Colourful festival in Orissa to remember maritime past

Six children drown while offering paper boats

Lakhs of people thronged the water bodies and released their hand-made big and small paper boats on the occasion of the annual festival of Boita Bandana Utsav.

However, the festive mood was spoilt with reports of seven deaths in different districts during the celebrations, held to commemorate the state’s rich and glorious maritime past.

According to the state’s history, in ancient times Kalinga, the erstwhile Orissa, had a successful maritime trade partnership with countries like Indonesia and Sri Lanka and “Sadhabas” (traders) from the state used to embark on their trade journey on sea on the auspicious day of Kartika Poornima.

Grand farewell

Friends and family members of these traders used to gather on the sea shore to give them a grand farewell, wishing them good luck during their sea journey. Though symbolic, the state celebrates the event even today on the day of Kartika Poornima every year.

However, the colourful festival had its share of mishaps this year as six people, all children, were reported dead in different districts while celebrating the event.

While two deaths each have been reported from Balasore and Dhenkanal districts, coastal Cuttack and Jajpur districts have recorded one death each.

In all these cases, the children drowned while releasing their boats in the water bodies.
Similarly, an old man died on the marine drive in the temple town of Puri when an autorickshaw ran over him while he was on his way to take part in the festival on the Puri sea beach.

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