13 November 2019
Bhubaneswar: Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has urged Union Tourism & Culture Minister Prahlad Singh Patel to accord 'National Maritime Heritage Festival' status to 'Bali Yatra' by considering its socio cultural importance.
"I would suggest you to kindly consider the social cultural importance of 'Bali Yatra' festival and accord it the status of a 'National Maritime Heritage Festival'. And, I am sure that would be a befitting tribute to our heritage and an inspiration for our future," wrote Patnaik in a letter addressed to Patel on Tuesday.
Patnaik pointed out that Bali Yatra is an integral part of the cultural ethos of Odisha and it is deeply embedded in the collective consciousness of the Odia people.
Bali Yatra is the signature festival of Cuttack, the Millennium City, he added in the letter.
"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 in the letter.
Patnaik told the Union Minister that Bali Yatra is an ancient festival held in the city of Cuttack to commemorate the glorious tradition of seafaring activities of Odia mariners (Sadhavas).
Throwing light on ancient Odisha's maritime prowess, the Chief Minister wrote, "On Eastern seaboard, it was Odia Mariners (Sadhavas) who have been the torchbearers of the Indian maritime prowess since ancient times. The footprints of this enterprise are evident in the South Eastern regions, particularly in Bali, Java, and Sumatra. People of Indian origin, in
general, are known as `Klings' in the South Eastern countries and this could be indicating of the old association with Kalinga in terms of trade and cultural exchanges. The recalled public memories of this age-old maritime trade-centric traditions have taken the form of "Bali Yatra" (The journey to Bali) an annual festival in Odisha”.