Odisha: 24th Ekamra Walks; Families explore history through the old lanes of Bhubaneswar

Bhubaneswar: With the summer vacations around and schools closed, Ekamra Walks, the guided heritage tour of the city, seems, attracting families to explore the beautiful stories engraved on stones in the priceless monuments of Old Bhubaneswar.
Yes! The 24th Ekamra Walks, today witnessed the unique blend of a variety of visitors from across the country and from various disciplines, but majorly, families were leading there with their kids to learn the steps as history was just a stone’s throw away in the Old Town area in the state capital.
Among the visitors, there were students, physicist, entrepreneurs, bureaucrat, housewives, writer, consultants, dancers and retired banker and all were passionately following the guide and asking questions on their doubts.
Aryaman Pradhan, a student of Class VIII in Sai International School came with his family i.e. parents and his little sister. He found the sculptures on the walls of the temples interesting and the entire family enjoyed their outing.
Aryaman’s father Bimalendu Pradhan, an IT entrepreneur of the city and owner of Formulae One Solutions, had also invited his newly-wed niece Payal, who came with her husband Chandan and surprisingly, they had chosen Ekamra Walks as their first outing after their marriage, a days ago in the city.
“This is my first visit after my marriage to Odisha and Bhubaneswar and with wife Payal we made the Ekamra Walks experience a lasting one. I am happy that the city is rich with such a treasure of heritage sites and the walk has completed so many episodes,’’ said Chandan, who has his business in Chandigarh.
Sagarika Mohanty, a resident of Old Bhubaneswar came with her daughter Tamanna, who studies in Class VI in KIIT International School. “We are staying across the road near Mukteswar Temple, but today’s experience is something very different than others, we had in the past,’’ said the mother.
Tamanna termed her experience as “very good.’’ “I am going to tell all my friends to come and explore Ekamra Walks,’’ was her encouraging words.

Adyasha Sar, mother, housewife and an avid photographer came to Ekamra Walks with her son Ashim, who studies in Class IV at St. Joseph Convent and Higher Secondary School, Sambalpur.
“My father’s place is in Bhubaneswar and he is a retired banker. As my hubby is an executive with Hindalco, we normally stay in Sambalpur. After hearing about Ekamra Walks, I thought we mother and son must visit the sites and came with my father,’’ said Adyasha, who is seriously pursuing photography for last couple of years. Ashim was also happy to explore many untold stories about the temples of Bhubaneswar.

Madhumita Tripathy, Mumbai-based content development expert was also very happy to be part of the unique event on heritage in the city. “We need to make Ekamra Walks reach out to more and more people so that it would go a long way. In fact, for me it is the best heritage tour I have ever encountered in India,’’ was her observation.
She also had a piece of advice to add more other types of tour like heritage-based cycle tour of a longer distance i.e. 20-30 km encircling the city so that people with other passions would also find an option to choose from.
Deb Sankar Bhattacharya, a post-doctoral fellow with the city-based reputed Institute of Physics, termed his day’s experience as “extraordinary and enriching.’’ A scientist with a hobby of photography, he also promised to tell his other friends to be part of this “unique walk.’’
Satyamjyoti, a student of Masters in Conservation Architecture in the School of Planning and Architecture (SPA), Bhopal, said “as I am from Rourkela, this is a first guided heritage tour in the City of Temples, but after Ahmedabad, it is perhaps the best one in India. I am also happy that with a lot of green cover around most of the walk is pleasant even under the scorching summer sun.’’
The Ekamra Walks team today visited Mukteswar, Parsurameswar, Sampurna Jaleswar, Kotitirtheswar, Ananta Vasudev, Brahma, Lingaraj, Chitrakarini, Sari, Mohini and Vaitaal temples. They also had an experience to watch the traditional temple reconstruction techniques at Sari Temple and also had an experience to watch Odissi dance at Art Vision, a dance school established by eminent Odissi and Chhow Guru Ileana Citaristi.
At the end of the tour the team went to Ekamra Van, the medicinal plant garden on the banks of Bindusagar with more than 200 varieties of medicinal plants. They also enjoyed a walk along the `Parikrama’ along the banks of the historic Bindusagar lake.