Bhubaneswar: The 29th Ekamra Walks, the only guided heritage tour of the city, had a surprise gift for all its 36 walkers as the beautiful mascot of the 22nd Asian Athletics Championships (AAC-2017), Olly, came as a special guest to cheer the crowd and gear up for the games, which is being organized in the Kalinga Stadium from July 5th to July 9th.
When Olly reached the venue on time and proceeded towards the starting venue, Mukteswar Temple, the epitome of Kalingan Temple architecture, all the 36 participants greeted the games mascot with the warmth of their hearts and many were seen giving him hugs and wishing all success for the smooth conduct of the AAC-2017, in which 800 athletes from 45 nations are going to participate. Jagat, the flutist and a regular at the heritage walk played a special `Raga’ to welcome the AAC-2017 games’ mascot.
Olly is conceptualized behind the Olive Ridley sea turtle, which comes to Odishan coast along Gahirmatha and Rushikula mouth and lays eggs. Later the hatchlings after emerging out of their eggs, march towards the Indian Ocean.
Debashish Sarangi, a regular at the Ekamra Walks termed the visit of Olly to Ekamra Walks as “an extraordinary gesture on the part of the civic and tourism authorities to promote both the heritage walk and the athletics championships as they are complementary to each other.’’
In fact, international games, meets and conferences not only help in promoting the tourism potential of the area, but these activities also provide platforms for exchange of cultural ideas and traditions. With a rich maritime history of the ancient Kalingan kingdom, the link of the state with the South-East Asian nations are now an established fact and many monuments in several South-East Asian nations do reflect the same form of the famous Kalingan architecture even today.
Among others, Director Tourism, Nitin Bhanudas Jawle, attended the walks. He also congratulated the mascot and wished all success of the AAC-2017. Later the mascot also had a group photo with the walkers. The walkers also got the opportunity to take selfies with the mascot.
Today the walkers visited Mukteswar temple, Parsurameswar temple, Sampurna Jaleswar temple, Kotitirtheswar temple, Bindu Sagar, Ananta Vasudeb Lingaraj temple, Sari temple, Mohini temple and then went to Ekamra Van, the medicinal plant garden. They also saw a beautifully choreographed Odissi dance, inside Art Vision, the institute, run by Illeana Citaristi, an exponent in Odissi and Chhow.