Fairgoers are having a new kind of experience this time at Cuttack’s historic Bali Yatra. Starting from delicious food items to never-seen-before peculiar sights such as ‘money growing on trees,’ the Bali Yatra offers many things new and innovative, giving a different kind of experience to visitors.
Visitors are seen enjoying ‘bara’ mixed with ‘Machha Ambila’(fish curry with a dominant sour taste). Here is another item: You may have relished the famous ‘Tanka Torani’ in leaf plates, but strangely this curd-mixed water item is available in bottles – which enjoys the favour of many people.
The famous English adage - ‘Money does not grow on trees’ – found its reverse reflection at a stall run by the RBI which is drawing a large number of curious visitors. They are dismayed and happy to see currency notes blooming on a tree – a picture meant for visitors as part of a financial awareness campaign.
Two friends of Shankarpur – Pallabi and Dillip – are running a stall selling the new recipe -‘bara’ along with ‘machha ambila(a soured soup mixed with fish). This recipe of one of the favourites for a large number of customers, who throng the stall and lovingly dip the baras in the soured fishy soup to get a taste of the new recipe.
As for the business, Pallabi, said,” My friend Dillip had once invited me to his house where I was served this new item – machha ambila and bara. It was really tasty. I was looking at doing some business to deal with unique items. We two friends decided to promote this item.”
A customer said, "Machha Ambila is the item only available in Cuttack. It is my favourite. When we come to Bali Yatra, we look for Machha Ambila.”
‘Tanka Torani’, packed in bottles, is another recipe that caters to the taste buds of visitors who feel exhausted after a lot of roaming. People are seen jostling with each other to buy this item.
Well-known satirist Gyana Hota waxed eloquent about the taste of Tanka Torani by singing instantly composed lines in praise of the item.
Another attraction of the Bali Yatra is a counter run by the Reserve Bank of India. Customers throng the stall to exchange their torn, soiled and mutilated currency notes. They were also dismayed to see currency notes hanging from trees. This is part of the campaign to inculcate the saving habits of people.
Bali Yatra, in fact, provides a vast platform for thousands of small and medium traders from inside and outside the state to do their business.
Report by Prasannajit Ray