Foreign tourists, locals soak in charm of Old City, check `diyas’ for organic Diwali

Bhubaneswar: Over 50 visitors at the 44th Ekamra Walks today discovered rituals of Diwali, including looking at various designs of organic earthen `diyas’ and Kartik traditions observed by the `Habisialis’ inside the Doodhwala Dharamsala as they walk along the lanes of the Old Town area in search of encountering the beautiful, distinct, unique and priceless temple building architecture of the Kalingan style.
Once a city dotted with over 7,000 temples in the past, as per old literature of the history, the State Capital, also known as the Ekamra Kshetra, now has over 360 historic monuments, which came into existence between 6th and 16th Century AD. Even monuments prior to that of 2nd Century BC are also there at other places aapart from the Old City.
Ekamra Walks visitors today came from very distinctly diverse groups as they include seven students from Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT), who are on an internship to city-based Centurion Institute of Technology and Management (CUTM).
While two visitors from Italy, currently working with Jeevan Rekha Parishad also came, among others, seven students of Indian Institute of Tourism and Travel Management, Bhubaneswar and four from ICICI Academy of Skills, Bhubaneswar also experienced the tour, which is the only guided heritage walk in this Ekamra Kshetra, the old name of Bhubaneswar.
Lucia Pepe from Italy, who is now working with Jeevan Rekha Parishad as a communication expert, said “though we are travelling across India and have stayed in Varanashi and Kolkata, the experience in Bhubaneswar has remained as special and distinct. I love this place and the beautiful monuments of this historic city.’’ Her friend Viviana was also of the similar views.
Emily, Aaron, Naomi, Jess, Ethan, Martin and Jin from RMIT were happy to know and discover so many things on the Old City of Bhubaneswar, which has seen a series of architectural makeovers with the beautiful temples and historic structures.
Aaron Rajamani, a student of Social Sciences from RMIT, Australia, who is staying at the Paralakhemundi campus of CUTM said “my grandfather went to Australia and we are now settled there, but while visiting India and discovering my roots and similar experience to that gives me a different experience of nostalgia.’’
Deep Prakash Pant, an MNC executive from New Delhi, who came to Ekamra Walks with wife Richa and daughter Ida and son Advait, enjoyed the walk. “We are very happy to come to Bhubaneswar and discover such a beautiful temple building architecture and style,’’ he added.
Ida, Deep’s daughter said “even for the kids, the walk is an interesting event and me and my little brother have enjoyed a lot during the walk.’’
Students of ICICI Academy of Skills, Bhubaneswar, are coming regularly to Ekamra Walks and four students today have a fun-filled learning experience on heritage. “We have liked the walk and would love to tell other students to come in future Sundays to join the visitors,’’ said Sagarika Sahoo, a student.

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