Legend of Ekamra Utsav
Ekamra Utsav has derived its name from the word 'Ekamra' meaning 'Mango Garden'. There is a legend associated with the initiation of this festival. According to that legend Lord Siva was went out to search for an isolated place, where he could go and meditate. On the advice of Lord Narada, he went to the Ekamra Kanan (forest) of India and began meditating. Later he got settled at this place as Lord Lingaraj along with His consort, Goddess Parvati. The forest was called Ekamra Kanan (forest), because of its extensive vegetation of mango trees.
Celebration of Ekamra Utsav
Ekamra Utsav is not a single festival, but a series of festive occasions. It is a multi disciplinary event encompassing the National Handloom Exhibition that includes fabrics gathered from the famous textile centers of Orissa. Celebrated in the month of January Ekamra Utsav is a lively festival that promotes tourism for the state.
The popular attractions of the festivity consist of the Folk Dance Festival, Food Festival that offers offering variety of cuisine, both domestic and international and National Handicrafts Exhibition. In the Folk Festival puppet shows are also staged that depict scenes from Indian epics, like Ramayana and Mahabharata. Other highlights include the distinctive forms of dance performances like Ranpa, Ghoda Nach, Paika Dance, Danda Nata, Chhau, Ghjumura, Sambalpuri Dance, etc.
Mukteshwar Dance Festival is one of the popular dances held in the courtyards of this famed temple. Here many eminent exponents of Odissi dance enliven the stage with their performances. Besides the dance performances, the visitors to Ekamra Utsav are treated to an expo of traditional art, a flower show, a heritage walk and the attractive discounts offered by the leading shopping centers to the tourists. A Half Marathon, the biggest ever in the State, traversing through important intersections of the city adds charm to the festive mood.
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