Durga Puja – Dussehra Festival of Odisha



The holy scriptures testify that on this day Rama killed Ravana and his victory was celebrated. Therefore, it is also called ‘Vijaya Dasami’. (Victorious tenth day). In Odisha it was, therefore, a military festival. In the villages the agriculturists worship their implements. The Khandayats or the Paikas bring out their rusty swords, spears and other weaponry to clean and worship. The Paika Akhadas are held in which young men indulge in stylised military dances, display of sword-fighting and various acrobatic stunts. People in general polish their instruments of profession at this time and also clean, plaster and whitewash their houses. Beautiful flower-designs are painted on both sides of the doors. Now-a-days idols of Durga are worshipped for five days, especially in towns and cities. This tradition of idol worship has been set by the Bengalis who dominated during the time of the British rule in Odisha. Especially in the city of Cuttack a large number of idols of Durga and Mahadev are worshipped in profusely decorated pandals. After Dasami all the idols are then taken in procession for immersion in the river Kathjori. Many people come to the city from villages to watch the festival.