Ashokashtami

Ashokashtami

March-April; eighth day of the waxing half of the Hindu month of Caitra
Lord Lingaraj, a name for the Hindu deity Shiva, receives praise and adoration from Hindus on Ashokashtami, a day in the lunar month of Caitra (March-April in the Gregorian calendar). The festival takes place in Bhubaneswar, a small city in eastern India and the capital of Orissa. Two venerated sites host the festival: the Lingaraja Temple, believed to be the city's oldest temple, and the Rameshwar Temple, located just over a mile away. Thousands of people living in Bhubaneswar and throughout Orissa attend the festival to watch a traditional procession that features a giant wooden chariot carrying a Lingaraj idol and other deities.
The festival is inspired by the world-famous Car Festival of Jagannatha, which takes place in Puri, another city in Orissa. For the Ashokashtami procession, the wooden chariot begins at the Lingaraja Temple and, with the assistance of hundreds of attendees, the processional with the heavy cart proceeds to the Rameshwar Temple. Lingaraj and the other deities remain at the temple for four days before they are returned.
CONTACTS:
Orissa Department of Tourism
Paryatan Bhawan
Museum Campus
Bhubaneswar, Orissa 751014 India
www.orissatourism.gov.in
SOURCES:
RelHolCal-2004, p. 185