Renowned sand artist Sudarsan Pattnaik has created sand sculpture on Nuakhai with “Nuakhai Juhar” message at Puri beach.
Nuakhai is the most important festival of western Odisha districts of Sambalpur, Balangir, Sundargarh, Kalahandi and Phulbani. Generally it takes place in the bright half of the month of Bhadrab.
Though the festival is intended for eating new rice of the year, it is observed as a general festival.
Farmer offers the first grain of the harvest to the deity. Goddess Samaleswari in Sambalpur, Patneswari in Balangir, Sureshwari in Sonepur, Sekharbasini in Sundargarh and Manikeswari in Kalahandi are worshipped as presiding deities.
On this occasion the new rice is cooked with milk and sugar (Kheer) and then offered as Bhog to Goddess Laxmi. Then the eldest member of the family distributes the same to other members.