Orissa remembers its glorious maritime past

November 2nd, 2009 - 3:44 pm ICT by IANS  

Bhubaneswar, Nov 2 (IANS) Orissa remembered its maritime past Monday by celebrating Boita Bandana (worship of ships) with traditional fervour. People from different age groups woke up early morning and rushed to different water bodies to sail miniature boats in memory of the glorious past.
Well decorated miniature boats made of banana barks, cork and paper were sailed in water bodies.

As the legend says, sea traders used to sail to distant islands like Java, Sumatra, Borneo, Ceylon and other countries to trade. It is a festival to remember the past.

“This is a festival of remembrance of Orissa’s glorious maritime past. People used to throng to water bodies, river banks and sea shores to sail miniature boats as a symbolic gesture,” said Sarat Kar, a researcher on Oriya culture.

“It is also a festival to worship the ships so that they will sail smoothly to far away lands in the turbulent sea. It is to seek divine blessings so that the journey will remain safe,” he added.

Early in the morning a large number of people gathered at water bodies across the state carrying miniature boats. The boats were worshiped and sent off in the gentle waves keeping earthen candles inside in memory of adventurous Oriyas, accompanied by chants.

“We have come here for Boita Bandana Utsav. It is a festival to remember the glorious past of Orissa. We worship the banana bark boats keeping paddy, betel nuts and other things which used to be traded to foreign countries from Orissa’s soil in the past,” said Subhashree Mishra who had come to Bindusagar pond near the Lingaraj temple in Bhubaneswar.

There was a large crowd in Dhabaleswar Temple of Cuttack and Bindusagar pond in the heart of Bhubaneswar for Boita Bandana. Similar crowds were also seen in Puri and Paradip beach.

As a symbolic gesture, a well adorned boat and seven Sadhabs (marine traders) were given a send off by the chairman of Paradip Port Authority, in memory of the maritime past.

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