Boita Bandana – Kartika Purnima in Odisha

Boita Bandana is well known within the lunar month of Kartika in Odisha.  It falls roughly within the months of October-November. Kartika ushers in an abundance of sacred vibes & auspicious actions all through the size & breadth of India.

Of all the times within the month of Kārtika, the full-moon day or Purnima is believed to be one of the auspicious. The practices & rituals noticed throughout this era are various with widespread in addition to distinctive components as per the areas or the individuals who have fun them. Varanasi Celebrates it as Dev Deepawali, Goa celebrates it as Tripurari Purnima and Tamil Nadu celebrates it as Karthikai. 

A standard observe throughout this holy month is lighting lamps and submerging oneself in a non secular lifestyle.

Boita Bandana of Odisha

The coastal state of Odisha celebrates Kartik Purnima in a novel means. Because the daybreak breaks within the wee hours of this full-moon day, Odia folks congregate in giant numbers at varied water-bodies throughout Odisha.

Boita Bandana celebrations in Cuttack
Baliyatra mela is alleged to be the biggest truthful of Asia. The image of entrance gate of Baliyatra 2019 is taken in night time on fifteenth November, 2019 in Baliyatra floor of Cuttack metropolis of Odisha, India

So far as the eyes can see, it’s a colourful & vibrant sight crammed with little boats with a lighted lamp. Boats carry varied symbolic choices floating on the water. The air is crammed with divine odor of oil lamps & incense sticks. Auspicious sounds of the ‘hulahuli’ – conventional ululation by the womenfolk, and varied chants could be heard.

Completely different Names

That is the ritual of ‘Danga Bhasa’ or floating-a-boatceremony, also called ‘Boita Bandana’. It refers back to the  auspicious worship rituals completed for a ship/ship in the beginning of its voyage. One other title for that is ‘Bali Jatra’ which means the voyage to the island of Bali in Indonesia.

Even most Odiā expats residing throughout the globe, away from their birthplace, additionally commemorate the legacies of their illustrious ancestors by means of this distinctive competition.

Floating the boats for Bali Jatra
Floating the boats for Bali Jatra

An important ritual of Boita Bandana is floating little hand-made boats. They’re often made from plantain or banana stem and different related pure and conventional supplies. Boats are laden with varied choices equivalent to flowers, cash, ‘Kaudis’or  cowries, ‘Pana’ or betel leaves, ‘Guā’ or betel nuts and many others, together with a lighted lamp. It’s floated whereas saying some particular phrases like “āā kā mā bai pāna Guā thoi ”. 

Remembering the Sadhabas

Boita Bandana echoes the collective consciousness & recollections of the previous. It commemorate the legacies of the Kalinga Sadhabas – the maritime retailers & seafarers. For hundreds of years, they’d the maritime buying and selling relationship with varied areas scattered throughout the Indian Ocean realm.

This heritage-based competition is a novel remembrance in addition to a tribute by the Odia folks to the ingenious & indomitable spirit of their Kalinga Sadhaba. These ancestors  established Kalinga’s ‘soft-power’ in far-off areas throughout the Indian Ocean. 

Kartika Purnima, has a particular significance related to the legacy of the Kalinga Sādhabas. That is the time when the Sādhabas set sail to far-off Islands & lands by profiting from the favorable route of the monsoon winds blowing over the Bay of Bengal & the Indian Ocean. Winds presently had been conducive for the Sādhaba ships to make a easy voyage in direction of Sri Lanka, Indonesian islands, & varied locations within the Southeast Asian mainland.

Kainga Sadhabas

The start of such maritime voyages had been marked off by totally different auspicious rituals. This was for sending off close to & pricey ones who had been venturing out into the huge  expanse of the ocean.

The hustle & bustle of the ship’s crew loading totally different commodities may he seen.  Textiles, gems, diamonds, pearls, beads, frankincense, beeswax, kingfisher feathers, ivory, elephants and many others., had been carried commerce. They prepared  the ship for the lengthy & difficult voyage forward.

Ladies of the Sadhaba households, carry out varied rituals for the properly beings of their males. This created a vibrant  scene on the docks & ports on the Kalinga coast in these bygone eras.

The prosperity, title & fame of Kalinga was primarily due to the  commerce enterprises of those industrious Sadhabas. They nurtured collaboration & amicable relations with so many various folks throughout the huge expense of the Indian Ocean.

The riches that they introduced house from abroad commerce stored Kalinga affluent for fairly a very long time. The ports and cities on the Kalingan coast served as essential pulse factors in addition to gateways for buying and selling retailers. 

Kalinga Ships

We get a point out of enormous multi-storey ships within the Sadhaba chronicles. It provides us an thought of the flourishing commerce and transport business in these instances.

The crew within the Sadhaba boita or ships had navigators, sailors, supervisors, upkeep crew, odd-job employees – headed by a chief/captain. As well as, there have been miscellaneous passengers equivalent to artisans, sculptors, students and varied expert employees.  They even had warriors for making certain the ship & its crew’s security. 

Akash Deepa

Together with this heritage competition of Kartika Purnima Danga Bhasa, there was one other fashionable custom – the ‘akasha-deepa’ or a ‘lamp-in-the-sky’.

A lit lamp was positioned in an earthen pot  crammed with sand and with little holes pierced on it. It was hoisted on a tall bamboo/picket makeshift pole after dusk. It was left to point out the flickering mild all through the night time.

Most properties alongside the Kalingan coast together with the rivers in addition to the Bay, hoisted such lights all through the month of Kartika. Collectively, they had been helpful to the boats & ships traversing the riverine or sea-pathways the Kalingan waterways throughout these darkish nights.

This akasha-deepa custom can also be a powerful remnant of the maritime heritage of the Kalinga Sadhabas.

In line with an one other perception, these flickering lights present lights to the departed ancestors visiting the earth realm to go to their household from ‘pitr-loka’ through the ‘pitr-paksha’ interval. Though this ‘akasha-deepa’ observe was extra prevalent until just a few many years in the past. With modified existence, sadly this fashionable custom has grow to be a rarity. 

Traditions equivalent to Danga-bhasa (‘floating-a-boat’) and akasha-deepa  have related counterparts within the western coast  or the Konkan coast of India; however every area has its personal distinctive tales & flavors.

Boita Bandana and Jagannath

Since ages, Odisha has been house to indigenous faiths like Vaishnava, Shaiva, Shākta, Bouddha, Jaina, Sābara and many others. The Jagannāthasanskruti of Odisha is believed to be a wealthy amalgamation of all such faiths.

The Kārtika month traditions adopted by most Odias esp. the aged & girls, just about revolve across the rituals & traditions principally within the strains with Jagannāth tradition. 

Nagarjuna Besa of Jagannath
Nagarjuna Besa of Jagannath

The deities on the Sri Mandira or Jagannath Puri are dressed up in quite a lot of attires or ‘besa’ all year long. They get particular ‘besa’ attires throughout this holy month of Kartika. The yr during which Kartika month has six days of ‘Panchaka’ as a substitute of 5, the deities have the uncommon and distinctive ‘Nagarjuna Besa’ the place they’re dressed like ‘Nagarjuna’. 

Individuals observe the Kartika brata or quick piously for the entire month. This contains waking up & taking a shower earlier than day-break, visiting temples for the ‘darshan’ of deities and many others, Most devotees desire touring to Puri and related holy shrines to watch this pious brata/vrat.

The ‘Tulasi’ plant  or holy Basil is worshipped identical to how it’s completed in the remainder of the nation throughout this month. Studying/listening to the Kartika Mahatmya story from the ‘Skanda Puranacan also be a well-liked job. House owners who should not capable of go to Sri Kshetra or different ‘teerthasthalas’, selected to observe most Kārtika rituals piously at house. 


The self-discipline in life additionally will get mirrored within the meals consumed throughout Kartika. Fasting and consuming ‘habisya’ or habisa meals prior night is adopted by the habisyali  – the individual observing habisa fasting. This particular meals preparation is sans any turmeric or different widespread spices and greens. It’s often ready with a choose handful styles of native, seasonal, and indigenous produce.

Many Odias eat sattvic meals sans onion, garlic throughout Kartika month. Most Odias abstain from consuming fish throughout your entire month of Kartika.

Individuals who don’t observe this throughout a lot of the month, at the very least diligently observe the final 5 days – the ‘panchuka’ or ‘panchaka– with an entire vegetarian sāttvic eating regimen. The panchuka can also be known as ‘baka-panchuka’ because the Odias imagine that even the fish-loving hen Crane/Stork  abstains from consuming fish throughout these final 5 days.

Quite a lot of stunning rice-powder artwork designs kārtika muruja’ just like ‘rangoli’ or’kollam’ are created close to the ‘tulasi chaurā’. The designs are of assorted regional, conventional, and heritage based mostly motifs reflecting the cultural heritage of the folks.

Thus, Kārtika Purnimā traditions in Odisha is showcase her superb maritime heritage. 

This can be a visitor publish by Preeta Rout. She is an impartial researcher on socio-culural heritage of  India and Odisha. She curates and presents varied much less recognized reality about Odisha.