Agartala, April 1 - Colourful traditional dances, singing of songs, screening of award-winning films, offerings of Odisha cuisine and an exhibition of customary handlooms and handicrafts marked the Odisha festival in Tripura Sunday, commemorating the 77th 'Utkal Divas' .
'Utkal Divas' is celebrated April 1 every year to observe the formation of Odisha state from the combined Bengal-Bihar-Orissa province. It was on this day in 1936 that Odisha was separated from the combined state to become a separate state with Odia-speaking people.
Sponsored by the Odisha and Tripura governments, Odia Samaj Tripura organised the 10-day long 'Odisha Festival 2012', the first in the northeastern region.
Tripura Chief Minister Manik Sarkar Sunday inaugurated the festival, which Assam Governor (and former Odisha chief minister) Janaki Ballabh Patnaik and his Tripura counterpart D.Y. Patil are expected to attend.
'The festival has been organised for the first time in the northeastern region to disseminate the rich and traditional art, culture, literature, handlooms and handicrafts of Odisha to the other parts of the country,' Odia Samaj Tripura vice-president Sarat Kumar Das told reporters.
He said that in the festival, internationally acclaimed Tripura tribal dance 'Hojagiri' and other traditional dances of the state would be performed.
'Six award winning Oriya films would be screened during the festival. Exhibitions highlighting the progress of education in Odisha and voluntary blood donation camps are also part of the mega event,' Das added.
He said : 'To disseminate Odisha's Jagannath cult in Tripura, Chaitanya Goudiya Math and ISKCON (International Society for Krishna Consciousness) would organised various programme during the festival.'