ODISHA’S VIBRANT CULTURE
Of all the regional cultures, Odisha or ancient Kalinga played a very conspicuous and vital role in the cultural matrix of Indian civilization. Situated on the eastern coast of India,it imbibed the quintessence of cultural traditions of both Northern India and Southern India, yet it succeeded in developing a distinct identity of its own in the realms of creative arts. The Odisha culture has a three tiered structure with interfaces and interpolation, the tribal/ethnic, the folk/peasant and the urban/classical, which existed side by side, enriching and enlarging the cultural dimensions. The cultural heritage of Odisha is one of the oldest, embracing a period of about three thousand years.
Odisha has a distinct tradition of painting, architecture, sculpture handicrafts, music and dance.
Varieties of entertainment in the shape of music, dance, drama and literature recorded in palm-leaf manuscripts and in stone carvings in temples reflect a high degree of excellence. Initially there was folk art but these were later refined into classical music, dance, drama and literature and gained a new lease of life since Independence. No aspect of life was untouched by this exceptionally high degree of artistic sensibility. Odissi dance originated 2000 years ago in its temples and finds mention in the Natyashastra of Bharatamuni, possibly written circa 200 BCE. Odissi dance deals largely with the love theme of Radha and Krishna, mostly drawn from compositions by the notable Oriya poet Jayadeva. This dance was kept alive by the temple devadasis. Commendable efforts were made in recent times by many enthusiasts to promote Odissi among who stands the name of late Kavichandra Kalicharan Patnaik. The gurus who raised the dance form to the level of international eminence are Guru Raghunath Dutta, padmabhusan Kelu Charan Mahapatra, winner of Kalidas Samman, Padmashree Pankaj Charan Das and Deba Prasad Das. Renowned artists of Odissi Dance include Priyambada Hejmadi, Padmashree Sanjukta Panigrahi, Minati Mishra, Kumkum Mohanty, Oopalie Oparajita, Sangeeta Das, etc.
Chhau dance (or Chau dance) is a form of tribal martial dance attributed to origins in Mayurbhanj princely state of Odisha.
Mahari Dancers, known as Samarpada Niyoga, dance during the ceremonial procession of the deities such as Ratha Yatra, Jhulana Yatra, Dola Yatra. etc.
Western Odisha has also great variety of dance forms. Professional entertainers perform Dand, Danggada, Mudgada, Ghumra, Sadhana, Sabar–sabarein, Disdigo, Nachina–bajnia, Samparda and Sanchar. Pala is a unique form of balladry in Odisha, which artistically combines elements of theatre, classical Odissi music, highly refined Oriya and Sanskrit poetry, wit, and humour. The Gotipua dance was performed by young boys dressed as girls. Ramananda, the Governor of Rajamahundri and the famous Vaishnavite Minister of King Pratapruda was an ardent follower of Sri Chaitanya and the originator of this boy dancing tradition, as the Vasishnavas did not approve of females in dance. His dance drama, Jagannath Vallabha Nataka, performed in the Gotipua style, can be seen in Raghurajpur, 10 km from Puri, near the River Bhargabi.
Raghurajpur is also known as the Crafts Village, as various Odishan craftsmen reside in this village, contributing their expertise in Pattachitra painting and other handicrafts. The Odisha School of painting has three streams – tribal, folk and the classical. There is a constant interchange
Sankirtan Samaroha organized by Odisha Dance and Music Academy
Rath Yatra from Puri’s Jagannath Temple
Sun Temple, Konark