Kumar Purnima celebrations mark beginning of 11-day Laxmi Puja across Odisha

Bhubaneswar/Dhenkanal/Kendrapara: ‘’Kumara punei janha go phula baula beni…’’ is the lore that echoes from all around on Kumar Purnima, an Odia festival being celebrated today all over the state. A festival that traces its origin to Laxmi Puja that is also celebrated on this day – the last day of Ashwina month, marking the beginning of Kartika as per Odia calendar, is mostly dedicated to all the unmarried girls.

Right from early morning young girls are seen worshipping Sun God offering a basket full of “khai or lia”, bananas, coconut, sugarcane, betelnut and many other fruits as oblation. Wearing new attire, the girls also offer prayers to Goddess Laxmi and then another ritual follows in the evening where they offer obeisance to the moon. In fact, the offerings of the morning are all mixed together with cheese and curd and given a shape of moon which is then offered to the full moon and Goddess Laxmi. Rituals though are different across the state, the celebrations of Kumar Purnima and GajaLaxmi Puja are held with enthusiasm and gaiety in most parts of the state.
Kumar-Purnima

In Gopinathpur village of Puri district, girls were seen offering prayers to the Sun God early in the morning. It is believed that unmarried young girls offer prayer on the day to get a handsome groom like Lord Kumara or Kartikeya, the son of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati.

“The ‘lia’ we offered in the morning to the Sun God will be offered to the full Moon in the evening as well,” said a young girl, Divyarupa Dash.

On this day, Maa Kalua Yatra was also observed at Nua Gosani village in Ganjam district. It is believed that the Goddess comes to her paternal house at the village and stays for 15 days till Kumar Purnima. A huge number of devotees thronged the temple to have the darshan of the Goddess on the occasion.

On the other hand, Dhenkanal town, popular for the annual GajaLaxmi Puja is all decked up with mega puja pandals, huge tableaus, gigantic gates, and decorative lights for the 11-day extravaganza. The artisans were seen giving final touches to the idols in various puja pandals in the town today.

GajaLaxmi-Puja

“As per the scheduled timings this year, the Kalash Yatra will begin at 4 pm followed by the puja which will begin at 7 pm. The ‘Chakshu dana’ rituals will be performed at 10 pm and the entire puja will end before 12 pm,” informed a puja committe member.

Another committee member in Dhenkanal informed “The tableau has been made up of 2.85 quintal of silver and we are expecting a huge footfall to the pandal this year.

Sources said, as many as 38 pandals have been erected for the GajaLaxmi Puja this year in the town.

“Elaborate arrangements have been made for Laxmi Puja in Dhenkanal. Specific parking places for vehicles have been earmarked and restrictions imposed on traffic movement,” informed Dhenkanal SP, Santosh Nayak.

Kendrapara has also geared up for the GajaLaxmi Puja today. A total of 61 pandals have come up at Duhuria, Tini Muhani, Law College Chhak, New bus stand, old bus stand, Kakata, Madhiala, Shanti Sahi and many other places in the town.

GajaLaxmi

Adequate security arrangements have been made to monitor the movement of crowd during the festival. Watch towers and CCTV cameras have also been installed at several key points of the town.