Bhubaneswar: The 27th Ekamra Walks saw more than 40 participants, but the event came out with several feats as on date the total number of participants of the only guided walk of the Temple City crossed the 1,000 mark making it another success story, initiated by the city administration and Odisha Tourism.
Journalists, writers and bloggers from various tour and travel magazines and publications houses were part of the event today. Representatives from Express Travel World, Outlook Traveller, Whereabouts, Tour Talk, Travel Trade Journal (TTJ) and Travel Scapes besides families, indivudals and expert from a leading London-based public health institute came as members of the Ekamra Walks.
The heritage walk today had two families led by their fathers on Father’s Day. The travel writers were part of a tourism conclave oeranised by the Hotels and Restaurants Association of Odisha with a central theme “tourism as a driver of economy.’’
Uttara Gangully from Outlook Traveller said “I am really happy with the way the heritage walk is being organized in the Old Town in Bhubaneswar and it will be helpful for any one coming from outside and exploring the monuments. It is really an interesting part of the city events.’’
Saloni Bhatia from Express Travel World was surprised to find that such a heritage walk is running without needing any fee from the travelers. “However, you need to diverse it into many others like cycle tour and food walks like Delhi Food Walks,’’she suggested.
Sudipta Saha from TTJ was also very happy to be part of the Ekamra Walks as the region is historically known an abode of Lord Shiva.
Gurpreet K. Sekhon, managing editor of Travel Scapes said “this is a very interesting heritage walk and has all elements of history, monuments, local traditions and beliefs attached to it. The authorities need to popularize it properly so that it would get more and more national and international partricipation, especially when the international air connectivity has recently started through Air Asia.’’
Rajesh Tiwari from Whereabouts termed his experience at Ekamra Walks as “extraordinary and beautiful.’’ “The city has got such a beautiful past, history and moreover the Emperor Ashoka changed his heart and became a messenger for world peace near Bhubaneswar after the Kalinga War and all these elements can be part of a more wider heritage tour plan,’’ he added.
All tour and travel writers, however, of the opinion that the city should have multiple heritage walks as seen in Delhi and Calcutta so that various agencies can be associated to organize the event in different flavours and styles so that travelers would also get options to choose from.
Parimita Routray, Assistant Study Manager at London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, who has come for the second time to Eakamra Walks, said “the next time I will be coming with more friends to show them what we have in our city as this type of historic treasure is not in seen in many great cities across the world. More and more locals should also come to the city heritage walk and update their knowledge on the history of Bhubaneswar.’’
As the heritage and local traditions were the talking points during the 27th Ekamra Walks, fathers coming with families to take part in the historic walk were also interesting elements during the day’s event.
While the little Kunmun from Jajpur Road came with her father Saroj Kumar Prusty to take part in the walk, Ravi Mittal from Muzzafarnagar in Uttarpradesh came with his family to take part in the walk. While Saroj, an engineer by profession termed his day’s experience as a “great learning lesson and promised to share it with other friends in the industrial sector in which he is engaged in the Jajpur Road area of Odisha, Ravi, an accountancy professional, was extremely happy to explore the monuments with his lovely family. His architect daughter works in the city as part of a government project.
It is quite encouraging to learn that the Ekamra Walks is gaining support from various groups and it is really catching up the fancy of the travelers coming to the Temple City on various assignments and getting exposed and soaked in the historic saga of temples and heritage.