Kalinga Bali Yatra - Essay

Kalinga Bali yatra was an effort made by Orissa government in 1992-93 to attract tourists from South-East Asia. The journey was undertaken via sea-route from Orissa in India to Bali in Indonesia. The boat expedition was a modest attempt at retracting the old trade route to Bali and in the process, re-discovering the cultural ties between the two countries.

1. The Objectives

The objective was to focus the attention on building Orissa as a tourist destination for domestic and international tourists especially from South-East Asia. It aimed to highlight the 2500 years old cultural heritage of Orissa. Till then, Bali Yatra festival just involved locals but Kaliga Bali Yatra made the festival into a big cultural festival.

2. The Detailed Plan

It was an ambitious project and the Orissa government was not well equipped to take a sea voyage of such magnitude. The state government sought the help of Indian Navy. Indian Navy handed over INSV Samudra to undertake the journey of 6000 nautical miles with 7 crew members including 5 Navy soldiers and 2 civilians. It was decided that the yacht will leave Paradip on 10th November 1992 and after touching various ports en route, the journey will end at Bali where a grand reception with large scale cultural activities were organized. The civilian members were selected through advertisement and rigorous physical and oral tests.

3. The Voyage

The voyage started on Karthik Poornima Day (10th Nov 1992) at Paradip port in presence of 20000 people. Shri. Biju Patnaik, chief minister of Orissa and several Indonesian diplomats were present at the flag off ceremony. Presentation of Odissi and other dance forms added further colour to the festival. Several other dignitaries flagged off the yacht at various ports en route.

Off the Madras coast, the yacht was caught in heavy rain and wind. Various instruments started malfunctioning and water seeped inside. During the 5 day stay at Campbell Bay, everything was repaired and a through check of all gears was carried out. Off the Bojo Island coast, the engine failed. Thanks to the efficient and well trained crew, the yacht reached Pedang.

At Jakarta 3 days were spent for repair. The ceremonial entry of Yacht to Bali was enacted on 31 Jan 1993, the governor of Bali was the chief guest. A huge reception ceremony with traditional Orissa dance and art forms were conducted. A huge number of dignitaries were present. Governor of Bali said that the venture would strengthen the cultural ties between Kalinga and Bali. 

After a month's stay, the journey back to India started on 3rd February 1993 with a cast off ceremony. On 8th April 1993 INSV Samudra reached Paradip port and next day a grand reception was accorded to the voyagers.

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