Bhubaneswar: Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Wednesday requested the Centre to accord ‘National Maritime Heritage Festival’ status to Cuttack’s Bali Yatra, considering its socio-cultural importance.
In a letter to Union Tourism and Culture Minister Prahlad Singh Patel, the Chief Minister said, “Bali Yatra (also known as Boitabandana) is an ancient festival held in the city of Cuttack in Odisha to commemorate the glorious tradition of the Seafaring activities of Odia mariners ( Sadhavas).”
“It marks the days when ancient Sadhavas (Odia Sailors) would set sail to distant lands of Bali, as well as Java, Sumatra, and Borneo for trade and cultural expansion. They sailed in large vessels called Boitas. This rich legacy is observed through the celebration of Bali Yatra.,” he said.
“The festival begins in the month of November on the full-moon day of Kartika (Purnima) and continues for seven to ten days. It is celebrated annually as a large open fair and is considered to be one of the most celebrated festivals of Odisha,” he added.
“As India looks to the East to revive the age-old contacts with South East Asia aiming at mutual economic growth of India and the countries in that region, it would be appropriate and timely that Bali Yatra which celebrates the enterprising spirit of ancient India is recognized at the National Level so that the daring initiatives of our seafaring ancestors are duly recollected and acknowledged,” the Chief Minister said.
“I am sure that (National Maritime Heritage Festival’ status ) would be a befitting tribute to our heritage and an inspiration for our future,” he noted.
The annual Bali Yatra festival was inaugurated in Cuttack on Tuesday.