Cuttack, Nov 11 (LoclWire): Balijatra literally means ‘a voyage to Bali- the Indonesian Island’ and the festival is replete with socio-cultural legacy of Odisha.
The weeklong festival – which kicks off tomorrow – is a melting pot of traders, cultural enthusiasts, vendors and lakhs of visitors – has many fascinating facets which are intertwined in history.
1 The week-long carnival of commerce, culture and celebration commences on the Kartika month as per the Odia calendar.
2 It is widely regarded as the state’s largest open-air fair.
3 It showcases the maritime history of Odisha and its ancient trading links with Bali, Indonesia.
4 Bali attracted Odia sailors as the island had a rich reserve of spices, pearls, gems, silk, camphor and sandalwood.
5 The Odia sailors used to undertake the voyage on the day of ‘Kartik Purnima,’
6 The Odia mariners used to undertake voyage to the Islands of Bali, Java, Sumatra, Borneo and Sri Lanka (formerly Ceylon) for trade and cultural expansion. The history of Orissa composed by former Chief Minister HK Mahtab throws light on it.
7 Historical writings and research date the Balijatra saga of Odisha formerly Kalingan kingdom, to later part of the 2nd century BC.
8 The genesis of Balijatra, according to researchers, is 2000 years old.
9 A similar festival is now being organized in Paradip port town, which also has historical linkage with maritime history.
10 Taapoi folklore is also linked with Bali Jatra festival, which recalls traditional memories of young maidens waiting for the return of their sailor brothers.