Art and Culture
The culture of Nayagarh is a composite culture of heterogeneous faiths, with the presence of a good number of Semitic and Islamic followers. The aboriginal ‘Savaras’ and Kandhas are the indigenous people of Nayagarh District.The Aryans came later. The Brahmins are mostly the outsiders, invited by the Khatriya rulers to be engaged as priests in the temples and for other holy rites. The archeological remains with their inscriptions, temples, churches, mosques, forts, folk dances, art, sculptures, handicrafts and festivals of this district displays its rich cultural heritage. In 2003, seven copper plates dating back to early 9th and 10th Century A.D were discovered while excavating an old well in the village Dhanchengada in Bhapur Block of Khandapara Assembly Constituency and they have inscriptions on them. The Somanth Temple complex at Govindpur near Nayagarh has also stone inscriptions.
The right side entrance door of Kaunri Thakurani and the front entrance door (inner side) of Beleswar Mahadev, have two inscriptions which are yet to be deciphered. Another inscription is found on the foot–post of Goddess Sita in Raghunath Temple at Odagaon that reads “Shakabda Saramangalya Rutusya Odanayak”.
Buddhist shrine at Anala Patta, Nilamadhaba Temple at Kantilo, Raghunath and Jagannath Temples throughout the District and other Vaishnavite, Shaiva and Shakta shrines are also the symbols of the art and culture of the District. Also are present many forts and buildings in this District that symbolizes its rich art and cultural heritage. The important folk dances of this District are Ghantakalasa (Similisahi, Nayagarh), Danda Nrutya (Itamati), Dhena Koila (Similisahi), Khanjani (Balugaon), Singi Baza (Daspalla), Dhumpa (Khandapara), Ghuduki (Ranapur), Dholamahuri (Lathipada), Paika Akhada (Lathipada, Olasa), Adivasi–Nritya (Banigochha) and Janu–Ghanta. Kantilo is famous for its brass works.
It is to mention here that, Millennium Talent Cup, the first of this kind in the world has the distinction of becoming the world’s tallest cup and was made by the Kansaries of Kantilo for Odisha Institute of Educational Research, Bhubaneswar. Kantilo is also famous for brass works.
Odagaon is famous for stone sculptures. It may be noted here that all most all the temple architects of Odisha hail from Odagaon. Govind Chandra Sur Deo of Nayagarh was an eminent mural painter. All the mural and wall paintings in the temple of Lord Jagannath at Nayagarh is his works. Khandapara is famous for jute handicrafts and Situlia communities of Gania are eminent sculptors of Terracotta. Ravanapodi at Daspalla, festival of Dakhinakali at Nayagarh, Shivaratri of Ladukeswar at Saranakul, Sriram Navamai at Odagaon, Pana Sanakranti, , Kantilo Mela and Car Festival at Nayagarh, Khandapara, Daspalla and Ranpur are the important festivals celebrated in this District. It needs special mention here that the Chariots of Lord Jagannath, Balabhadra and Subhadra of Ranpur are 2nd in height only next to the Chariots of Puri Car Festival.