Food stalls making brisk business at Baliyatra

Cuttack: Over 300 food stalls at Baliyatra grounds are turning out to be major crowd pullers in the initial days of the ongoing week-long festival in this silver city.

After two lean days, the festival is drawing huge crowd after being opened on Wednesday.

The police said at least two lakh revellers visited the mega trade fair on the day which doubled by last evening.

The police believe that with favourable weather condition, the festival grounds would witness heavy footfalls for next four days.

With over 1350 stalls coming up at the fair, the 300-odd food stalls stacked with mouth-watering stuff are the crowd pullers as people are relishing the food in the initial days deciding to make the purchases at a later date. The festival would continue till December 4.

Besides the food stalls, the Gana Kabi Baishnab Pani pandal, located at the center of the fairground too is a big hit as cultural groups from state and outside are mesmerizing the revelers with spectacular performances. The district council of culture has roped in at least a dozen troupes for the occasion.

Kuchipudi troupes from Andhra Pradesh, Bhangra from Punjab, Ghoomar from Haryana, Bihu from Assam and tribal dance troupes from Chhattisgarh are likely to perform at the festival, said the council chairman Prof Kartik Rath.

Similarly, Meena Bazaars having giant wheels and other play rides are providing full-scale entertainment to children and youngsters.

The Chitra Shala, a stall set up by Cuttack Creative Artiste Group for the first time this year has also caught the imagination of the youngsters where the veteran artists are giving live performances of their creativeness.

The group is also holding a workshop on sculptures, sketches and paintings where the visitors are getting important tips from the experts.

The Gandhi Silpa Bazaar having over 300 stalls and showcasing the ethnic goods prepared by self help groups (SHG) of panchayat raj department has also become a must visit destination of all revellers.

Sources informed that business in the bazaar this year would cross all time records as people have shown keen interest on goods sold here.

Teams from states like Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Bihar and West Bengal have also come here with their produce ranging from household decorative items to rare forest produce.

Depicting the symbol of past maritime glory of the erstwhile Kalinga,Baliyatradoes not only showcase the traditional art and craft of the state but enriches the artisans and traders as well by way of exchanging ideas.

Traditionally, beginning on the last day of the holy month of Kartik, the festival is considered to be an acknowledgment and recognition to the glorious past of ancient maritime traders of the locality called Sadhabs.

Cuttack developed as an urban center about a thousand years ago came up with an important riverside port from where the sea-faring ships (Boitas) went to far-off places to Java, Sumatra, and Borneo islands in the Southeast Asia. Even people from the province were going to South American countries in theirBoitas for trade.