Culture is a combination of the social behaviour and norms found in human societies, as well as the knowledge, beliefs, arts, laws, customs, capabilities and habits of the individuals in these groups. Odisha, a state in the eastern part of India, at the coast of Bay of Bengal, is the accumulation of rich cultural heritage with its historical monuments, archaeological sites, traditional arts, sculpture, dance, music, peace-loving people, communal harmony, origin, temples, and festivals. Its culture provides immense knowledge and enlightens the thoughts of people.
Odisha has a grand store of monuments such as the Jagannath Temple at Puri; The Sun Temple at Konark; ancient remains on the hills of Udaigiri and Khandagiri; Rajarani Temple, Bhubaneshwar; Ratnagiri Monastery, Ratnagiri and Lingaraj Temple, Bhubaneshwar.
ODISSI: A TRIBUTE TO DIVINITY
Odisha is also famous for its fabulous collection of arts: Stone Carvings, Sand Art, Pattachitra, Silver Filigree, Applique Work, Brass and Dhokra Works, Horn Bone Craft, Palm Leaf Etching, Tassarpatta, Ikat and Coir.
Many festivals are celebrated in the state of Odisha. Ratha Yatra is the festival that brings the people of Odisha from all over the world together. Rath Yatra involves a public procession of Lord Jagannath with his siblings Balabhadra and Subhadra. It attracts over a million Hindu pilgrims who join the procession each year.
However, Odissi and Jagannath have always walked parallel with the wheels of time. Odissi dance has the highest spiritual recognition among all other Hindu dance forms: This thousand-year-old dance form is an integral part of worship in Jagannath temple. On the day of Rath Yatra, before Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra and Maa Subhadra step out on the journey to visit the aunt's house (Mausi Maa Temple). Several groups of Odissi dancers, both male and female, perform their dance as a mark of their devotion in front of the three chariots adding bliss to the crowd.
Odissi is not merely a dance form. It is a synthesis of beauty, grace, rhythm, melody, spirituality and devotion. It provides a feast for the eyes, music for the ears and succor for the soul. Through this dance, the dancer pays obeisance to the Lord in all his myriad manifestations. In essence, this unique dance form is a tribute to divinity.
Odissi, one of the famed dance forms of India which originated in the Hindu temples of Odisha, now, is not only limited to temple worship. It has emerged as a widely appreciated cultural art form. It is now an integral part of every major cultural program in India. It is not only an art of Odisha but is now 'The Soul of Odisha'.