CUTTACK: The historic Baliyatra will not be organised this year in view of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic situation.
Cuttack Collector Bhabani Shankar Chayani said as the Covid-19 safety guidelines mandate no public congregation beyond seven persons, Baliyatra cannot be organised as the seven-day long festival attracts lakhs of people every year.
The district administration will take a formal decision on Baliyatra and Boita Bandana Utsav and communicate it officially after receiving the Covid-19 guidelines for the month of November, Chayani added.
Baliyatra, the festival central to the Millennium City’s culture, is being observed for over 1,000 years in Odisha 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.
In Cuttack, the Baliyatra festival is celebrated as a grand open air event on the banks of river Mahanadi adjacent to the Barabati fort for more than a week.
Like Baliyatra, the Bada Osha festival at Dhabaleswar temple will also not be organised this year due to restrictions.
“The district administration cannot allow celebration of any festival where there are chances of congregation of a large number of people. Under such circumstances, it is not possible to hold the Bada Osha festival at Dhabaleswar temple this year,” Chayani said.