Cuttack: Like previous year, the historic Balijatra in Millennium city Cuttack will not be held this year too due to Covid-19 pandemic.
The Cuttack District Administration has taken this decision for the larger interest of public health, said Cuttack Collector Bhabani Shankar Chayani.
“In view of restrictions imposed due to Covid-19, we will not be able to conduct the annual Balijatra this year. Even though the Covid-19 cases came down in the State, it has not been rooted out till now,” Chayani said.
However, people can celebrate the Boita Bandana Utsav following all restrictions imposed by the State Government, he informed.
There is a possibility of outbreak of Covid-19 pandemic as a huge number of people visit the seven-day long Balijatra. So, the decision was taken, sources said.
Blijatra, the festival central to the Millennium city’s culture, is being observed for over 1,000 years in the city simultaneously with Boita Bandana Utsav on the full moon day in the holy month of Kartik to commemorate the day when Sadhabas (mariners) would set sail to distant island of Bali, for trade and cultural expansion.
If the Millennium City is known for Durga puja, it is also synonymous with the Baliyatra festival. It has already become an inalienable part of the city’s culture.
The festival reminds people of the rich maritime glory of Odisha. The traders of Odisha known as Sadhabas used to sail to Bali, Java, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Borneo etc on this day in the distant past. The voyages used to start on the day of the full moon in Kartika month.