UN official and visitors laud Ekamra Walks’ role as a cultural ambassador

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Bhubaneswar: Travellers with special interests in art, architecture, top UN official, dancers and researchers and students of architecture from city-based KIIT University and College of Engineering and Technology (CET) thronged the 118th Ekamra Walks (Old Town Circuit) and enjoyed their early morning time with the jugalbandi of classical music at the starting point near Mukteswar Temple and Odissi recital at Art Vision, the Odissi dance acedemy by leading Guru Padmashri Ileana Citaristi.

The Museum Walk at Kalabhoomi also had a nice gathering with over 30 visitors as they explored the different forms of Odishan art and craft in this new facility near Gandamunda along the Pokhariput-Khandagiri Road. Students from CET and KIIT University joined the Museum Walk in large numbers.

Chief of Field Office, Unicef Odisha Monika Nielsen joined the walk with hubby Robert Roclawski. Monika, who joined the office recently and came to the Old Town area of the city for the first time termed her experince as “educating and engaging with lots of information on the historical, archaeological and cultural aspects of the Old Bhubaneswar”.

Later she said “I liked the way the Old City has kept its age-old traditions and the manner in which they are still keeping their own identities in modern times.” Native of the great historical city Olsztyn in the Warmia-Masuria province of northern Poland on the river Lyna, the Unicef official admitted that she will explore more and more parts of Odisha and know its cultural collage in a detailed way.

Shraddha Borawake, native of Pune, who shuttles between US and India as her hubby is based in New York City (NYC), joined the walk as a photography, art, heritage, culture enthuciast. In fact, with husband Ben and friend Nandan she also joined the Jain Heritage Walk yesterday at Khandagiri-Udayagiri caves and today took time to explore the Old Town area.

Prising the initiative of Ekamra Walks and the way the heritage way provides the other experinces on the Classical dance and song front, she said “Odisha has a huge potential to attract visitors from the entire globe and concrete efforts should be in place to tap the visitors’ interests.”

Shraddha, who dropped out from college to persue her interests in Photography when she was only 19 later worked for famous studios and media houses in Pune and Mumbai and later went to the US, studied art and settled in NYC and later moved to Pune to look after her parents, said the heritage walk could also become a great cultural ambassador of the Temple City of Bhubaneswar on a pan-world basis.
Ahishek Ranjan, a first year Architecture student from KIIT School of Architecture said “for the first time seven friends from their college have joined the walk and as the study of traditional temple architecture has become part of their curriculum they would join in good numbers in the days to come.

Ananya Panigrahy, another student of their team said “we learnt a lot on the specialities and uniqueness on the Kalingan School of Temple Architecture which has also got influences in faraway places like South East Asian nations.”

Yamini Makesheswar and Ritika Acharya, both Odissi dancers and doing research on the Classical dance form also joined the walk. Yamini displayed the “Chauka” posture of Odissi during the visit of 7th Century Parasurameswar Temple as the temple wall has got a depiction of the “Chauka” position. The posture, showing the latent energy of the dancer in a square pattern is followed by another popular posture “Tribhangi” in which the body forms an triangle shape in Odissi. Interestingly most of the visitors tried their best to have the “Chauka” position while participating in the walk near Parasurameswar Temple.

The visitors saw and listened to the stories of Mukteswar, Parasurameswar, Swarnajaleswar, Kotitirtheswar, Bindusagar, Doodhwala Dharamsala, Gourishankar, Lingaraj, Sari Deula, Mohini, medicinal plant garden Ekamra Van and saw a beautiful recital of Odissi dance at Art Vision.

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