Rajendra Prasad Mohapatra

'Raja Sankranti' is being celebrated across Odisha with pomp and gaiety on Saturday. The second day of the three-day-long grand Raja festival is known as 'Raja Sankranti.

‘Raja Sankranti’ signifies the arrival of 'Asadha', the much-awaited rainy season, bringing hope and rejuvenation to the land. Raja marks the onset of the agricultural season. 

On the occasion of this special festival, people in Odisha pay homage to Mother Earth for her bountiful blessings. The festival is centred around the reverence for nature and fertility.

Young girls in rural and urban areas across the State wear new clothes and enjoy swings apart from relishing several mouth-watering delicacies.

The streets have come alive across Odisha during the festival. Taking a break from routine work, people are enjoying every aspect of the festival with their friends and family.

Swings adorned with flowers and mango leaves, called ‘doli’, are the centre of attraction during the Raja festival. 

Mostly, young girls, children and others are enjoying the swing rides with special Raja songs. 

Almost every household in Odisha makes it a point to prepare several dishes. ‘Poda Pitha’ is one of them. The aromas of special delicacies and traditional sweets have filled the air. 

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Raja is incomplete without a special meetha pan with an assortment of flavours.

Raja is a time of celebration to savour this special treat, symbolizing the sweetness and joy of the festival.

The celebration of Raja cannot be imagined without traditional games like cards, 'puchi' and kabaddi and other cultural activities.

Raja celebrations at different places

Special arrangements have also been made at several places by many organisations during the festival.

Thousands of devotees thronged Baladevjew Temple in Kendrapada on the holy occasion of 'Raja Sankranti'.

"Raja is an agrarian festival. Farmers consider Lord Baladevjew as their deity. Hence, devotees in large numbers have come to visit the temple to offer their prayers," said the priest of the temple.

"We have been waiting for this day throughout the year. It’s a great moment and we are enjoying it. The weather is very pleasant with overcast conditions,” said a girl from Kendrapara.

Special cultural meetings have been made at Anandapur in Keonjhar district on the occasion to commemorate great tradition and culture.

The grand festival is being celebrated in a traditional way in Cuttack. Children are indulged in 'puchi', skipping', singing and swinging activities in Chauliaganj area. Different kinds of competitions are also arranged on the occasion.

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"Raja is a unique tradition of Odisha. We started our day early by bathing and wearing new dresses. Then we took blessings from elders and enjoyed Poda Pitha and other traditional delicacies," said a girl from Cuttack.

We don't have many trees left to fix swings. We would like to thank the women association in Chauliaganj  for making such a beautiful arrangement for the girls to enjoy Raja parba," said a local resident.

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Girls are taking part in different competitions and indulging in merrymaking activities in Kalyanpur area in Bhubaneswar.

"I come here to celebrate Raja every year. We are so happy to see girls celebrating Raja parba with traditional fervour here," said a local resident.

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