The Annual Chariot festival (Rath Yatra), falls on the Aashaadha Shukla Paksha Dwitiya (second day in bright fortnight of Aashaadha month) is unique in the sense that the Lord comes out in the streets to meet with people of all caste, creed & communities, the other symbolism of oneness & universal brotherhood across all mankind given out by Lord Jagannath is through the ritual – Chera Pahara - ( sweeping with water) where the king or Gajapati as he is known in Odisha sweeps the chariots and all-round the deities- there by giving a message that whether you are a king or a humble devotee- for the lord you are ONE.. The construction of the chariots coincides with the start of the auspicious day of Akshaya Trutiya – the start of the new agricultural season.
Apart from the Annual Rath Yatra which attracts millions of devotees across the world, the festival Chandan Yatra which precedes the Rath Yatra is also of special importance. The ritual which starts on the auspicious day of Akshaya Trutiya lasts for three weeks & concludes with the Snana Purnima on the full moon day of Jestha. After the conclusion of the Chandan Yatra, Lord Jagannath, Balabhadra & Goddess Subhadra are indisposed for 2 weeks & are out of bounds for devotees. During this period, they are only fed berries, roots, leaves & fruits – this is a reminder of the strong tribal influence in the genesis & evolution of the Jagannath cult. The first worshipper of Lord Jagannath is believed to be Biswabasu-the tribal chieftain. During this period till up till the end of the Rath Yatra- the lord is under the care of the Daitapatis- whose ancestry can be traced back to the progenies of Lalita- the daughter of Biswabasu & Brahmin priest Vidyapati.
Shreeekshetra Utsav or the Jayadeva Utsav -Held in December every year this 12-day long festival showcases the Odisha’s heritage in fine arts. Be it dance, music, handloom, handicrafts or cuisine- the festival brings forth Odisha’s rich cultural heritage to the world.
Beach festival -Held in the month of November on the Puri beach near Swargadwar. This 5-day festival, organised by the Hotel & restaurants owner’s association along with the Odisha Ministry of tourism has been conceptualised to attract the young audience- apart from the popular sand art, the festival hosts various musical and rock bands, fashion shows etc. The boat races at the festival are very popular too.