INTACH To Document The Heritage Of The Prachi Valley in Odisha

Bhubaneswar: The Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) has launched the Project: “Documenting the Monuments of the Prachi Valley” today. The project was started from the Bakreswar Temple in Bhinjarpur near Bhubaneswar on Saturday.

Similar to early civilizations like the Aryan, Egyptian, Babylonian and Assyrian, the Prachi Valley Civilization too flourished on the banks of a river. Even though the Prachi is a small river compared to the other rivers of Odisha, it contains hidden treasures of a magnificent past. Originating from the river Kuakhai and covering approximately 60 kilometers, it falls into the sea near Keutajanga village of Kakatpur.

The Prachi originates about 10 kms from Bhubaneswar. It is a tributary of the Mahanadi and flows through the districts of Puri, Khurda, Cuttack and Jagatsinghpur, and the entire region of the river is termed as the Prachi Valley. It is considered to be the holiest river of Odisha and is rightly called the Eastern Saraswati. Archaeological evidence reveals that the Prachi Valley Civilization predates both Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro. Recent excavations have revealed rich findings and more excavations have been planned.

Traditions confirmed by local chronicles reveal that most of the monuments of Prachi valley, which are now in all stages of decay, were constructed from the 7th Century to the 15th Century A.D.
Prachi valley civilization has contributed a lot towards amalgamation, assimilation and proliferation of different religious faiths and cults. Major Indian religions like Buddhism, Jainism, Saivism, Shaktism and Vaishnavism grew chronologically, without attacking the religious and philosophical sentiments of the people of those days.
The river now runs dry for most of the year; only in the monsoons does it bear any resemblance to its glorious past. This once navigable river is now dead, but is steeped in history. Many artifacts are frequently excavated, and surface finds of pot sherds and carvings are often discovered.

Speaking on the occasion, Amiya Bhusan Tripathy, the State Convener of INTACH said that without a proper listing and documentation of the monuments in the entire stretch of the river, an important realm of Odisha’s history is incomplete. Many of the old monuments have disappeared in recent years which make it all the more necessary for a proper listing of the existing vestiges.

Shri S.K.B.Narayan, Convener of the Bhubaneswar Chapter said that along with the tangible heritage, the intangible attributes like the rich oral tradition, customs, festivals and folklore too shall be documented. Anil Dhir, the Project Co-ordinator said that the six month project will document nearly 350 monuments comprising of temples, mathas, ghats, structures, sites etc. He said that the entire stretch of the river till the estuary will be surveyed and a comprehensive report made. Dhir said that local stakeholders, villagers, students and temple authorities of the region too would be roped in for the project.

INTACH has recently released the complete listing of the “Monuments of the Old Jagannath Sadak” from Kolkata to Puri. The launching ceremony was attended by many INTACH members and historians including Hansanath Sahu, Bata Krushna Tripathy, Sanjib Hota, Kulamoni Deo, N. Balakrishnan, Ananta Mahapatra among others.

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