Anirbaan Hritiq

The festival of Kartika Purnima holds a special place in the hearts of the Odia people. Every year people observe this occasion by sailing handmade miniature boats to celebrate the maritime glory of ancient Odisha. This tradition is also meant to offer prayers to ancestors and seek their blessings.

Every year, the traditional boat makers of Jaleswarpur, Mahanga block of Cuttack wait for this festive eve to showcase their unique craftsmanship and make thousands of miniature boats for the devotees. Unfortunately, this year the boat makers are showing reluctance about making boats.

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The primary reason behind such unwillingness of boat makers is due to two primary reasons. On being asked, Padmabati Rana a traditional boat maker said, “We are speculating, this year we will experience hardship in selling boats because of the lunar eclipse which is falling on the day of observation and, secondly due to lack of enthusiasm amongst the people.”

Another boat maker named Kishore Rana narrates, “Previously, we used to make nearly 4000-5000 boats on average, but this year the number has drastically declined in the wake of lunar eclipse, and no overwhelming interest shown by the customers.”

Meanwhile, boat sellers are also looking at uncertainty in business this year due to a lack of production. Kamalakanta Tripathy, a local shopkeeper who used to make handsome profits every year during the Kartik Purnima said, “Due to non-adequate production, it is hard to source boats for selling purposes. I came here to inquire about boats but had to return empty-handed.”