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Seven makers of the Ratha

Traditional craftsmen preserve the intricate ancient art of making rathas. Who are they and how do they work separately yet together to build these engineering & aesthetic marvels?

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Sitala Sasthi, the divine wedlock

One of the oldest poems in Odia literature is a satirical take on Shiva & Parvati’s wedding.

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The Kaibartas of Odisha

The fisherfolk of Odisha and why they dance wearing horse-costumes in their ritual annual festival.

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Ancient poetesses of Odisha

The ancient poetesses of Odisha— from queens to dombis— wonderful women who talk about everything from philosophy, devotion, culture to romance, warfare, society.

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Chipping Away History : The Sorry State Of The Puri Temple’s Modern-Day Aesthetic

The sudden changes in the Puri temple’s aesthetic decisions bother me. This is why.

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Vivid backdrop of Kuanra Punei

Three autumn legends from Odisha.

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Where mother is son

On the night of Janmastami, Jagannatha is the mother and Jagannatha is the son. This is a deeper look at this curious ritual.

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Sacred Squabble

Jagannatha might be the ideal deity for millions of his devotees around the globe, but his one wife is not too impressed. The divine husband and wife have a heated argument after the Ratha Jatra.

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Journey Toward Lord

A concise introduction to what the world famous Ratha Jatra of the Jagannatha Temple is all about.

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In The Absence Of Jagannatha

What happens in the empty chambers of the Jagannatha temple when the deities are away for the Ratha Jatra? An ancient legend explores this question.

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The extended family Of Jagannatha

Jagannatha has a brother, a sister, two wives, an uncle and an aunt; but no father or mother. All about the Odia gods and their elaborate families in local belief.

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Researching the Rath Yatra

Answers to some questions about Ratha Jatra.

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Curing A God: The Secret Of Anasara

Jagannatha bathes only once an year, and immediately afterwards, falls sick with fever. He lives inside a secret chamber. What actually happens inside nobody knows exactly.

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Fine pigment of sacred depiction

On the full moon day of the month of Jyestha, something peculiar happens – a god falls ill. For the 15 days of his sickness, a painting substitutes him. Therein lies the origin of the ancient Pattachitra art of Odisha.

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A God’s Mother : Karama

It was when the King Nrupa Keshari ruled over ancient Odisha. Historians think that the years are 852–857. Karama, the old Marathi woman lived in one of Puri’s mutts. It had been a long time since she’d been there. She had come to Puri to search for her missing husband and look at Jagannatha, but hadn’t […]

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A Pangram in Odia

A pangram is a sentence containing all the letters of the language it is written in. I tried making one in Odia.

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Missionaries and Jagannatha

I recently came across a book called ‘The Wesleyan Juvenile Offering’. Multiple editions of this book are on Google Books, in case you would like to have a look. Curiously, there’s a bit about Jagannatha and the Dola Jatra of Puri. Without further ado, here’s what he says. Note that the author hasn’t actually said anything […]

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Raghunatha Besa

Jagannatha has many Besas (special attires), somewhere around thirty. Some of them are done on a daily basis. Others are done on a special day each year. Yet others are done based on specific astronomical conjunctions- in which case the Besa may be done every five years or every ten years. By this point, we have only three […]

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Witness Krishna

At half an hour’s distance from Puri is the town of Satyabadi, dense with Bakula trees. Almost a decade ago, Shilpa Shetty had landed in trouble here. A century ago, a school established in these forests revolutionised Odisha’s education scenario. A few millenia ago, a temple built here gave the place its identity. The quite […]

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Bira Singha and Odia mysticism

The mystic Bira Singha and his metaphorical chautisa.