Bhubaneswar: Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik today wrote to Union Culture and Tourism Minister Prahlad Singh Patel urging the latter to accord ‘National Maritime Heritage Festival’ status to the annual Bali Jatra trade fair held on the bank of Mahanadi river in Cuttack city.
“Bali Yatra marks the days when ancient Sadhavas (Odia Sailors) would set sail to distant lands of Bali as well as Java, Sumatra and Borneo for trade and cultural expansion. They sailed in large vessels called Boitas. This rich legacy is observed through the celebration of Bali Yatra,” Patnaik mentioned 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 the ancient India is recognized at the National Level so that the daring initiatives of our seafaring ancestors are duly recollected and acknowledged, the CM said in the latter.
“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,” urged Patnaik.