Doctor from Maharashtra on cycle trip tells his tale of adventure to heritage walkers in Bhubaneswar


Bhubaneswar: Heritage tour at Twin Hills of Udayagiri-Khandagiri, Monks Caves and Kings _ part of the weekly Ekamra Walks_ today got a special guest Dr. Ramchandra R. Chavan, who came alone on his cycle from Maharashtra to Odisha and shared his experiences with the heritage lovers, who were mostly from the city-based Xavier University, Bhubaneswar (XUB).
The doctor, who has a passion to travel across the country and various parts of the world by cycle, completed his journey from Malvan in Maharashtra and reached Konark, covering a distance of more than 2,000 kilometres, covering the challenges within a period of 20 days only. He entered Odisha through Sohela in Bargarh and found the people, state, environment and the Odia cultural traditions unique and lasting.
While speaking about his experiences to the 30 odd students and faculty members of Xavier School of Communications, XUB, and other participants of Monks, Caves and Kings, Dr. Ramchandra said “I have come across different types of people and with different economic groups, but the people of Odisha in the remote areas are happy, cordial and friendly with their guests and forever helpful to a stranger.’’
Spreading a message of brotherhood and belongingness through the scheme Ek Bharat Shresth Bharat, Dr. Ramchandra said “the two states Maharashtra and Odisha are paired under the scheme. Seeing the history Marathas had a political and military conrol over Odisha before the British rulers hence, there are many things common among our states and we must preserve those traditions.’’
He also answered queries from the students of Xavier School of Communications, XUB, and added “we have to include heritage studies in the curriculum and it would definitely help the youngsters to take interest in the ancient structures.’’
He also described an interesting story in which through his counselling people coming across his trip including small kids have changed view on the society as some are still with their minds living in the old world with feudal thoughts. Being a doctor, he also tried to spread the message of Swachh Bharat among the villages and Small towns on his journey path.
Describing his challenges, the enterprising doctor with a love for cycling, said in a group the problem is not much, but here when the rider is alone, many things would pose as a strong challenge, including personal health. The winter months also pose danger for the solo riders. “However, the greatest challenge before me was from my family, as they were very anxious about the trip,’’ he described.
As a suggestion for budding cyclists, the doctor said “for me the entire trip was perfectly planned and if anyone is planning a cycle expedition, then a lot more emphasis is to be given mainly on the planning part. Those, who wish to start cycling as a hobby must do it as soon as possible as it is a very cost-effective way for fitness and health. The role of Odisha Government was very special and the administration has extended a warm support for my tour.’’
Dr. Ramchandra in 2002 had a group expedition from Maharashtra border to Kanyakumari covering a distance of more than 3,000 km. This current trip was more than 2000 km. Again we will have a group cycle expedition from J&K to Kanyakumari crisscrossing the entire land of the country in 2020.
The students of Xavier School of Communications, XUB, today actively participated in the discussions during the heritage walk and also tried to capture every possible moments through their still and video cameras. They would be using the photographs and reports for their in-house journals.
Archisman Dash, 1st year student of B.Sc. Mass Communication, said “the tour has informed us many stories about the Twin Hills, which we had never experienced before,’’
Megha Mishra and Anwesha Pati, also from XUB, were of the opinion that the rock art, ancient caves and beautiful carvings have made the ancient site a unique destination to explore. Apart from the 30 plus faculty and students from XUB, other guests made the total footfall 40 today though the early morning fog was intense and there was a low visibility near and around the Biju Patnaik International Airport..