Dhenkanal, known for its famous Laxmi Puja festival, attracts many people not only from the district, but also from various parts of the state. Starting from Kumar Purnima, this annual festivity is celebrated with utmost reverence over a period of eleven days. Elaborate arrangements are made and the city soaks in a spirit of festive fervor and gaiety!
Listed below are the five things which should be a sure-shot experience for anyone who plans to visit Dhenkanal during Laxmi Puja.
1) Pandal hopping
The massive Laxmi idols with brilliant light decorations & illuminated gates are a sight to behold. Each year, puja pandals are bedecked in dazzling ways which leave the visitors enthralled.
This time around, Meena bazar adorned the idol with a chaandi (silver) medha while Kaivalya bazar sculpted the deity with both gold & silver. And much interestingly, the Jawahar Chowk came up with an appealing tribal theme for decorating their pandal. There are many others that particularly stood out for their exclusiveness. Such unique pandals and their adornments should certainly not be missed!
2) The variety of food specialties!
While this festivity takes place in full swing, it is the food delicacies which become a major enticer for visitors thronging here. Of course, one cannot miss out on having the famous Bara of Dhenkanal which is a favorite of the localites. But that apart, there are even other food stalls which come alive only during this puja that serves an array of noted food items. Starting from Rasabali of Kendrapara to Dahibara, Thunka puri of Cuttack and Mudhi mansa of Baripada, the list is simply mouth-watering. One can even gorge on the cuisines of varied Indian states including the Rajasthani and Punjabi dishes!
3) Art & crafts at Pallishree mela
This national level mela which is organized on the sidelines of Laxmi Puja has been a huge crowd-puller since many years. Artisans from all around the country display their exclusive craftsmanship and earn a fair value for their beautifully hand crafted items. Here one can see fine art glimpses from Rajasthan, Lucknow, Kashmir and many other places of India. This immensely popular event also turns out to be a perfect platform for exhibiting the local handicrafts of Odisha!
4) Nataraj Kumarotsav
Held only once a year during this puja, the Nataraj Kumarotsav is totally worth the wait. If one is in the mood to explore various dance forms of the state and see some spectacular performances, then this particular occasion should surely be in the list. Both budding and renowned classical dance performers of Odisha besides other dignitaries grace the event. Talented & veteran artists are honored in the end, hence concluding this traditional mahotsav!
5) The colorful immersion ritual
After the eleven days of this festival, a street-carnival like atmosphere sets up in Dhenkanal to observe the immersion ritual. Puja committees along with many devotees are seen on the roads amidst colorful processions and attractive backdrops of the deity. Especially the animal mask dance, chhau & tribal dance etc. are an utter treat to watch during the bhasani ceremony!
Laxmi puja is certainly the best time to enjoy the real beauty of Dhenkanal. But there are even different scenic spots worth exploring in this city, if one is visiting during any other time. Right from Kailash temple, Saptasajya to the religious headquarters of Mahima Dharma Joranda and village of Dhokra artists, the list is just great to stop by!