152nd Old Town Ekamra Walks: Spreading love for history, heritage and culture

Bhubaneswar: When you visit a temple or a shrine or you look at a sculpture, a statue etched out of stone centuries back, you can not help but wonder what the story might be behind them. If you catch a heritage walk on a sunday morning in Old Town, Bhubaneswar, you get all the answers and more.

When the 152nd edition of Heritage Walks started amidst the early morning fog at the Mukteswar Temple over 50 eager participants had enrolled for the same. Many old walkers were joined by many first timers. Udit Mittal, space designer for Odisha Biennale 2019 and his co artists Kim and Nisa, were among the walkers today. At Parsurameswar Temple, during the walk, Udit volunteered to help the group understand more about the traditional as well as contemporary forms of dances when he went on to demonstrate the dance posture called Chauka in Odissi which then the group tried to imitate.

Mihir Vaidya and Rohini, two students from IES (Indian Education Society) College of Architecture, Mumbai who were in town to research and document Dharamshalas, actually had the opportunity to stay overnight at one, to develop a deeper understanding of the architecture as well as the history of the same. They had a pleasant stay in this heritage home for pilgrims and participated in the walk as well.

At Ekamra Walks , the team always encourages travellers to try and stay at the Dharamshalas for a more authentic and close encounter with the heritage and history of this place and these two became the first walkers to have accomplished so.

The guided tour which had started with the melodious sound of flute and sitar, came to a fitting end with the soulful performances of Odissi at Padmashree Ileana Citaristi’s Art Vision Dance Academy. Today, the walkers were presented with two beautiful performances- the Dashavatar a famous piece on the ten incarnations of Vishnu performed by two dancers and the Moksha which is usually a concluding item of a recital. This solo dance movement (Moksha) traditionally attempts to convey a sense of spiritual release and soul liberation, soaring into the realm of pure aesthetics. Or in today’s case, curated to signify the end of this year and as a welcome to the new one.

Being the last walk for this year, this edition of Ekamra Walks had everyone coming together to be a part of its accomplishment. Throughout the years, the walk has seen many faces becoming a known presence, anecdotes shared over a common love of history, the city and its innumerable tales. It is with this feeling of camaraderie that Ekamra Walks hopes to take a step into the new year; with more stories to tell and more moments to share and with more people coming together, falling in love with the city and its history.