The capital city hosts a number of festivals throughout the year. The winter season in the city is active with many festivals organised in its numerous venues.
Mukteswar Dance Festival:
The Mukteswar Utsav of Odisha is one of the most well known festivals celebrated in the state. This festival is named after one of the most renowned temples of Odisha i.e. Mukteshwar Temple. The Mukteshwar Utsav in Odisha is mainly a dance festival, in which many talented Odissi dancers perform. This temple is a very important part of cultural life of the people of Odisha as the architecture at the temple entrance is considered to be one of the most beautiful specimens of the Odisian School of architecture. This temple signifies the transitional phase of the architecture of Odisha between the initial and the later stages of Kalinga architectural style. The beautiful architectural works of the temple add to the splendor of the Mukteshwar Utsav. This festival is an important event for people who take interest in the traditional dance forms of India. The festival is being organized by the Department of Tourism as part of Ekamra Utsav that is aimed at promoting Bhubaneswar as a major destination for cultural tourism. It will be an exclusive Odissi dance festival unlike the other.
The Tribal Exhibition popularly known as Adivasi mela is organized for one week from January 26th every year in the Adivasi exhibition ground, situated in the heart of the capital city, Bhubaneswar by the state Government. This is considered as the oldest and the most colorful festival of tribal people where all the 62 tribes people including 13 PTGs, come over to the exhibition ground spread out their ethnic mosaic.
The festival reflects the culture centric life of the tribal people. The Vibes of continuity and change of ethnic life are showcased in the exhibition.
The main objective of the fair is to exhibit and promote tribal culture, tradition, lifestyle and arts and crafts besides sale of their products. An ambience of tribal village and haat (market) is created at the festival site.
Forest products and tribal products are exhibited and sold here. The citizens eagerly wait for one year to buy tribal products directly from the communities.
Cultural programmes presented by tribal communities are organized every evening at the fete. This is a rare occasion to have a glimpse of the unique tribal culture of Odisha in the urban city of Bhubaneswar. The tourists throng to get an overall picture and feel of the tribal society.
Tribal Dance Festival:
Organized by the Bhubaneswar based SC and ST Research and Training Institute (SCSTRTI) in collaboration with the Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Manav Sangrahalaya (IGRMS), the Festival is etched in history as a landmark event for Odisha, not only for the excellent quality of tribal dances it brings to fore but at the same time for the rich congregation of diverse tribal communities in one place. It also offers a chance to the people at largeto see and savor the rich culture of the diverse interior tribes.
The festival features tribal dance troupes from Gujarat, Uttarakhand, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Odisha North Eastern states. The festival is held every year at the Utkal Mandapa in the premises of the Utkal Sangeet Mahavidyalaya. The mellifluous tribal music flocks a huge audience every year here in the capital city.
The Madal, Dhangdi, Dhemsa, Khutmandar , Bagadwal , Pouna, Karma dance Jhadia Paraja, Gadaba, Koyas, Bagadwal,Bir Vairab, Sarhul and Rinjha are some of the famous tribal dance forms performed with a great flair in this dance festivals every year. The tribal dance itself is vast in variety indicating their importance in the social and religious life of the people. The tune of traditional instruments like horn, trumpet, flute and drum, etc. captivates and flocks a huge audience every year. These dance pieces are basically performed to show respect towards men, nature and animal.
In todays mechanized and fast times, the Tribal Dance Festivalbrings back the understanding to appreciate simplicity and the base values of being a human. Tribal art forms like their dance and music needs to be preserved as well as boosted. Platforms like the one provided by this Festival is really the right way to give fillip to the rich and fantastic Indigenous tribal culture of our country. The haunting lilt of the traditional music and the rhythm of the supple and sprightly dance movements are thoroughly cherished by huge crowd visiting this Festival.
Utkal Divas or Odisha Day:
In 1st April 1936, the state of Odisha was formed and to remember the contributions and sacrifices made by the people of Odisha in those olden days, Utkal Divas or Odisha Day is celebrated all over the state. Not only in Odisha but Utkal Divas is celebrated in many cities and towns in India and abroad, where people from Odisha reside. In ancient times the region of Odisha was the center of the Kalinga kingdom, although it was temporarily conquered (c.250 B.C.) by Asoka and held for almost a century by the Mauryas. With the gradual decline of Kalinga, several Hindu dynasties arose and built temples at Bhubaneswar, Puri, and Konark. After long resistance to the Muslims, the region was overcome (1568) by Afghan invaders and passed to the Mughal empire. After the fall of the Mughals, Odisha was divided between the Nawabs of Bengal and the Marathas. In 1803 it was conquered by the British.
The coastal section, which was made (1912) part of Bihar and Odisha Province became the separate province of Odisha in 1936. In 1948 and 1949 the area of Odisha was almost doubled and the population was increased by a third with the addition of 24 former princely states. In 1950, Odisha became a constituent state of India.
Celebration of Utkal Divas:
Utkal Divas is celebrated to commemorate the foundation day of our state Odisha on 1st April 1936. Odisha took birth as a separate linguistic state because of the pioneering efforts of Utkala Gaurav Madhusudan Das, Utkalamani Gopabandhu Das, Maharaja Shri Ramachandra Bhanjadeo, Maharaja Shri Krushna Chandra Gajapati, Raja Baikunthanath Dey, Fakir Mohan Senapati, Gangadhar Meher, and Gouri Shankar Ray. Later on the State was divided into 13 districts and then 30 districts. The day is celebrated as State Holiday in Odisha. On this occasion various cultural evenings, seminars, competition are organised in different parts of inside and outside the State. Odia communities all over the world also celebrate wherever they are.
Odishas capital city Bhubaneswar celebrates its Foundation day on 13th April every year. Although its presence is rooted deeply in the history of the state and it has been a center of activity since the mighty emperor Kharavela established his capital in Sishupalgarh, it was only in 1948 that after careful considerations, that this sleepy town was chosen as the spot to become the administrative capital of Orissa. Long before Pandit Jawhar Lal Nehru inaugurated it as the capital of the state on April 13th 1948, the place was well known as the Temple city boasting of more than 1000 temples that were as old as 7th century.
The master plan of Bhubaneswar was prepared by the internationally acclaimed architect and urban planner, Otto H Koenigsberger in 1948 for a population of 40,000 over an area of 16.48 km2 with a density of 10 to 12 families per acre. The innovative master plan of the city with modernist buildings, land-use patterns, provisions for education, recreation, medical and social services created a landmark in the history of town planning in India. Bhubaneswar was after all the second city in the country and only after Chandigarh to be developed on a master plan. The City saw a greater change in the late 1980s when light industries and manufacturing activities were added into the ambit of the original master plan that envisaged it primarily for administrative activities. This led to influx of working population into the sleepy town and for the first time showed the seeds of expansion. Three decades later, today the government with its intention of projecting Bhubaneswar as the Prime destination of Education in the eastern India, the city has taken quantum leaps not only geographically but demographically too. The city which is growing towards north, northwest and southwest direction along the main transport routes and has already taken areas like Chandaka, Jatani, Uttara, Patia and Hansapal into its sway is today one of the fastest growing cities in India.
Agricultural and vacant land that once donned the outskirts of the city has been now replaced with high rise buildings. There are engineering colleges and other educational institutes that are coming up there! The city boasts of more than 40 engineering colleges and three medical colleges. Top institutes like that of IIT, BITS and AIIMS have already started operating in the city.
This has brought in structural changes in the demography of the city too. Today students and younger working professionals coming out of the state are becoming majority. Service sector industries like the Software sector and ITES industries have started operations in the city in scores! Similarly infrastructure companies that have their eyes on the future too are now very active in the city. In fact the city has become the cynosure of all infrastructure activities and boasts of some big players like DLF, Tata and Vipul. These companies are redefining the future of the city by creating residential and commercial complexes in the city. On a nutshell, Bhubaneswar city is going through a transition that is simply unprecedented.
And nothing defines this transition more than the cultural conversion that we are experiencing today! The youth of today in the city is more aggressive and extrovert than he ever was! While Hindi and English are slowly replacing Odia as the mode of communication, the shopping habits of the residents have undergone sea change with the advent of mall culture. Similarly concepts of eat outs and night parties have become popular too.
While all these changes might not be welcome, but transition is just a way of life and one need to accept the fact that Bhubaneswar is well on the path to compete with other cities on scales of infrastructure, development and economic success. It might not be too far off when we actually see Bhubaneswar as the best city in the country.