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Odisha History – Bali Islands : The Odisha Outside INDIA #Odisha #BaliJaatra #Bali #BoitaBandana #India – (Article By: Taranisen Pattnaik –  Photos: Taranisen Pattnaik –Main Source: Odisha State Maritime Museum, Cuttack)

The eventful history of Odisha is both interesting & intense to hear. There was a time when the coastal business communities of Odisha popularly known as Sadhabas (seafarers)were known for their adventures & various ancient ports in Odisha had helped them a lot in their voyages for not just spreading their business to the South Asian countries, but also the rich cultural diversity of Odisha. Major popular ancient ports in Odisha included Pipli, Tamralipti, Chandbali, Subarnarekha, Paradip, Baleswar, Palur, Dantapur, Chelitola, Dhamra, Puri, Konark, Mahanadi, Baruva, Ganjam, Chilka, Kujang, Hukitola etc.

boita bandana for sadhabas
The Sadhabas had trade with major countries like Bali Islands, Java, Sumatra, Siam (Thailand), Kampuchea (Cambodia), Brahmadesh (Myanmar) , Sinhala (Sri Lanka), Malay (Malaysia) & even China, Rome & Arab countries but Bali Island was undoubtedly the most preferred destination. The most common items of trading taken by Kalingan sadhabas were silk fabrics, tussar fabric, khadi fabric, matha (traditional dye fabric), silver filigree (rupa tarkasi) work, diamond from sambalpur, paddy, rice, cane containers (mana)& bamboo containers & in return, they were buying precious stones, clove, cardamom, cinnamon, pearl, bay leaf (tejpatta) etc.

The present Bali islands in Indonesia was known as ‘Narikela Dwipa’ (coconut islands). The discovery of various artefacts made from iron, bronze, precious redstone beads etc proves of the rich culture & handicraft industry prevalent in ancient Bali. It led to cultural & social exchange between the Bali residents with the Kalingan communities. It further resulted in a new mixed culture in Bali Islands which had marks of Kalingan culture, its society system, god worship, fruits & flowers & even similar names which made its gradual entry deep into the socio-cultural heritage of Bali islands.

The worshiping style & the mythological Gods & Goddess involved in Bali has quite resemblance with their counterparts in Odisha. Devi Laxmi is known as Sri Devi in Bali. Both are worshipped with paddy bunch (dhana kenda) during the Margasir month by both the communities. Bali is 90% Hindu island; Buddhism is the second most popular religion & Lord Shiva (Shaivisim) is the main presiding deity & is treated as the elder brother of Lord Buddha. Like in Kalinga, Lord Jagannath is also worshipped alongwith Saraswati & Ganesha in Bali. Rath Yatra is also celebrated in wooden chariots in Bali in similar fashion like Puri. All these things proves to what extent Bali culture is influenced from Odisha. dance form, ikkat saree, mask making, ramayana, jatra, budha statue style etc

Residents of Bali celebrates Maha Shivratri, Saraswati Puja (Odalon Saraswati), Durga Puja (Paiger Waesi) etc which is quite similar to Odisha. Brahmins have got the highest respect in their local community also. In Odisha, Hindu temple priests are called Pandas where as in Bali they are referred as Padandas & both still uses Sanskrit slokas in religious practices. The Vat tree is sacred both in Odisha & Bali. Even the puja items are quite similar in both the communities which includes hay (kusha), honey, ghee, earthen lamps, incense sticks etc. One of the influential God in Bali is Garuda (the huge bird which is the official carrier of Lord Vishnu as per Hindu mythology). The national airlines of Indonesia (of which Bali is a part) is named after Garuda. Certain geographical locations in Bali which is named after Gods have same names in Odisha too like Mahendratanaya river, Mahendra parvat, Mahanadi river etc.

This is not the end. There’s also similarities noticed in the local terms used & the respective literature too. Common local tems in Bali such as Bai (Bou/mother in Odia), Bua (Gua/betel in Odia), Chinna (chinabadam/groundnut in Odia), Arua rice (raw rice), Pejo (Peja/rice water in Odia), Bokul (Barkoli/berry in Odia), Gondan (Genda/snail in Odia), Munh (face), Ruti (Roti in Odia), Dara (Para/pigeon in Odia) etc. Fruits & flowers used in lord offerings (Coconut, Lotus, Lily, Champa etc) are also found in Bali, maybe imported from Odisha during ancient period which creates a similar atmosphere & environment of Odisha in Bali. Like in Odisha, palm leaf literature (tala patra pothi) is also found in Bali. Local names & spoken words in Bali are full of familiar sounding words such as Yogya, Wijaya, Gajah, Utama, Purnama,Pawana, Puspa, Negara, Adi, Dakshina, Nirbhaya, Sangskerta, Agama, Kama, Padam, Aksara, Suami,Yuda,Sabda, Bahasa, Isteri, Sakti, Darma, Sarda, Gita, Raksasa, Karma, Saksi, Keling (Kalinga in Balinese) etc which have originated in Odisha. ‘Tuaan Tueen’ – a popular folk song in Odisha has also found its presence felt in Bali literature. The social etiquettes prevalent in both the communities have certain similarities like greeting others with folded hands Namaste , bowing head to elders while passing on the streets etc.

The food habits in both the communities have certain similarities also like the Sajna saag (drumstick leaf curry), Manza curry (banana trunk menu), Manda & Enduri pitha (Odia traditional cakes) etc. Like Odias, Bali residents are also fond of consuming betel leaf paan & every household have wooden pan box & gursts are served paan after meals. Even betel leaf is used during marriage rituals. Dresswear, printing pattern & fabric making style in Bali has influence of Odisha.

Patola Ikkat fabric of Bali has quite similarities with that of our Sambalpuri Ikkat style. The dresses worn by brides & grooms in Bali have similarities noticed. Both Odia & Bali girls used knots in hair in similar style. The art printed/painted in Bali fabrics have marks of typical Odia art & culture. maritime route of India esp Odisha The dance forms & nataks (drama) in Bali are mostly based on Indian puranas & similarities with that of Odisha & East Indian styles. Bali’s Boom Bong dance form is similar to Odissi. Similarly, both the folk dance of Bali – Kekaka dance (Banar nrutya/monkey dance) & Barong (Bagha nacha/Tiger dance) shares similarities with Odisha’s tribal, Paika dance & Chaiti Ghoda nacha (Horse dance).

Odisha’s Gotipua dance can be well traced in Bali’s various dances. Bali also has its own version of Ramayana but with only three brothers (excl. Bharata). Odisha’s Ravana Chaya (shadow puppet dance)has inspired Wayang Kulit (shaodow puppet) dance form in Bali. The mask used in various dance forms or festivals are quite similar to that of Odisha’s. In case of art & architecture too, there’s Odishan influence noticed in Bali temples.

Some of the temples architecture in Bali have been influenced by the architecture of Mukteswar & Baital temples in Bhubaneswar. Also, architectural influences from Ratnagiri monasteries, Udaygiri caves & Dhauli’s Ashokan pillar have been incorporated in Bali’s architecture. Like our Boita Bandaana Utsav & Cuttack’s Bali Jatra Utsav during Kartik Purnima which are both related to our maritime history with Bali islands, similar celebrations are also carried by Bali residents in the name of ‘Masakapam Kepesiha’ (sailing handmade paper boats with candles) to remember their maritime relations with Kalinga (spelled as Kling in Bali). The reason for Sabhadbas chjosing Kartik Purnima day for setting off their voyages is that on that particular day, the sea remains quite calm & the blowing cool breeze naturally helps the Palatana Danga (Fabric sailing boat) in its movement.

The sadhabas were returning back by Asadha month just before the rainy season advents. It’s said that Bali Islands has been named after an Kalinga King Raja Bali. Even in literary terms, Bali Dwipa means Sand Islands in Odia whose ancient name was Narikela Dwipa because of the numerous coconut trees found there. This instances are strong enough to prove the rich culture of Kalinga which had influenced a far off island & in return Kalinga has also adopted certain ritual & customs of Bali.

By Taranisen Patnaik

A freelancer on Odisha & its culture | Blogger |Matchbox Collector| Founder http://aitiha.com/