By Our Correspondent
CUTTACK: The historic festival Baliyatra began here on Tuesday in memory of the maritime trade glory of the ancient Odisha on the auspicious occasion of Kartika Purnima. State Assembly Speaker Surjya Narayan Patro inaugurated the festival in the presence of several Ministers, MPs and MLAs of Cuttack district. Indonesia Ambassador to India Sidhato Reza Suryodipuro also joined the inaugural function as a special invitee.
The eight-day extravaganza will continue till November 19 at the Baliyatra grounds on the bank of river Mahanadi spread over an area of 50 acres. As many as 1,000 makeshift stalls and nearly 100 vending zones have come up for this year’s festival, which showcase ethnic goods along with modern gadgets, food stalls drawn from across Odisha and outside.
For the first time this year, the festival is having a maritime corner to exhibit the model of maritime voyage of ancient sea traders of the State, who were travelling to different parts of South-East Asia for trading. Artificial ponds have been dug up along the riverbank, in which the revellers will move from one place to another by boats and relish marine foods of different countries.
Since the festival is also observed to showcase the rich culture of the State, at least four pandals have come up at four corners of the grounds of the fair which will stage cultural evenings every day for next one week. The District Council of Culture has made elaborate arrangements for this. Along with local artists, troupes from across the country and from Bangladesh, Nepal and Indonesia are going to perform here.