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Kalinga-bali Yatra History Cuttack

Kalinga-bali Yatra History Cuttack OdishaThe present state of O Odisha and Ceylon, Java, Sumatra, Borneo and Bali. By the beginning of the Christian era the merchants from Odisha established cultural and trade ties with countries like Indonesia, Malaysia and Cambldia. Bali, Java and Sumatra were the ports most frequented by the merchants from Odisha. Maritime history of Kalinga sailors lies littered in these islands of Indonesia.The ancient saiolrs and sea-faring merchants did not care to  leave their foot-prints upon the sands of time as kings have left in the form of inscriptions. But even today glimpses of their adventurous voyages to distant lands are preserved through celebration of popular festivals.
disha once formed part of the ancient kingdom of Kalinga. As early as 5th and 4th centuries BC ports flourished in this area. There was regular interaction via sea-route between the ports of

Kalinga-bali Yatra Cuttack Odisha

One such festival falls on Kartik Purnima Day when the traditional Bali Yatra Festival is observed in Odisha every year. This festival is reminiscent of Odisha's maritime links with Suvarna Dwipa of by-gone days of which the island of Bali is a part. On this day colourful paper boats are floated in tanks, rivers or sea reminding the present generation of the hundreds of Kalinga merchants who used to set sail on high seas in pursuit of maritime glory. So great was the fame of Kalinga as a maritime power in ancient times that Kalidas in his Raghuvamsa referred to the King of Kalinga as "The Lord of the Sea" (Mahodadhipati). The Aryamanjusrimulakalpa, a text of Mahayana Buddhism, refers to "All islands in the Kalinga Sea" (Kalingaodresu). It seems from these accounts that the eastern sea or the modern Bay of Bengal was known in the past as the "Kalinga Sea" being dominated by the ships of Kalinga.

To revive our age-old cultural, social and economic relations with the Indonesian islands in general and Bali in particular, a humble beginning was made to revive the Bali Yatra or Voyage to Bali retracing the ancient trade route.

A portion of Java island was then known as Ho-ling which is interpreted as a variant of the word 'Kalinga'. Similarly, the people of Tri-Kalinga, who colonized in Burma, are known as Talaing. Bali and Java were important centres for the spread of Indian culture in Indonesia. Sreevijaya monarchs of Indonesia were known to be great patrons of art having intimate trade links with Kalinga, Gouda (Bengal) and other coastal states of India. A voyage from Kalinga coast to Java or Bali islands in those days used to take about 40 days. With the decline of Brahmanical and Buddhist dynasties in Indonesia and Malaysia, their maritime links with the Kalinga coast gradually diminished.

Bali (Indonesia) and Kalinga have influenced each other's culture to a very considerable extent. An Indonesian scholar, Dr. I.G.P. phalgunadi, visitig Odisha, was very pleasantly surprised at many instances of similarity between the culture and lifestyles of the two people. Not surprisingly both Bali and Odisha boast of the strength of their culture in tourism which includes their: graceful dance forms, Art and handicrafts, temples, monuments and distinctive style of architecture, tie and dye, weaving technique nd elegant textile designs, specialities of their cuisine, and the tranquil spread of their coconut fringed golden beaches.

Gradually the ancient ports of Kalinga coast, namely, Tamralipti, palur, Chhelitalo and others became inactive due to gradual silting and the river mouths becoming unsuitable for maritime activities. Yet the memory of Kalingan people preserved the links through the annual celebration of Bali Yatra. 


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