Festivals are an expressive way to celebrate glorious heritage, culture and traditions. It gives us the choice to celebrate the littlie and big things with our loved ones. At the same time it helps in breaking the monotony of life. They play an important role to add structure ton our social lives and connect us with our families and background. Festivals are started to pass the knowledge an traditions to the next generations. in simple terms festivals are related to harmony, peace and happiness.
So lets explore more about a festival which is showcase of Odisha’s rich maritime culture.
‘BaliJatra’-What’s In The name?
The term BaliJatra means ‘Voyage to Bali’. But very few know that Balijatra is derived from ‘Bali-Java-Sumatra’, the three Indonesian islands that share rich commercial and cultural links with Odisha. But many still go by the popular belief that since the fair is held on the sand (Bali) bed of Mahanadi, it is called BaliJatra.
Historical Significance of BaliJatra
Odisha (Ancient kalinga) has a long maritime history. It was one of the key ports in ancient India and sailors used to sail to different countries from here for trading opportunities. it is celebrated to mark the day when the ancient mariners called as Sadhabas would sail to distant places like bali,java,Sumatra,sri lanka for trading and commercial purposes. Sadhabas used to sail through boats called boita on the full moon day of November known as kartika purnima according to odia calendar. To remember this glorious maritime history, Balijatra is celebrated throughout the state of Odisha( a state in eastern India)
Celebration Date/Month and Place
In Cuttack, Bali Jatra is celebrated annually as a large open fair in Qila Padia (Fort field) near Barabati Fort and Gadagadia Ghat(at the bank of ) of the Mahanadi River. It is said to be the largest open fair of Asia. The seven days fair commence from kartika Purnima according to odia calender which comes around the end of October and November.
How To Reach Balijatra Ground
This place is 3-4 km far from the Badambadi bus stop of cuttack,odisha and 6 km from nearest railway station. Reserved auto-rickshaws are easily available which may charge around 80-100 rupees. In the time of festival special transport services are also provided by District administration.
Attractions of BaliJatra
- Its a delight for people of all age groups, from rich traditional handicraft to lips smacking odia cuisine everything is available at the numerous stall set up at the festivals .
- This festival is the best opportunity for traders and artisans to showcase their products.
- Over than 1300 stalls comprising modern technology ,household crafts and traditional items, are put up on across the lower and upper region of BaliJatra grounds. It receives nearly more than nearly 3 to 4 lakhs of tourists every year.
There are several attractions for children like toy stalls, games and small rides keeping their safety in mind. On the other hand giant wheels, breakdance etc rides ale also organized for every age group to enjoy.
Maut ka kuan (literally Well of Death) is a major stunt that is most famous in BaliJatra.
Odisha Rural Development and Marketing Society which is another attraction, set up by the tribal and villagers Self Help Groups, exhibit a wide range of products from pickles, spices to handicrafts and are known for their quality and affordability is the best bet.
It also a paradise for all the food lovers. While you can find almost every type of food at Balijatra. Some of the must taste foods are Thunka puri, Dahibara Aludum, Mathura Cake, Banarasi Paana.
BaliJatra also provides a lot of cultural programs. Every year millions of people from all over the nation come to experience it. Even Bollywood celebrities are invited to perform during this festival. A variety of famous dance groups from all around the country, perform many classical and folk performances.
Apart from the traditional things, Bali jatra has an impressive line of shops ranging from bikes, electronic items, furniture, carpets, clothes, toys basically everything under the sun.
Hope You enjoyed my article and also got all the Relevant information about Bali Jatra. If I missed anything or you want to share any feedback please mention in the comment box.