From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Bali Yatra
Mains level : Not Much
In his address to the Indian diaspora in Bali on the sidelines of the G20 summit, PM Modi mentioned the annual Baliyatra on the banks of the Mahanadi in Cuttack, which celebrates the ancient trade relations between India and Indonesia.
- Baliyatra/ Balijatra, literally ‘voyage to Bali’, is one of India’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.
Origins of the festival
- 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.
- The traders would set sail to distant lands of Bali, as well as Java (at the time of the voyage known as “Yawadvipa”), Sumatra, Borneo (all in Indonesia), and Sri Lanka (formerly Ceylon) for trade and cultural expansion.
- According to historians, popular items of trade between Kalinga and Southeast Asia included pepper, cinnamon, cardamom, silk, camphor, gold, and jewellery.
- 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.