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Bali Yatra and The Kalinga Empire

  • IASbaba
  • November 21, 2022
  • 0
History and Art and Culture
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Context: Recently during the G20 Summit, Prime Minister of India  mentioned Baliyatra, literally ‘voyage to Bali’, one of the country’s largest open-air fairs that commemorates the 2,000-year-old maritime and cultural links between ancient Kalinga and Southeast Asia.

About Bali Yatra and the Kalinga Empire:

  • Bali Yatra, a festival that commemorates the rich maritime history of Odisha is celebrated throughout the state.
  • In the historic city of Cuttack, a week-long event is organised starting from the day of Kartika Purnima(full moon day in the month of Kartik i.e October-November).
  • The Kalinga Empire (present-day Odisha) is known for its glorious maritime history. Due to the geographical location of Kalinga, this area saw the growth of ports as early as the 4th and the 5th century BC.
  • Some of the famous ports, Tamralipti, Manikpatna, Chelitalo, Palur, Pithunda allowed India to connect with other countries via the sea.
  • Bali formed a part of the four islands that were collectively called the Suvarnadvipa, today known as Indonesia as their major trade hub along with other islands in the region.
  • The Kalingas constructed large boats called the Boitas’and with the help of these, they traded with the Indonesian islands.
  • These ships had copper hulls and could carry up to seven hundred men and animals aboard. Interestingly, the Bay of Bengal was once known as the Kalinga Sea as it was thronged by these ships.
  • The dominance of the Kalingas over the sea routes can be understood from the fact that Kalidasa in his Raghuvamsareferred to the King of Kalinga as ‘The Lord of the Sea’.

  • The Kalingas frequently traded with the island of Bali. The trade-in commodities also led to the interchange of ideas and beliefs.
  • Odia merchants formed settlements in Bali and influenced its culture and ethics. This led to the growth of Hinduism in the region.
  • Interestingly, the ‘Masakapan ke Tukad’ festival celebrated in Bali is similar to the Bali Yatra festival in Odisha. Both festivals are celebrated in the memory of their maritime ancestors.
  • The term Bali Yatra literally means ‘Voyage to Bali’.
  • Every year Kartika Purnimamarks the day that the seafaring traders departed for the Indonesian islands.
  • Indian women perform Boita Bandana’, they make boats of paper or banana leaf (sholapith) with lighted lamps inside and float them down the Mahanadi as a part of the celebrations.

Source:  Indian Express

Previous Year Question

Q,1) Consider the following pairs:

Site of Ashoka’s major rock edicts            Location in the State of

  1. Dhauli                                                          Odisha
  2. Erragudi                                               Andhra Pradesh
  3. Jaugada                                                Madhya Pradesh
  4. Kalsi                                                      Karnataka

How many pairs given above are correctly matched?

  1. Only one pair
  2. Only two pairs
  3. Only three pairs
  4. All four pairs

 

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