FAIRS AND FESTIVALS OF PURI

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Magha Mela

The most popular and colorful festival of Konark, an occasion for a grand congregation of Indian pilgrims and enthusiasts from abroad, falls on the 7th day of the bright half of Magha month. The Indian pilgrims take holy dips in the chandrabhaga tirtha near the sea and welcome the rising Sun with prayers.

Shivaratri

This is one of the most important festival which usually falls during the month of February or March. Worship is offered throughout the night by devotees who observe fasting during the day. All through the night,people burn dipas in many Shiva temples of the city.The devotees break their fast after mahadipa is lighted in honour of Lord Mahadev. In Puri this festival is also known as 'Jagar'. Tourists may see it best at Puri Lokanath Temple.

Snana Yatra

On the fullmoon day of the month of Jyestha, for the annual ceremonial bath, the four images of Balabhadra, Jagannath, Subhadra and Sudarsan are brought in a pompous procession to the bathing platform (Snan Vedi), with the reitation of Vedic hymns, 108 pots of consecrated water are showered on the deities. At the end of the ceremony they appear in 'Gaja Vesha' and then retire into seclusion for fiften days called 'Anavasara Period'.

Read more on Snana Yatra

Sitalasasthi

This Festival comes in the month of June. Celebrated with great pomp and splendour, at Puri in many villages (mainly in Bramhana Sasans), Sitalasasthi is to commemorate the marriage of Lord Shiva with Parvati. It is performed just like real marriage ceremony. Devotees play the part of Lord Shiva's and Parvati's parents.The images of Lord Shiva and Parvati are carried on beautifully decorated chariots to the accompaniment of music, fireworks and dance by celebrated artists. The procession lasts midnight to midday next. When the marriage of the divine couple is celebrated in traditional Vedic manner. This festival comes to an end with a grand worship of the divine couple at the Shiva temple. During this occasion tourists could witness flok dances and beautiful fireworks.

Dola Yatra

Dola yatra is a significant week-long festival, starts from phaguna sukla dasami and ends on purnima, is celebrated to welcome the spring season. Associated with the Radha-Krishna cult, this is an occasion for Lord Krishna to accept bhoga from every home of the town by moving in a Viman. The bhoga is called 'Dwaribhoga'. A hutment is doused in fire to invite the deity back into the temple called 'Aai Ghara' and coloured powder is smeared ober the deity. The legend of the demon king Hiranyakashipu and his son Prahalad, the greatest devotee of Vishnu exemplifies the omnipotent power of the divine. The death of his aunt Holika is the fire and Prahalad escaping unhurt shows that he who choose the God's path can be invincible. The 'Gomata' (Cow) is also venerated as a mother on Dolapurnima. The cowherd (gopala) community go for a musical procession in the by lanes of the town and sing and dance with a lot pious fervour. The idols of Radha and Madanamohan are worshipped in a swing (doli) throughout the night.

Holi

Holi the festival of colours, is one of the most important festivals celebrated in Puri, without any distinctions of caste, creed and colour. This festival owes its origin to the romantic splendour of Sri Krishna and Radha. The adorable charm of Lord Krishna and the undying love of the Gopis or cow-herd girls towards Him is the essence of the Rasalela in Vrindavan. Devotees alike put different colours over each other and enjoy an atmosphere of jovial mood and gaiety. Even tourists are not exempted from receiving a spary of colour dust and avoid this joyful festival, if they are lucky to be there at that time. On this day Lord Jagannath is dressed with ' Chacheri Vesha'.

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