Ekamra Walks: Two years, 10,000 visitors and counting

Bhubaneswar: Additional Commissioner Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) Sanjay Khandare joined the team of walkers at the 105th edition of Ekamra Walks today as the last heritage walk of the year in Old Town area attracted more than 50 participants.
Secretary Sports, Youth Services and Tourism Vishal Kumar Dev also joined the walk with the senior bureaucrat from Maharashtra. Khandare, who has came to Odisha for the first time, was impressed with the Ekamra Walks. “The monuments in the Old Town area in Bhubaneswar are beautiful and the walk including the Odissi dance recital at Art Vision and the medicinal plant garden Ekamra Van was nice to be with and we will definitely take back a very good memory of the city with us,’’ he said.
In order to foster Bhubaneswar as a tourist hub and promote as a heritage city, several initiatives have been taken by the State administration with plenty of holistic activities gearing-up on the list. One of such pursuits is the weekly organised heritage walks covering destinations of historical and cultural significance. These heritage trails under Ekamra Walks have attracted nearly 10,000 heritage lovers, from and beyond the city, explore the undiscovered treasure of Bhubaneswar.
Ekamra Kshetra is an ancient name of the capital city of Bhubaneswar whose literal translation is “the land of a mango tree.” The region basically covers the Old Town area of modern-day Bhubaneswar, adorned with an abundance of temples known for its Kalingan style of temple architecture.
The walk, which started as a single heritage walk on December 18, 2016, has grown into a bouquet of walks, i.e. Heritage Walk involving temples in Old Bhubaneswar, Monks, Caves and Kings involving the twin-hills of Khandagiri and Udayagiri, Museum Walk at Kala Bhoomi and Streets of Ekamra.
Tourism Secretary Vishal Kumar Dev congratulated the Team Ekamra Walks for creating a unique brand of heritage walk initiative in the Temple City.
The visitors of today’s walk were also impressed with the Odissi performance of the disciples of noted Odissi dancer Padmashri Ileana Citaristi at Art Vision, the institute near the Western Bank of the Bindusagar Lake, where the Italy-born Odissi dancer is teaching Odissi to her local students.
Divisional Forest Officer (DFO) of City Forest Division Ashok Mishra, the chief curator of Ekamra Van medicinal plant garden explained the importance of the area, which was once an open defecation site. Today with medicinal plants of over 200, it boasts of plants with curative potentials for men, women and kids. Sophia from De Tour Odisha conducted the heritage walk today.

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