Cuttack: The festival `Bali Yatra` which is organised every year in memory of the rich maritime history of the state of Odisha, has been extended by a day, Cuttack district Collector Bhawani Shankar Chayani said.
The mega open fair, which was inaugurated on Tuesday (November 12) in Cuttack, will now conclude on November 20, which was earlier scheduled to end on November 19.
The festival is organised at the bank of Mahanadi River every year to mark the day when ancient mariners from the state would set sail to the distant land of Bali, Sumatra, Java (Jawa) in Indonesia, Borneo and Sri Lanka, for the expansion of trade and culture.
Earlier on Tuesday, Odisha Assembly Speaker SN Patro inaugurated the festival in the presence of Sidharto Reza Suryodipuro, Ambassador of Indonesia to India who was the special invitee for the function.
For nine days, over 1,000 stalls come up this time, showcasing art, traditional items, household craft, food items from the state and outside the state.
Also, for the first time, the festival has a maritime corner to exhibit the model of the maritime voyage of ancient sea traders, who were travelling to the different parts of South-East Asia for Trade and culture extension.
Earlier on Wednesday, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik wrote a letter to Union Tourism Minister Prahlad Patel urging him to accord National Maritime Heritage Festival Status to Cuttack Bali Yatra festival.
The letter said the Bali Yatra is an integral part of the cultural ethos of Odisha. It is deeply embedded in the collective consciousness of the Odia people. Hence, 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`. And, I am sure that would be a befitting tribute to our heritage and on the inspiration for our future."
(With inputs from ANI)