Culture & Heritage
Puri is the cultural capital of Odisha. The cultural heritage of this district dates back to 3rd century BC. People of different religions, sects and faith live here in complete harmony. Many fairs and festivals are celebrated here with much gaiety. Prominent among them are Car Festival or Rath Yatra, Chandan Yatra, Gosani Yatra, Sahi Yatra, Maha Siva Ratri, Magha Mela and Boita Bandan etc. Some festivals are also organized regularly by Government and by other organizations these festivals primarily showcasing Odissi dance and different folk dances. Konark Festival, Konark Music and Dance Festival, Puri Beach Festival, Srikhestra Mahostav and Gundicha Utsav are some of these festivals.
The architectural grandeur of this District is most prominently visible in its temples. Jagannath Temple, Sun Temple, Gundicha Temple, Lokanath Temple, Jambeswar Temple, Mangala Temple and Sakhigopal Temple etc. draw people from all over for their cultural appeal. This part of the country is renowned for its stone sculptures, palm-leaf paintings, patta paintings, tassar paintings, pottery toys, papier-mache products, sand art and applique works. Anna Purna Theatre, situated at grand road, Puri is a pioneer institution in the field of theatrical performances and Opera is a popular mobile drama troupe.
Its other activities are managing the different museums and libraries, providing information on the different aspects of culture, organizing cultural programs, providing grants to institutions and pension to aged artists. It also maintains regular liaison with Odisha Sahitya Academy and Odisha Sangeet Natak Academy, premier protagonists of art and culture in the state. Another innovative approach is the staging of cultural programs for two hours by the District Council of Culture on the 2nd Saturday of each month at the urban haat Conference Hall. The majestic Odissi dance, the lucid Odissi song and enchanting folk dances are staged in this program.
There is no entry fee for viewing this program. Another major dance form of this district is Gotipua dance. This is a dance form which is performed by a single boy in female costume.
The District offers a varied cuisine for the food lovers. Different varieties of vegetables, fruits, sea foods and sweets are available here. Special mention has to be made here about ‘Mahaprasad’, the sacred food offered as ‘bhog’ to Lord Jagannath, which is available at the Ananda Bazar of the Jagannath Temple. The temple kitchen is believed to be the largest kitchen in the world. Created on a cooking facility which is highly efficient despite its age, 400 ‘Supkars’(cooks) work around 200 oven daily to feed over 10, 000 people through Anand Bazar, temples food market.