Cuttack, Nov. 7: Coinciding with the historic Bali Yatra festival at Cuttack beginning from November 8 to commemorate the great maritime culture of Kalinga, a three-day national Dhara event known as ‘Samudramanthan’ will be held in the millennium city to focus on India’s glorious ancient maritime traditions, its present situation and future possibilities and challenges.

The conference, being organised by the Indian Knowledge Systems Division of the Ministry of Education in association with Ministry of Culture and SOA Deemed to be University, Bhubaneswar, seeks to create awareness about the sophisticated knowledge that existed in India in the realm of maritime traditions. It will also involve discussions about the present status of national maritime presence and about its future possibilities.

SOA Deemed to be University runs a centre dedicated to work for preservation, propagation and restoration of the country’s rich heritage and culture. It is known as SOA Centre for Preservation, Propagation and Restoration of Ancient Culture and Heritage of India (PPRACHIN).

The conference, which will be accompanied by cultural activities relating to the theme, is being held under the aegis of ‘Dhara: An Ode to Indian Knowledge System’ and as part of ongoing ‘Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav’ alongside the Bali Yatra festival organised by the Odisha government.

The objective of the conference, which will be attended by renowned experts in the field including academicians, scholars and researchers, will be to create a vision document for maritime traditions-2047 and revive public memory about Odisha’s  glorious maritime glory.

History has recorded Odisha’s maritime exploits of the past which made it a knowledge powerhouse because of its highly developed maritime traditions where seafarers traded extensively with the countries to the east, west and south of the Indian subcontinent.

Trade crossing the seas also led to cultural exchanges and enriched the country. The memories of those maritime traditions have been preserved in culture in the shape of annual festivals and practices. 

The famous Bali Yatra, an annual event held on the edge of the Mahanadi river in Cuttack, is intended to celebrate the journey of ancient mariners  from Odisha coast to Bali island in distant Indonesia. It has immense cultural significance even today. 

The conference will include round table and panel discussions on maritime history, locations, ship building, navigation, trade and cultural exchange, education and skill development in maritime studies, maritime security and international law and reconnecting with maritime traditions through museums.

The inauguration of the conference will be held in the auditorium of Siksha ‘O’ Anusandhan at Bhubaneswar on November 8 which will feature launching of a Stitched Boat Project by the Ministry of Culture along with the Ministry of Defence, particularly the Indian Navy, as part of ongoing ‘Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav’ celebrations.

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