Annual Events, Festivals in Odisha That Are Truly Unskippable
Odisha is one of the many states in India whose roots run deep in art, culture, and festivities. The state hosts a bunch of annual events that pay ode to the state’s love for art, literature, sports, and more. Planning to pay a visit? Here are five marvellous annual events and festivals in Odisha that you must experience and indulge in, at least once!
National Chilika Bird Festival
The National Chilika Bird Festival takes place in January at Mangalajodi – the largest brackish water lake of Asia, fondly known as the Birds Paradise of Asia. Since Chilika lies in the Central Asian Flyway, it serves as a stopover for arctic and sub-arctic migratory birds. Visitors can spot lakhs of rare birds like Terns, Sandpipers, Grey-headed Lapwings, Ruddy-breasted Crakes, long-distance migrant birds like Lesser Flamingo, Black-tailed Godwit, locally-migrating species like Spot-billed Pelican, Oriental Darter, and more. One can also pay a visit to the Nalabana Bird Sanctuary, go on nature walks, go boating, and also attend informative sessions conducted by experts. Better yet, you can spend a night or two at Chilika’s accommodations to squeeze everything out of this enthralling experience.
Eastern India’s most coveted ‘glamping’ event – Eco Retreat makes for the best getaway experience that has recently branched out to 5 different locations in Odisha – Konark, Bhitarkanika, Hirakud, Satkosia, and Daringbadi. The Eco Retreat offers visitors a glamorous camping experience along with heavenly cuisines, nature trails, water sports, cultural nights, activity-packed days, and beach spas. The most impressive thing about the Eco Retreat is that it has been developed as an environmentally sustainable model that practices material utilisation, zero liquid and sewerage discharge, and holistic waste management. So, who’s ready to unwind at some luxury cottages?
Chandrabhaga International Sand Art Festival
Where the beach becomes a canvas and sand comes to life – the Chandrabhaga International Sand Art Festival began in 2015 and takes place in December at Chandrabhaga Beach. Several national and international artists from Mexico, Spain, France, USA, Netherlands, and beyond go head-to-head to create sand art using sea beach sand that represents a certain theme. The theme, each year, is dedicated to environmental, cultural, or national/international affairs. Sunsets, sand art, and shenanigans – what more could you possibly ask for?
Rajarani Music Festival
A three-day music festival in January each year, where the magic of classical music envelopes the popular 11th-century Rajarani Temple in Bhubaneswar – the Rajarani Music Festival is a paradise for the connoisseurs of music. The festival serves as a platform for artists from across the country featuring sonorous instruments and melodious vocals. It is a celebration of classical Indian music ranging from Hindustani to Carnatic to Sufi to Odissi styles. The festival is graced by Indian classical music maestros such as Ustad Amjad Ali Khan, Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia, Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma, and more.
Mukteswar Dance Festival
Immortalising Odisha’s unmatched cultural heritage against the marvellous temple architecture of 10th-century Mukteswar Temple – the Mukteswar Dance Festival takes place in January and is truly a sight for sore eyes. Organised by Odisha Tourism, this festival is one of the Marquee events of the Temple City. Every year, since 2004, the Mukteswar Dance Festival captures the essence of Odissi dance – one of the oldest classical dance forms in India. Aesthetes of dance from all over the world as well as luminaries of Odissi dance like Sujata Mohapatra, Aruna Mohanty, Madhvi Mudgal, and more grace the event.