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Where the 'Gods' come out to play


Jajati Karan,CNN-IBN
Mar 04, 2007 at 12:02pm IST

Olokana, Cuttack: Holi wears an entirely different hue in the Cuttack district of Orissa, where the "Gods" come out in a procession to be drowned in the festival of colours; devotees vouch for their devotion with Sadhus playing certain balancing acts and the revelers add some colours to it, by dancing on the streets and splashing gulal on each other.

That's how the week-long traditional Dolo Utsav, symbolising 'God's own Holi,' is celebrated at Olokana in Cuttack district.

On the last day of the festival, more than 200 Radha-Krishna idols taken out from different temples in and around the district come in on carriers called "Biman" in a colourful procession. Prayers are offered and devotees play Holi with the deities by applying gulal.

"We hold this festival even when the weather is very bad. We believe those who participate in these festivities will gain happiness," the temple priest of Balia, Padmanav Panda, explains.

"Everyone plays Holi, but very few get the opportunity of playing Holi with the Gods. I am so blessed to be here," Debendra Kumar Sahoo, an organiser, says.

Dating back to over 200 years, the Dolo Utsav was popularised at Olokana by the local royality. And now, every year more than 30,000 devotees assemble here to be a part of Holi of the Gods.

With the completion of the Dolo Utsav, "God's own Holi" comes to an end, but not before sending out the message that the festival of colours is a great tradition of love, peace and brotherhood.

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