plans to kill Krishna.

The main story of the play starts with the marriage of Devaki and Basudev. After the marriage, Kansa hears about his death by the 8th child of Devaki. So, he put both of them in a prison and started killing one by one baby from Devaki. But Basudev replaces the 8th child with the child of Nanda Raja and Yasoda.

But unfortunately, Kansa comes to know about the originality of the 8th Child from the daughter of light, the baby from Nanda and Yasoda. So, he plans to kill Krishna in Gopapura.

Kansa sends Demons like Putana and others to kill Kanha. But unfortunately, everyone fell to kill him. Krushna and Balaram kill all the demons sent by Kansa.

Krishna plays with his friends, makes love with Radha near the Yamuna River. The whole place becomes like Gopapuri and the Gopies come to sell Dahi in the market. People who use to go there as visitors also buy Dahi from them.

During the drama, the whole place becomes like the exact Mathura and Gopapura. You could imagine about a time machine which may leave you in that ear of Kanha. The visitors also play with Kanha, they worship Kanha in this avatar.

The child, who plays the role of Kanha appears like real Kanha with blue in color wearing yellow dresses or Khandua Pata, the favorite dress of Lord Jagannath plays the flute seeks everybody's attention towards him.

According to our ancient story, Dhanu Yatra was organized by Kansa to kill Kanha at Mathura. So with the help of Akrura, he invited Krushna and Balaram to Mathura, but Krishna had killed Kansa there. 

It's said that the people of Bargarh reformed a new crew for this play in 1948 to celebrate the independence of India. By killing Kansa, it shows the defeat of the end of colonial rules.

- All these photographs are taken by Ansuman Rath and Tarani Trotter.
- You could follow Tarani Sir @TaraniTrotter and Ansuman sir @_AnsumanRath on Twitter.
- Most of the information are taken from Wikipedia as sources.
- And all the photographs are published here with the permission of the original photographer. If you are willing to reuse them, then please take the permission of the Photographers directly.

16 Dec 2019

Dhanu Muan is a delicious Odia food dish mostly popular in Odisha and has a special significance for Dhanu Sankranti in the month of Pausha. It's a crisp ball made of puffed rice and jaggery. Now people are making this with Sugar instead of Jaggery.

Dhanu Muan is written as धनु मुआँ in Devnagari script and as ଧନୁ ମୁଆଁ in Odia script. Pausha is the 9th Month according to Odia calendar and this month is mostly famous for the Dhanu Muan and in Odia, this month is also considered as Dhanu Month.

Ganjam district is much more famous for Dhanu Muan and people always love to have Dhanu Muan when they go there. During the month of Pusha, lots of open stores open to sell Dhanu Muan, but now-a-days, you may find such shops throughout the year.

12 Dec 2019

A river mouth is a part of a river where the river debouches into another river, a lake, a reservoir, a sea, or an ocean. Mangala River (Odia: ମଙ୍ଗଳା ନଦୀ) is a river which debouches into the Bay of Bengal near Puri.

The debouch place is just 3 to 4 kilometers away from the Swargadwara, Puri which could be a good tourist place. But still, this place is not up to that which could be considered as a good tourist place.

This Muhana or mouth of the river is an important place for the Sea which sometimes create a flood-like situation in the sea.

- All these photographs are taken by Rajashree Sahoo.
- All the photo rights are reserved to Rajashree mam and we have published here with her permission. 
- Before reusing these photographs, you may need her permissions.

Manabasa Gurubara Osha is a traditional Odia festival mainly celebrated on every house in the month of Margasira, the 8th month of Odia calendar. In this festival, Goddess Mahalaxmi is worshiped by the women of the home.

For this festival, people use to worship Maa Laxmi on every Thursday of the month. Maa Mahalaxmi is considered as the goddess of wealth and people use to worship her for the care of their wealth.

According to one legend described in the Manabasa Laxmi Purana by Balaram Das, one poor lady named Shriya, who worshiped Maa Laxmi and by the blessings of Maa, she got wealth and her life became stable.

Balabhadra, the elder brother of Maa Laxmi's husband Lord Jagannath opposed this thing because Shriya was belonging to a lower caste named Chandal. Here Chandal refers to that caste who usually works as a sweeper.

With the influence of Lord Balabhadra, Lord Jagannath asked Mahalaxmi to stay out of the Temple, so she left with anger. After that Lord Jagannath and Balabhadra became poor, they couldn't get any food and all these happened just because of the curse by Mahalaxmi.

Later both the brothers regret that and from that day, people follow that ritual done by Shriya to worship Maa Laxmi every Thursday of Margasira. People use to make the Alpana designs or you can say Jhoti Chita designs for Maa Laxmi as she loves these things.

We have collected some beautiful photographs taken by Aisworika Senapati during this Manabasa Gurubara Osha. 

* All these photographs are shared with CC 3.0 License. You are free to use all these photographs, with proper credit.

Further Readings:

21 Nov 2019

After the Ratha Jatra, Jagadhatri Mela is the biggest festival of Baripada, Mayurbhanj in the state of Odisha, India. It is the festival of Maa Jagadhatri, where Jagadhatri means the Goddess of the whole World.

This festival is called as the Mini Bali Jatra after Cuttack's BaliJatra. Both these festivals are celebrated during Ras Purnima or Kartika Purnima.

It's a 7 to 10 days mela or carnival, celebrated in the month of Kartika according to the Odia calendar and in the month of October - November according to the Georgian Calendar. 

The Jagadhatri mela takes place at the Jagadhatri Mela Padia, Bhanjpur near Bhanjpur Railway Station during the month of October–November. The celebration for this mela started from Gosthastami. The Bhanjpur Jagadhatri mela is famous for its unique and attractive decorations.

This mela is also referred to as another Durga Puja in Baripada as it also starts on Asthami tithi and ends on the Dashami tithi. The date of the puja is decided by the luni-solar Hindu calendar.

The history said that, the Jagatdhatri Puja was first started by Maharaja Krishnachandra of Krishnanagar, Nadia in Bengal. That's why Jagatdhatri Puja is very popular in Krishnanagar and near by places like Tehatta, Rishra, Chandannagar, Bhadreswar, Hooghly, Boinchi, Ashoknagar-Kalyangarh.

This year in 2019, one of our friends Biswa had clicked some beautiful and attractive photographs of Jagadhatri Mela, Baripada and here we have attached all these photographs taken from him with proper permission and rights.

The mela doesn't mean for the idols, the decorations, it also includes the people, small to big shops, cultural festivals, etc. So, here are some snaps of the Minabazar.

From those days to these days, food had taken the first priority always and most of the people come to the carnival to eat different kinds of street food, so some good food stalls also started their business here. And here are a few clicks of the food stalls and plates.

Apart from all these things, which I have noticed that almost all the Indians love to eat paan and now-a-days, the paan shops or betel shops are coming with some varieties of paan like Mitha Paan, Fire Paan, etc. So, here is the click of the Mitha Paan Shop.

* All these photographs are taken by Biswa and published here with his permission.
* All the photo rights are reserved to the original photographer. So, before reposting, take his permission.
* Most of the contents about the Jagadhatri Puja and the Jagadhatri Mela are based on Wikipedia articles.

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