Orissa

Wedged between West Bengal and Andhra Pradesh, Orissa lies on the eastern coast of India with the waters of the Bay of Bengal swirling along its eastern and southeastern boundaries. With an area of about 1,55,707 square kilometres, the state offers diverse habitats from lush green and hilly terrain to coastal plains and rolling river valleys, crises-crossed by the Brahmani, the Mahanadi and the Bansadhara rivers. In its long history spanning several centuries, the region of modern Orissa is today one of the most popular with tourists.

A visit to Orissa will never be complete without witnessing its fairs and festivals. Besides Holi, Dussehra and Diwali, which are shared by the rest of India, there are numerous other festivals exclusive to Orissa and having their own unique myths behind them. The Raja-Sankranti or Raja Parva is observed on the first day of the solar month of Mithuna (mid-June) when the rainy season begins. The Garbhana-Sankranti is held on the first day of the solar month of Tula (November) when the paddy begins to sprout signifying fruition. On the full moon day of the lunar month of Ashwin (October), about five days after Dussehra, Orissa celebrates Kumarotsava-the 'festival of youth'. Kumara or Kartikeya, the son of Lord Shiva, symbolizes youth and is the chief deity to be worshipped during this festival. Unmarried boys and girls also worship the moon with great festivity on this occasion.


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