Tribals celebrate Kandula festival in Odisha’s Rayagada district

Reported by Ranjan Rath
Rayagada, Dec 10:

The densely forested, tribal inhabited areas of Odisha’s Rayagada district are abuzz with the music of the dhol (traditional drums) and mahuries (traditional pipes) these days. The spirits are high as the annual Kanduls festival is well and truly on.


The Kandul festival is celebrated with great fervour by primitive tribals groups such as Lanjia Saura, Shabar and Kondhliving in the Gunupur subdivision.

Akin to the mainstream Hindu festival ‘Nuakhai’, celebrated across wetsern Odisha and other parts of India, this festival marks the first harvest of the year. Specials prayers are offered to the gods and the departed of the family and a feast is organized at the centre of the village to mark the occasion. New crops such as rice, black grams, mung beans and kandula are worshipped as well.

However, the uniqueness of this festival is, unlike Nuakhai, this festivals is celebrated in different villages on different days. The local Dishari (priest) of the village decides the schedule of the festival in a particular village.

While the eldrely celebrate the occasion drinking handia (traditional country liquor) and dancing all day, the younger lot wear new clothes and dance to the tune of nishans, changus, dhamps and mahuris (all traditional musical instruments) at the center of the village called ‘nishanmunda’ on the festival day. The festivities continue all through the night.

“While areas such as Limamada, Kalma, Danduguda and Bharsingh have already celebrated the festival, the festivities would start Putasingh and Jaltar next week,” said a local.

Tthe tribals invite their friends and relatives home and treat them to traditional tribal dishes.

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