Ranjta Festival of Jharsuguda District
Ranjta Festival is a significant regional festival of Jharsuguda which commenced during the regime of Chauhan rulers in Sambalpur and the Zamindaris of Sambalpur. Every year Ranjta Festival is celebrated during the night of the 10th day of 'Suklapaksha', in the month of 'Aswin'. The royal sword or 'Patakhanda' is carried by the descendants of the yesteryear Zamindars who wander around the entire village in a long procession. The Zamindar as well as his subjects conducts a parade throughout the village, carrying bows and arrows, muskets, spears and a sword. On this occasion the family deity of the Zamindars is also worshipped. The common masses assemble to view the activities of this festival and participate in displaying martial skills imbibed from the erstwhile soldiers who served the Zamindars. Martial arts are exhibited accompanied by the sound of drum -beats.
Ratha Jatra of Jharsuguda District
According to the 'Utkal' tradition, the deities of Lord Jagannath Temple at Puri, namely Lord Balabhadra, Lord Jagannath and Devi Subhadra visit the abode of their aunt or 'Mousimaa' in their chariots which are referred to as 'Taladwhaja', 'Nadighosa' and 'Darpadalana' during the 2nd day of the month of 'Asdha'. They return to the Shree Mandir on the 10th day of this month, as per ancient ritualistic beliefs. This divine procession is termed as 'Ratha Jatra' and celebrated in numerable parts of Odisha. At the village of Kukurjanga, which is situated at a distance of nearly 7 kms away from Jharsuguda, some additional rites are followed in this festival which falls on the 2nd day of 'Ashada'. The Jagannath Temple of Kukurjanga had been erected during the 17th century and Ratha Jatra has been organized here from that time onwards, supervised by the Managing Committee. Kukurjanga's Ratha possesses 16 wheels.
Gokulastami Jatra of Jharsuguda District
The festival of Gokulastami Jatra has been organized with great enthusiasm ever since the ages of the Zamindars of Rajpur who were the descendants of the king of Sambalpur named 'Madhukar Sai'. Agricultural theme is the dominant idea of the beautiful folk ceremony which is a part of Gokulastami Jatra. The well-being of domestic animals and cattle is also emphasized through this local festival which is observed by Rajpur's farmers particularly during the 8th day of the month of 'Margasira'. The Jagannath Temple based in front of the palace of the Zamindar of Rajpur plays a key role in all the festivities of Gokulastami Jatra. A figure of Lord Krishna is created from the 7th day of Margasira, which is portrayed as carrying 'Goverdhan' and this idol is worshipped by the regional inhabitants of Jharsuguda amidst loud 'bhajans' and 'kirtans'. The village bazaars, shops and streets are marvellously adorned and cultural performances are arranged at every nook and corner of Rajpur village. Gokulastami festival begins the very next morning and continues till the night. The cattle are taken out to the fields for grazing since the time of dawn. Cooked food is offered by the villagers, on top of leaves and left near the road, which is consumed by the cattle.
Sabita Ratha Jatra of Jharsuguda District
The 'Sabita Ratha Jatra' of Lord Jagannath at Belpahar is another popular festival of Jharsuguda District which is observed during 'Makar Sankranti'. It is arranged by the Man Committee of the Jagannath Temple of 'Gumadera' of Belpahar which is about 22 kms away from Jharsuguda town. It is believed that during this day, the Sun or 'Sabita' resides in 'Makara Rasi' and therefore the Ratha of Lord Jagannath is called the 'Sun Chariot' or 'Sabita Rath'. Three deities of Jagannath Temple ride this chariot at 10 am and travel to their Mousimaa's home, witnessed by a sea of devotees and tourists. All these festivities are accompanied by graceful dancing and the singing of Bhajans and Kirtans. A grand fair is hosted at the area of Gumadera during Sabita Ratha Jatra.