Paradip: The historic Kalinga Bali Jatra began at Biju Maidan here on Tuesday.
Inaugurating the festival, Panchayati Raj and Drinking Water minister Pratap Jena said the festival reminds the people of the legacy of the maritime trade by the Sadhavas (sailors) of the erstwhile Kalinga. He also praised the organisers for organising the festival despite the damage rendered in heavy rainfall and strong winds triggered by Cyclone Bulbul.
Among others, Agriculture and I&PR minister Raghunanada Das, MP Rajshree Mallick and Paradip MLA legislator Sambit Routray were present at the function which was presided by district collector Sangram Keshari Mohapatra.
Apart from the cultural shows by troupes from across the state, Gramshree Mela will be a major attraction during the eight-day fair.
However, the impact of Bulbul is hard to miss here with fewer vendors turning up to put up stalls.
Notably, former Chief Minister Biju Patnaik had started the Kalinga Bali Jatra in 1992 to revive the pristine glory of Kalinga’s maritime trade with South-East Asian countries and the 2500-year-old cultural heritage of the state.
Meanwhile, the famous Bali Jatra is scheduled to kick off on the Mahanadi riverbed in Cuttack city from this evening. The eight-day event, which is the biggest annual fair in the country, will be inaugurated by the Odisha Assembly speaker Surya Narayan Patro.