CUTTACK, India, Nov. 30, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — The historic Bali Jatra, one of Asia’s largest open-air festivals, was inaugurated on Monday, November 27 with great fervor and enthusiasm. The festival, which celebrates the maritime glory of the people of Odisha, commenced with the gracious presence of esteemed dignitaries and government officials.
Hon’ble Minister of Finance, Government of Odisha, Shri Bikram Keshari Arukha, had the honor of inaugurating the festival at the Bali Jatra ground. He was joined by Chief Speaker Hon’ble Member of Parliament, Shri Bhatruhari Mahtab, and Hon’ble Guest Minister, Shri Ranendra Pratap Swain, Department of Agriculture & Farmers’ Empowerment, Government of Odisha. The event witnessed the participation of several other prominent figures, including Hon’ble Members of Parliament (MPs) and Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs) of Cuttack, Cuttack Municipal Corporation (CMC) Mayor Shri Subhash Chandra Singh, and Deputy Mayor Ms. Damayanti Majhi, among others.
This year’s Bali Jatra festival promises to be an extraordinary experience featuring an array of attractions designed to delight visitors. Among the highlights are a tunnel aquarium, a digital exhibition, an eco-friendly fire show, an urban self-help group (SHG) enclosure, a rural pavilion, an art exhibition, and captivating sand art displays.
The digital hanger stands out as a unique offering, providing visitors with an immersive experience that includes anamorphic, augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) displays, engaging digital games, a digital pathway, the Corporators’ Corner, and an exhibition featuring the present Members of Parliament (MPs) and Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs) of Cuttack.
A remarkable collection of 420 stalls has been set up by Odisha Rural Development and Marketing Society (ORMAS), showcasing a diverse range of handlooms, handicrafts, agri-horticulture value-added products, and authentic spices. These stalls feature the work of talented women producers and artisans from across 30 districts of Odisha and 22 other states including Delhi, Haryana, Punjab, Manipur, Tripura, and Chhattisgarh. Mission Shakti Self Help Groups, a leading entity in empowering women and fostering local entrepreneurship, proudly announced the opening of 70 stalls in Cuttack. These stalls offered a diverse range of products, from exquisite handicrafts to mouth-watering food items, all meticulously crafted by its talented members.
This initiative aims to empower women by providing opportunities to strengthen their economic condition. Furthermore, the Cuttack Municipal Corporation (CMC) has established the ‘Mo Khata’ counter, offering recycled waste turned into manure for sale.
Environmental sustainability has been a key focus of the Bali Jatra festival this year. CMC has taken numerous precautionary measures to ensure the festival remains plastic litter-free.
Eighteen dedicated stores have been designated for the collection of plastic waste, and shopkeepers and vendors have been educated on the importance of waste segregation. Dry and wet dustbins have been made available throughout the festival grounds, and individuals who deposit bulk waste such as tin cans, PET beverage containers, and plastic items will receive token money as an incentive. Additionally, eight Food Safety teams have been formed to ensure the availability of high-quality food, and regular defogging and sprinkling of water will be conducted to prevent dust accumulation.
Enhancing the lively atmosphere of the event, a stunning laser light show was inaugurated by CMC Mayor Shri Subhash Chandra Singh. The spectacle was met with tremendous appreciation from the visitors, making it a night to remember, beautifully blending local commerce and entertainment. The combination of diverse stalls and captivating entertainment adds to the vibrancy and charm of the Bali Jatra festival.
Bali Jatra is deeply rooted in the cultural heritage of Odisha and holds significant historical value. The festival takes place on the banks of the majestic river Mahanadi at Gadagadia Ghata and commences on Kartika Purnima, the day when Odia’s sail handmade colorful boats in rivers and ponds, symbolizing their ancestors’ voyages for trade to distant lands.
In a momentous event held at the Barabati Stadium last year, Bali Jatra etched its name in history. On 15th November 2022, the festival achieved a remarkable feat, making its mark on the global map by setting a Guinness World Record. Thousands of paper boats, symbolizing tradition and festivity, were lovingly crafted by 2,121 students from 22 different schools in Cuttack. Their efforts resulted in an astounding 22,000 paper boats being made within a mere 35 minutes. The joint efforts of the Cuttack District Administration and the Cuttack Municipal Corporation (CMC) made this record-breaking event possible. Their dedication and support have provided a platform for the tradition and culture of Odisha to flourish and be celebrated on an international scale, further solidifying its place as a cultural phenomenon.
Bali Jatra continues to evolve and captivate the hearts of millions and thrives as a significant trading event attracting merchants from all corners of the country. As the festival looks to the future, it promises to bring even greater joy, spectacle, and cherished memories to all who immerse themselves in its vibrant charm.
Make sure not to miss the awe-inspiring Bali Jatra Festival, where tradition, culture, and celebration intertwine to create a truly remarkable experience!
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