One of the most joyful and beautiful festivals to be celebrated in  India is Diwali, the festival of lights.  The very word Diwali conjures up the image of winking lights and flickering diyas. Not to forget the gorgeous array of sparkling colors emitted by the firecrackers that seems to awaken the night sky. The tradition of lighting earthen Diyas best signifies the festival of lights-Diwali . You can find these earthen Diyas In all the homes on this day. The one thing that is always on high demand is beautifully carved Diyas during the Diwali celebration. Every year I buy my Diyas from the local artisans who bring it to the Exhibition and this year its no exception. You can have a look at these beauties.



Odisha is known as the land of festivals and as there is a proverb that “Bara Masare Tera Paraba” which means there are thirteen festivals celebrated in 12 months in Odisha…. With the advent of Winter, comes the festival of lights…….DIPAVALI or DIWALI. While Diwali is celebrated with much fanfare in different parts of India by lighting lamps and bursting crackers, traditionally in Odisha, it has been a  day of invoking ancestors  and performing the unique ritual performed  with the ‘kaunria kathi’. In Odisha people call it “PAYASHRADHA” or “DWIPA DANA AMABASYA’ .

People in Odisha celebrate Diwali a little differently……Diwali, the festival of lights has its own charm and style. People in Odisha believed that the ancestors reside in heaven abode . People burns the stems of jute known as kaunria Kathi to invite the ancestors to descend from the spiritual sky and bestow blessings upon them . It is marked by calling the spirit of ancestor by lighting a lamp inside an earthen pot tied to a pole erected in front of the house. These poles act as a support to hold the pot. Within the earthen pot a lamp is placed to light up the dark. Once the spirits are called, jute stems are burnt to show light in the dark path. This light is believed to show the way to the spirits, when they traverse back to heaven in darkness.


This ritual stand on the belief that by paying homage to our forefathers, we receive their blessings on this auspicious day. Although the tradition of lighting kaunria Kathi still exists in some parts of Chattisgarh, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, it is religiously followed in Odisha. Kaunria kathi draws its significance from the religious tradition of the Jagannath culture. It is prepared from the Jute Plant. It is generally believed that Lord Jagannath had bestowed his blessings  on eight plants. These plants are called the “ Asta Paata Sakhi” of the Lord. Jute being one of the eight, has its own importance in accentuating the Jagannath culture.

In the evening members of the family gather after dusk.  A rangoli pattern taking the shape of a sailboat is drawn on the ground. The sailboat has seven chambers and in each of the chamber several items are kept like cotton, mustard, salt, asparagus root, turmeric and a wild creeper.There is a central chamber in which Prasad is  placed . On top of the prasad a beautiful jute stem with a cloth wick is placed which serves as the main diya.

The diya is lit at the beginning of the puja. Each of the members gathered there and holds a bundle of jute stems in their hands. They light their respective bundles from the main flame on the rangoli and raise it towards the sky with the following  chants.

“Bada badua ho …..Ganga Jaa, Gaya Jaa, kasi jaa, Brindaban Jaa,

Jaha deithila ta Pai jaa,

Andhaara re Aasa, Aluwa re Jaa.

Baaisi pahaacha re gada gadau tha.”            

which means “oh our ancestors, seers and gods you came on the dark night of Mahalaya, and now it is time for you to depart for heaven, so we are showing light, may you attain peace in abode of Jagannath & May you attain salvation on the chanting the above verse.

After the Puja, all the family members sit together to enjoy the stupendous meal prepared by the family.The meal majorly consist of vegetarian items prepared by the womenfolks of the family. it is a time of bonding, enjoying with family and in some families  also perform the Laxmi Puja  on the occasion of Dipavali.


Khira Gaintha ( Rice ball dumplings in flavored milk)



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  1. Heat 2 cups of water in a wide base vessel. Add salt, pepper powder and 2 crushed cardamoms to the boiling water. Add 2 tsp sugar. Once the water starts boiling, then add the rice flour into it and keep stirring so that no lumps are formed. Keep stirring so at the rice is cooked perfectly and it leaves the side of the pan . It should feel like stiff dough. Allow to cool down completely.
  2. Knead the dough till it becomes smooth .
  3. Take small lumps out of the dough and roll into small balls with your hand. Press a single raisin inside this and roll into round ball shape and keep aside.
  4. Bring the milk to boil in a deep vessel. Add the sugar and remaining cardamom.
  5. Add the balls and Boil till the ball begin to rise to the surface. Take away from heat .
  6. Serve hot or cold.

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