Balijatra (also Boita Bandana) literally means A Voyage to Bali. This festival is held in the city of Cuttack at Gadagadia Ghata of the Mahanadi river, to mark the day when ancient Sadhabas (Oriya mariners) would set sail to distant lands of Bali, as well as Java, Sumatra, Borneo (all in Indonesia), and Sri Lanka for trade and cultural expansion. They sailed in large vessels called Boitas. This festival is celebrated every year from the day of Kartika Purnima according to the Oriya Calendar. The festival marks its beginning at Kartik Purnima which comes around the end of October and November, and goes on for a period of seven days from the full moon. In Cuttack, Bali Jatra is celebrated annually as a large open fair near the Barabati Fort area. It is said to be the largest fair of Odisha state. Every year millions of people from all over the nation come to experience it. During Bali Yatra, children float toy boats made of colored paper, dried banana tree barks, and cork in the Mahanadi, ponds, water tanks, etc., to commemorate the voyage of their ancestors to Indonesia. These toy boats, usually launched after sunset contain small oil lamps, which are lit and placed inside them, to provide an attractive sight during the festival. People sing a song Aa ka ma boi, pan gua thoi... to remember the early maritime history of Odisha. The song tells about four months that are important for marine merchants of Kalinga (the earlier name of Odisha). This festival is also celebrated with great fanfare in Paradeep. Bali Jatra bears testimony to the rich maritime legacy of ancient Odisha.
Durga Puja (September-October) symbolises the commemoration of good over evil. Life comes to a stand-still in the city of Cuttack as crowds pour over the Puja Mandaps to enjoy the festivities. On the day succeeding 'Vijaya Dasami', the last day of Dussera, the images are taken in a spectacular procession for immersion in the river Kathajodi.
It is one of the most attractive recreational hubs that serves its guests with a new concept of pleasure activities within the area. Pleasure boating, speed boat riding, temple tours on water, picnic party arrangements at the island are some of the key services available. A children's park and a fishing place have also been developed to provide a one-stop-shop leisure and entertainment solutions for tourists and their families.
It is a must-visit location on your Cuttack itinerary. The museum showcases the rich maritime history of Odisha. It is a great place to learn about the maritime practices and traditions. You get knowledge of vessels and artifacts, glory and achievements from the ancient age to the colonial era and modern times. The museum was restored from Maritime Engineering Workshop established in 1869. With the largest river of the region, Mahanadi passing by, Cuttack was a maritime and military center during the Colonial era. The museum has many galleries including an introduction, the maritime history, boat building techniques, maritime rituals and tradition, navigation methods, monuments on Odisha's coast and a boat display shed.
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