Vishwa Shanti Stupa (Peace Pagoda) in
the backdrop at Dhauli, the Kalinga
Mahotsav celebrates the victory of peace
over war as martial dance performers
enchant the tourists.
With their spellbinding timings and
precise movements over two days. The
festival commemorates the famous heart
change of Mauryan Emperor Ashoka upon
conquering the bloodiest battles of
India for the kingdom of Kalinga.
Rescued from oblivion by the Buddhist
saint Upagupta, Ashoka realized the
futility of power that came from the
sword and adopted a journey to enlightenment.
The festival thus in a way celebrates
the teachings of Buddhism and pays its
heartfelt tribute to its philosophy.
known as Boita-Bandana festival, Bali yatra
witnesses people gathering near river banks
or sea shores to float miniature boats (boita)
as a symbolic gesture that they will leave
for faraway islands of Bali, Java, Sumatra,
Borneo and Ceylon (Srilanka) to which their
ancestors once sailed.
Celebrated in October-November for five consecutive
days before the full moon to memorize the
maritime legacy of Orissa, Bali yatra also
marks the culmination of all religious festivities
held during the month of Karthik.