Festivals & Fairs at Lingaraja Temple, Bhubaneswar, Orissa

The festivals celebrated in honour of the divinity are called yatras. There are 14 principal and 12 minor yatras observed in a year. The year begins from the 1st day of new moon in the month of Margasira (November-December) when the ritual year is said to commence, and the festivals are usually calculated from that date.

In the temple there are deputies or Chalanti Pratima, viz., Chandra Sekhar, Gopalini, Durga, Dolagovinda, Panchabaktra and Basudeva. All these images are worshipped in a small temple called Dakhina Ghar (Southern Temple). In some festival days the mobile deputies go out on courtesy visit to different temples. Since the deity Lingaraja is a solid block of stone, it is represented by small bronze images called Chalanti Pratima. When the deputies are to go out, they are first taken to the transverse beam by the respective priests after which they are taken to the decorated Vimana. Before the deputies are taken out a coconut is broken near god Ganesh for the smooth ending of the festival.

The hereditary temple officials, such as a representative of Panchuati, Parakarana, Samantra, Parichha, etc., accompany the deities on festivals along with other Sebakas. The magistrate and the police maintain law and order during these processions.

The fourteen principal festivals of the Lord are Prathamastami, Pravarana Sasthi, Pusyaviseka, Makar Sankranti, Maghasaptami, Sivaratri, Asokastami, Damana Bhanjika, Chandan Yatra, Parasurama Astami, Sayana Chaturdasi, Pabitra Ropani, Yamadvitia and Uthana Chaturdasi. The twelve minor festivals are Dhanu Sankranti, Basanta Panchami, Bhaimi Ekadasi, Kapila Yatra, Dola Yatra, Naba Patrika, Sitala Sasthi, Janmastami, Ganesh Chaturdasi, Durgastami, Sodasadina Parba and Kumarottsava.

Car Festival of Lord Lingaraja
The Car Festival of Lord Lingaraja is celebrated at Bhubaneswar on the day of Asokastami. In the village Dia near Nirakarpur in the Khurda sub-division a car festival of Lord Kapileswara, a form of Siva, is also held on this day. Except these two places, nowhere in Orissa car festival is held on the day of Asokastami.

The festival takes place on the 8th of the wane in the month of Chaitra (March-April) the day preceding Ramanavami. The day is held sacred, because on this day Sita when confined by Ravana in Asoka Bana is said to have offered some Asoka (Saraca indica) flowers to god while praying for re-union with her Lord Ramachandra. Hindu wives mark it by eating eight Asoka buds because they believe that they will be relieved of all troubles and unhappiness for the year. Spinsters establish bond friendship by placing Asoka buds in each other mouth. A detailed account on this festival has been given in the Ekamra Purana which spread over many pages.

On the day before the car festivals, the chariot is ceremonially purified by the Kshetrabasi Brahmins of the town and the flag is fixed at the top of the chariot. This is called Neta Uchhaba(Flag ceremony). At the night of the Neta Uchhaba, barren women bathe in the water of the Marichi Kunda situated near the Mukteswara temple. It is believed that when a barren woman bathes in the water of this tank on this particular occasion, she is relieved of sterility.

On the day of Asokastami towards mid-day three deities, i.e., Chandrasekhar (the respresentative of Lord Lingaraja), Rukmini and Basudeva are ceremonially brought to ascend the car. The image of Chandrasekhar is a four-armed Siva image-two arms in abhaya posture, the third holding an axe (Parashu) and the fourth holding a deer (Mruga). The image of Basudeva is a four-armed Vishnu image holding Sankha, Chakra, Gada and Padma. the image of Rukmini is a four-armed Durga image holding Sankha, Chakra and Sula in two hands. All are bronze images. The sitting position of the deities is like this : Rukmini is seated in the middle, Chandrasekhar to her right and Basudeva to her left. An idol of Brushava and a big wooden image of Brahma, who is said to be the charioteer (Sarathi) of the car, are placed in the car.

The car is drawn westward up to Badhei Banka and from there northward to the Rameswara temple situated at a distance of 1.5 km. from the Lingaraja temple. The road on which the car is pulled is called the Ratha Danda. Previously, cane ropes were used to draw the car, but nowadays coir ropes are used for the purpose. Hundreds of people pull the car with devotion. The womenfolk do not pull the car, but get satisfication by touching rope. When the car is pulled, the Dahuka standing on the left side of the car shouts eloquently many vulgar couplets which the crowd enjoys. On the way the car stops in the Asura Kiari where Pana and Muan are offered to propitiate the Asuras for the safe journey of the car. After the car crossed the Asura Kiari it is drawn up to a banian tree called Debasabha Batabrukshyua where it stops. The deities are taken to the Rameswara temple and are kept for four days in a small apartment which is called Gundicha Ghar. During their stay at Gundicha Ghar, in a striking resemblance to the car festival at Puri, Parvati comes on the 3rd day to express her indignation as she was not made to accompany her consort Lord Lingaraja in the car. She breaks (the priests of Parvati act for this scene) a portion of the car and goes back to the temple. On the fifth day, the three deities start the return jouney called Bahuda. While returning, the car is drawn to the temple from the back side. (The car does not take a turn. The altar of the deities is only changed). Hence, the saying in Oriya : Rukuna Ratha analeuta i.e., the car of of Rukuna or Rukmini (Rukmini and Basudeva also sit in the car along with Chandra Sekhar) never turns back. When Lingaraja is about to enter the sanctuary, Parvati shuts the door and a mock quarrel takes place between the two parties of priests on behalf of Lingaraja and Parvati. However, Parvati is pacified later on and allows the deities to enter the temple. Thus the festival ends.

The Car
The car is known as Debadalana. It is also called Rukuna Rath. On the day of Basanta Panchami, the 5th day in the bright fortnight of Magha (January-February) the Bauri Sebakas are honoured with new clothes and eight days before the Siva Ratri festival they go to the forest, cut the selected trees, and bring the logs to the temple ceremonially. The construction of the car begins after the Siva Ratri festival. It is a four-wheeled car of disc-wheels. The four sides of the car are decorated with wood-carved images of Surya, Baruna, Indra, Agni, Durga, Siva, Yama and Kartikeya. The flag bears the emblem of Ardhachandra. Two pairs of wooden horses in their riding posture are tied in front of the car. The height of the car is about 35 feet (10.6680 metres), the diametre of the wheel is 9 feet (2.7432 metres), the diametre of the axle is 22 inches (0.5588 metres), the thickness of the wheel is about 10 inches (0.2540 metres), and the distance between the two wheels is about 10 feet (0.2540 metres). The cover-cloth of the car is of four colours, viz., yellow, red, white and blue.

Related Posts

  • Vaishno Devi Temple,Katra Vaishno Devi Temple,Katra

    Vaishno Devi Temple is the most-sought after pilgrimage of the Hindus. Located at Trikoot Parvat, Mata Vaishno Mandir is the holiest shrine of India and it is famous all over the World. The temple is accessible by a journey of 13 kms from Katra. Katra is a small town that falls in Udhampur district of Jammu. From Jammu, Katra lies at a distance of 50 kms.

  • Sri Kodanda Rama Swamy Temple, Vontimitta Sri Kodanda Rama Swamy Temple, Vontimitta

    Vontimitta Sri Kodanda rama Swamy temple is a famous Hindu temple in Andhra Pradesh state is dedicated to Lord Rama. The temple is present in Vontimitta town of Rajampet taluk in YSR Kadapa District.

  • Khadri Lakshmi Narasimha Swamy Temple, Kadiri Khadri Lakshmi Narasimha Swamy Temple, Kadiri

    Kadiri Lakshmi Narasimha Swamy Temple is located in the southeastern part of Anantapur district in Andhra Pradesh, India. Lord Narasimha at Kadiri is swayambhu emerging from the roots of Khadri tree. He appears here as Ashta Bahu Narasimha (having eight hands) tearing Hiranyakasipu. We can see Prahlada standing beside him with folded hands.

  • Sammakka Saralamma Jatara, Medaram Sammakka Saralamma Jatara, Medaram

    Sammakka Saralamma Jatara or Medaram Jatara is a tribal festival of honouring the goddesses celebrated in the state of Telangana, India. The Jatara begins at Medaram in Tadvai Mandal in Warangal district.Medaram is a remote place in the Eturnagaram Wildlife Sanctuary, a part of Dandakaranya, the largest surviving forest belt in the Deccan.

  • Ramalingeswara Temple, Warangal Ramalingeswara Temple, Warangal

    The Ramappa Temple, also known as Ramalingeswara temple is located in the Palampet village at a distance of about 77 km from Warangal. The temple is another example of Kakatiya Dynasty. This is one of the temples which was named after its chief architect. The temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and the architecture of this temple is similar to the famous Ghanpur Group of Temples of Warangal itself. The temple is a master piece of Kakatiyan architecture and everyone must visit to get a glimpse in the life of Kakatiya people.

  • Lepakshi Temple, Lepakshi Lepakshi Temple, Lepakshi

    Lepakshi is a village in the Anantapur District of Andhra Pradesh, India. It is located 15 km (9.3 mi) east of Hindupur and approximately 120 km (75 mi) north of Bangalore. Lepakshi is culturally and archaeologically significant as it is the location of shrines dedicated to Shiva, Vishnu and Veerabhadra which were built during the Vijayanagara Kings' period (1336-1646).

  • Ram Mandir, Ayodhya Ram Mandir, Ayodhya

    Ayodhya is the place where Lord Sri Ram was born and ruled for many years (after killing Ravana). There was an existing temple built in this city, proofs of which have been found during ASI excavation. More than the physical temple and exact spot, the important point is the association of this city (town) with Lord Sri Rama, the most important incarnation of Lord Vishnu.

  • Siddeshwara Swamy Temple, Warangal Siddeshwara Swamy Temple, Warangal

    Siddeshwara temple has a rich ancient history associated with it. The temple was built in 3rd century A.D. Even though built in a time period when life was totally different from today's world, people fascinate about the architecture of this temple a lot.

  • Sri Kakuleswara Swamy Temple, Srikakulam Sri Kakuleswara Swamy Temple, Srikakulam

    Srikakulam has a rich history and is the first capital of the Andhra Kingdom. The ancient Srikakuleswara Swamy temple is located on the banks of River Krishna and is considered to be the 57th of 108 Divya Desams, holiest of shrines dedicated to Lord Vishnu, by Vasihnavaites. The temple has a rich cultural and historical legacy and is one of the oldest temples in the south. Great poets like Srinatha Kavi Sarvabhoumudu, Kasuala Purushottama and Narayanatheertha, the composer of Sri Krishna Leela Tharangini praised the temple in their works. The temple is located in the mandal of Ghantasala, which is a popular Buddhist center.

  • Sri Mallikharjuna Swamy Temple, Komaravelli Sri Mallikharjuna Swamy Temple, Komaravelli

    The Lord is believed to have manifested as Sri Mallikharjuna Swamy and made Komaravelli his abode in the eleventh century CE. The Lord married Golla Ketamma from the Yadava community and Medalamma from the Linga Balija community, which explains the association of those communities with the worship services of the Lord.

Latest Posts

  • Temples
  • Sacred Places
  • Articles
  • Pancha Sabhai Sthalams / Sthalangal
    Pancha Sabhai Sthalangal refers to the temples of Lord Nataraja, a form of Lord Shiva where he performed the Cosmic Dance. Panc..
  • Pancha Bhoota Stalas
    Pancha Bhoota Stalam or Pancha Bhoota Stala refers to the five Shiva temples, dedicated to Shiva, the most powerful Hindu god a..
  • 18 Shakti Peethas / Asta Dasa Shakti Peethas
    Astadasha Shakthi Peetas Lord Brahma performed a yagna to please Shakti and Shiva. Goddess Shakti emerged, separating from Shiv..
  • Navagaraha Sthala or Temple
    Navagraha Suriyan (Sun), Chandran (Moon), Chevvai (Mars), Budha (Mercury), Guru (jupiter), Sukra (Venus), Sani (Saturn), Rahu (..


  • Siddeshwara Swamy Temple, Warangal
  • 10 Unique things you should do in Kolhapur
  • Sri Seetha Ramachandra Swamy Vaari Devasthanams, Bhadrachalam, Khammam, Telangana
  • Sri Brahmaramba Mallikarjuna Swamy Devasthanam, Srisailam, Kurnool, Andhra Pradesh
  • Maisigandi Maisamma Temple Kadthal,  Mahabubnagar, Telangana
  • Arulmigu Jambukeswarar Akhilandeswari Temple, Thiruvanaikaval, Trichy, Tamilnadu
  • Sri Lakshmi Tirupatamma Devasthanam, Penuganchiprolu, Andhra Pradesh
  • Sri Subrahmanyeswara Swamy Vari Devasthanam, Mopidevi, Andhra Pradesh
  • Sri Durga Malleswara Swamy Varla Devastanams, Vijayawada
  • Sree Bhadrakali Devasthanam, Warangal
  • Sri Lakshmi Ganapathy Temple, Biccavolu
  • Ashok Vatika
  • The Lords Own Country, Dwarka
  • Simhachalam Temple
  • Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple