Dola Yatra, Dola Melan (Festival) in Odisha

The Festival of Get Together of Deities of Lord Gopinath Dev and Bhagabat Deva.

Dola Milan / Bhagabat Milan at Tirimal Khurda Odisha : Its the Time to Return back to their respective village after last meeting.
Dola Milan / Bhagabat Milan at Tirimal Khurda Odisha : Its the Time to Return back to their respective village after last meeting.

Dola Yatra or Melana or Milan usually the festival says about Milan or Get together of Deities basically Lord Gopinath Dev and Lord Bhagabat from different nearby villages. This is Celebrated from the tenth day of the bright fortnight of Falguna up to the full moon day.


Dola Purnima is one of the most popular festivals in Orissa. It coincides with the Holi festival but is celebrated for six days. It begins six days – on Falgun dasami day – before Poornima (full moon) in the month of Falgun (February – March). In 2017, Dola Purnima is on March 12.

Worshipping of Radha and Krishna in the swing festival is the main event during the six-day long festival. The festival is also known as Dola Yatra or Dola Jatra.

From the Falgun Dasami day, the idol of village deities, especially that of Krishna, are carried to all the homes in the villages. People carrying the idols and those following it are semared with Abira, a violet color powder. The idols are carried on a decorated palanquin, known as Vimana, and the procession is accompanied by singers and musicians. In each house the deity is offered Bhog – sweets made from the recent harvest and fruits. In return, the deity distributes different powdered colors for the Holi festival.

dola-melana-or-milan-at-village-tirimal-dist-khurda-state-orissa-india

This daily round of deity continues for four days and is known as chacheery. The four-day long procession culminates in a swing festival of Radha and Krishna. Idols from various villages assemble at a common place where swings are fixed. Then, the deities are swung to the accompaniment of devotional music. This is known as the Dolatsaba festival.

There is also a keen competition among villages in decorating the Vimanas in which the deity is carried around.

  • The swing festival is a major event associated with Lord Vishnu especially Sri Krishna. It is mentioned in the Puranas that one who witnesses the swing festival of Sri Krishna is cleansed of all sins.

On the Dola Purnima day, there is the burning of demon Holika, which is known as Holipoda. There is another myth also associated the Holi bonfire in Orissa and it is killing of demon Mesha. It is believed that Mesha, who was a terror on earth and heaven, was killed and burned to ashes by Krishna. This is known as Meshapodi or Mendhapodi.

  • Playing of Holi takes place on the next day and is primarily celebrated as the victory of good over evil.
  • The village temple idols return on the day and natural colors are sprayed on the deities. The entire routes through which the procession moves are smeared with natural colors. People believe that these natural colors have medicinal properties.
  • In some places, the new Oriya Panchang or almanac is read after the swing festival.
  • In some regions, the festival comes to an end only on the tenth day and this is known as Dasa Dola.
  • Numerous fairs are also organized during this period.