Baliyatra

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    • Recently, the Prime Minister In his address to the Indian diaspora in Bali on the side-lines of the G20 summit mentioned the annual Baliyatra on the banks of the Mahanadi in Cuttack, which celebrates the ancient trade relations between India and Indonesia. 
      • This year’s Baliyatra also found a place in the Guinness World Records for achieving an impressive feat of origami, the creation of beautiful paper sculptures.

    About Baliyatra

    • Historical significance
      • It is one of the country’s largest open-air fairs.
      • It is organised every year to commemorate the 2,000-year-old maritime and cultural links between ancient Kalinga (today’s Odisha) and Bali and other South and Southeast Asian regions like Java, Sumatra, Borneo, Burma (Myanmar) and Ceylon (Sri Lanka).
      • The origins of the festival, which begins on Kartik Purnima (full moon night in the month of Kartik) can be traced back more than 1,000 years.
      • The Bay of Bengal region had several ports, and sadhavas (traders) traditionally began their voyage across the sea on this auspicious day, when the winds were favourable for the boats, known as boita, to sail.
    • Popular items of trade between Kalinga and Southeast Asia 
      • It included pepper, cinnamon, cardamom, silk, camphor, gold, and jewellery.
    • Significance of the festival 
      • Cultural dimension: Even today, thousands of people across Odisha sail decorative miniature boats made of banana stems, paper, or thermocol to celebrate boita bandana, or the worshipping of the boats. 
      • Commercial dimension: It is a time when people purchase everything from automobiles and electronic devices to local artisanal products at prices that are comparatively low.

    Source:IE