Kalinga Bali Yatra.
The present state of Orissa in India once formed part of the ancient Kingdom of Kalinga. As early as 5th and 4th centuries B.C. Ports flourished in this area. There was regular interaction via sea-route between the ports of Orissa and Ceylon, Java, Sumatra, Borneo and Bali. By the beginning of the christian era the merchants from Orissa established cultural and trade ties with countries like Indonesia, Malaysia and Cambodia. The ancient sailors 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 distinct lands are preserved through celebration of popular festivals.
One such festival is celebrated on Kartik Purnima say when the traditional Bali-Yatra Festival is & served in Orissa every year. This festival is reminiscent of Orissa’s maritime links with Suvarna Dhupa of by-gone days of which the island of Bali (Indonesia) is a part. On this day colorful 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 the Raghuvansa referred to the king of Kalinga as The lord of the sea. The Aryamanjurimulakapa a text of Mahayana Budhisim refers to “All islands in the Kalinga Sea”. To revive our age-old culture, social and economic relations with the Indonesia 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.