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Gamha Purnima – Birthday Of Bhagavan Balabhadra in Odisha

Gamha Purnima is celebrated on the full moon day (Poornima) in Shravan month in Odisha. In 2024, Gamha Purnima date is on August 19. It is observed as the birthday of  Balabhadra (Baladeva), the eldest brother of Bhagavan Sri Krishna. Nowadays, people also celebrate Gamha Purnima as Raksha Bandhan imitating the Rakhi festival which is celebrated in North India on the same day.

In some regions cattle (cows and bullocks) are worshipped on Gamha Purnima. A major highlight of the festival is a sort of regional sport known as Gamha Diyan.

Gamha is a platform made of bricks and mud and in the middle of it is a big projection. Two big poles are fitted into the Gamha on the opposite sides of the middle projection. The poles are connected by a bamboo stick.

From the bamboo stick different kinds of fruits and prizes are hung for participants. The participants run into the Gamha and use the middle projection of Gamha as a launching pad and try to snatch or touch the prize hung from the bamboo pole. One who touches the prize is awarded.