Sonepur also known as Subarnapur has been the cultural capital of West-Central Odisha. Located on the confluence of Tel and Mahanadi River archaeologists have speculated that it was Ramayana’s Lanka. Archaeological excavations at Manmunda near Sonepur have revealed cultural deposits that can be traced back to the time of Emperor Ashoka and even earlier.
The tradition of its being Lanka is also richly embedded in the folklore of the region. On the dark night of Ashwina (September-October) the locals of the region celebrate the religious festival of Saptapuri Amas when the ploughing cattle are worshipped. On this occasion terracotta images of Adimata guarded by two bulls are pulled by children of the town in the streets.
Sonepur is located in Western Odisha at a distance of 278 km from Bhubaneswar by road. It is a medium sized town and the district headquarter of Subarnapur District. While in the town a traveller can also explore its other heritage temples, such as Budhi Samalai Temple, Bhagavati Temple, Dadhibabana Temple, Dasamati Temple and Jagannath Temple. Sonepur is also a major handloom cluster. Bomkai or Sonepuri Saris are woven by Bhullia community in villages around Sonepur.
Sonepur does not have much staying options. However, nearby towns of Balangir and Bargarh, both connected by rail have a number of budget hotels at affordable prices.
To learn and shop terracotta objects do contact
Village – Kuibahal
Phone – +91 9668209573
On this occasion the village boys obtain wheeled terracotta figures of Hanuman from the potters to place them on flat bamboo platforms so that the terracotta wheels go through and touch the ground. Tying a rope to the device the boys lead it through the streets. The elongated raised tail of Hanuman figure is covered with oil drenched cow dung which is kept ignited. The festival is locally known Lanka Dahana. The Hanuman figures are partly handmade and partly wheel made and appears in either black or red colour in different sizes. Once the festival is over the figures are either consigned to dung heap or left to disintegrate in ponds.
Lanka Dahana Hanuman exhibit at ODIART Purvasha Museum, Chilika
Lanka Dahana Hanuman exhibit at Kalabhoomi Museum, Bhubaneswar
Lanka Dahana Festival at Sonepur
Terracotta Hunuman Idols are being made for the festival
Boys participating in the festival