Bhubaneswar: On the first day of the Odia calendar and the auspicious occasion of “Pana Sankranti” the 12st edition of Ekamra Walks Old Town Cicuit got a tremedous response with a group of seven visitors from Spanish city Barcelona and four of a family from Chapra, a city in neighbouring Bihar. There were also researcher and journalist from the City of Joy, Kolkata, making the occasion a memorable one while intermingling with the traditional rituals of the Old City, which was once knows as Ekamra Kshetra in the encient texts.
Josep M Botet, the team leader of the Barcelona group, who had earlier visited Odisha on seven occasions said the team is on a two-day trip to the city and nearby destinations. “We have found the Ekamra Walks as an engaging and educating package which al tells us about the ancient Kalingan temple building architecture, style and craftsmanship of the artisans,” he said.
Oriol M Botet, an engineer at Barcelona, who came for the first time to Odisha, termed the trip as “a beautiful expreince in exploring the most beautiful monuments of Odisha and the sites near the Capital city Bhubaneswar. We loved the temple trail with Ekamra Walks.”
Zaviel, another member of the Barcelona group, who joined the trip said “the medicinal plant garden at Ekamra Van was a great experince in knowing the local medicinal plants and how the concept of plants are placed according to the requirements of males, females and kids and many with their stories linked to the mythology and deep rooted Ayurvedic traditions of India.”
Ayona Bhaduri, a researcher from Kolkata, who is doing a project on performing arts through the Utkal University, Vani Vihar, termed her experince at the Old Town as “extraordinary.” She also told that she participated in the Monks, Caves and Kings heritage trail at the famous Jain site Khandagiri-Udayagiri yesterday and also enjoyed the trip.
“Odisha has to offer so much to the incoming visitors wanting to explore the state. We only need to package the things nicely and as with the convinience of the visitors so that through the people’s refernce only the tourism industry will grow rapidly to a new high,” she added.
Another jouralist from a city-based leading national daily, who belongs to Kolkata, Soumika Das, joined the 121st Ekamra Walks and especially spent her time knowing more about the medicinal plant garden, Ekamra Van.
ASHOKASTAMI CAR FESTIVAL
While hopping the temples, religious water bodies, medicinal plant garden and last but not the least, watching the beautiful Odissi recital at Art Vision, the dance institute founded by Guru Padma Shri Ileana Citaristi, the travellers also got some time to take a glimpse on the traditions and rituals of the Old City.
Guide Satyaswaroop Mishra also explained about the Ashokastami and the car festival of the presiding deity of Ekamra Kshetra, Lord Lingaraj. The visitors also saw the grand “rath” also called as “Rukuna rath” which will take the Lord for a sujourn to Mausi Maa Temple.
The guide also explained the importance of the “Pana Sankranti” and the Odia New Year and how the healthy drink made from stone apple, fruits, country cheese, jaggery, black peper and other ingredients in fact, make the people stronger as it smoothens the entire gastro-intestinal tract and also provides sthrngth to those venturint out in the hot summer afternoons.
Rajni Kumari, a government enployee from Chapra near Patna in Bihar came calling on her sister Niloo Chaurasia in the city and the two sisters with Rajni’s kids Puja, Aryan and Harsh joined the 121st Ekamra Walks Old Town Circuit. “My sister is styaing here and her daughter is leading Odissi, but I came here for the first time and I am really happy to join the heritage walk as it tells a visitor so many things in one go. I will tell all my friends to come here and experince it,” she added.
On the first day of the Odia calendar the Museum Walk at Kala Bhoomi near Gandamunda attracted nearly 20 visotors including the troupe from Barcelona, which visited the Old Town temple trail in the morning. “We found the museum an exclusive place which displays almost all art, craft and traditional fafrics including the tribal products and designs,” said Josep M Botet.
Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) Bhubaneswar Chapter today organised a heritage walk on the occasion of “Odia Naba Barsha (New Year) or Pana Sankranti with 50 students from Sri Aurobinda Integral School, Kedag Gouri Lane in Old Town. Senior member of INTACH’s local chapter Baikuntha Panigrahi and City DFO Ashok Mishra spoke to students on the importance of the medicinal plants and Ekamra Van. The heritage walk by INTACH started from the Sri Aurobinda Integral School and ended at Ekamra Van.