The erstwhile royal family members played host to a five-day-long Holi festival at Rajkanika in Kendrapara with customary gaiety and togetherness with the participation of thousands of local residents.
For over five centuries, the royal family here has been organizing the festival of color with mirth and merriment in the Rajkanika area.
‘Holi or Dola festival is the most important festival in the religious calendar of our family and I am eager to continue with the customary and traditional practices observed by the family. Due to covid-19 restrictions, we halted the festival for the last two years. To maintain bonding with the people, our ancestors started this festival around 500 years back, said Shivendra Narayan Bhanjadeo, the scion of the erstwhile Rajkanika royal family.
Shivendra and his wife Rani Mrunalini Devi were the chief organizers of this festival. Thousands gathered in front of the century-old palace to celebrate this festival of colour. Royal family members visited the temple in the palace premises where special prayers are offered to the family deity on all five days.
Over 50 Radha and Krishna idols brought to the ‘Melana padia’ (venue of the festival) added attraction to the annual ritual. The deities are invited as guests. Deities come in their palanquins. The procession is led by village drummers, pipers, and large numbers of devotees. The palanquins of the deities are placed in a row in front of the palace for public view.
Rituals associated with the Holi festival of the royal family had begun with the hymning of devotional songs and spontaneous dance to the tune of drums.
The royal family members continued to organize the festival and the spirit with which it is held is reflective of the glory of a bygone era. The Kanika palace is a beautiful and historic palace in the state. The entire Kanika area came alive for the five-day-long festival with music, dance, and devotional songs.