Odisha: Ekamra Walks blends Odissi, music, special guests and Urban Sketchers

Bhubaneswar: The 19th Ekamra Walks today saw a unique blend of special and surprise music, Odissi performances at Art Vision and the family members of the Dutch Ambassador i.e. his wife, son and daughter-in-law taking part in the only guided tour of the city.
While the walk started with a nice recital of flute and table by Jagat and troupe and the guests enjoyed every bit of the nice music created by the artists, the guide of the day explained, led the troupe and told them in details the basis behind the walks and the essence of the Kalingan architecture of the temple building tradition.
Among others, principal secretary Tourism Arti Ahuja and principal secretary Cooperation Manoj Ahuja and director tourism Nitish Bhnudas Jawle were present.
The heritage walkers discovered new stories behind each temple as they touched Parsurameswar, Swarnajaleswar, Kotitirtheswar, Bindusagar, Old Dharmasalas, Lingaraj Temple, Suka-Sari temple complex, Mohini, Vaitaal, Ekamra Van and in the end saw the Odissi recital at Art Vision, the school by famous Odissi and Chhow dance Guru, Padmashree Ileana Citaristi.

On the way while visiting the monuments the walks also interacted with the members of Urban Sketchers, as they were busy sketching the locations near Lingaraj Temple and the historic Devipadahara tank. There were 15 artists, of which six were at Lingaraj Temple and nine at Devipadahara tank. The tank with 100 small temples on its bank is one of the most beautiful water bodies in the city. It is under the conservation list of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI).
The walkers also saw the dismantling of the Rukuna Rath, the chariot of Lord Lingaraj as it takes the deity to Mausima Temple during Ashokastami. The visitors also interacted with local vegetable sellers, florists, whose lives are associated with the socio-cultural ways of the Old Town area in the city.

The family members of the Dutch Ambassador to India also keenly observed the conservation work at Suka-Sari Temple as no cement is needed to join the stones and instead lime and the gum from stone apple plant is used to make a special paste to join the stones. More than two years ago the temple complex was excavated by the ASI Excavation branch in Bhubaneswar.
The visitors also went to the `parikrama’, made of laterite stone to give the Bindusagar lake a classic look. Near the Mohini temple, they had a brief discussion with the guide on the importance of the holy lake, the different `ghats’ and their use and how to make the lake clean and sustainable.
The travelers, later went to Vaitaal temple, which has a top like an inverted boat and it is unique one in the city, which has another 360 ancient structures. Later, they went to Ekamra Van the medicinal plant garden, along the western coast of the Bindusagar lake, which has more than 220 kinds of various herbal plants, shrubs and creepers. It has the plants arranged in three different segments representing plants used for males, females and paediatric use and in other way for Shiva, for Parvati and their son Ganesh.

After a hectic walk the guests were given a surprise performance of a music as Bishal Panda played the guitar and Shriddhi Dash sang a beautiful song to match the mood.
Before introducing the guests to Odissi, Ileana Citaristi, Italian-turned Indian dance Guru said “Odissi has three major components i.e. Mangalacharan, Pallavi and Abhinaya and the dance fprm has been derived from the stone carvings of the ancient temples. Later her students staged three different dances representing the three sub-sets of Odissi. However, the dance-drama under Abhinaya with a beautiful song “Kahin gale mulari phoonka, jubati rasiya kamini ranka…’’ were interesting and engaging. The subject matter was on the different “leelas’’ of Lord Krishna.
Dimtri, son of the Dutch envoy said “the professional way in which the Ekamra Walks is being conducted, is a nice thing to notice.’’ The youthfulness of the heritage walk and the spirit of the people associated with it also inspired him.
“The city is full of ancient monument and I am really fascinated by them as one emerges within every 500 metres,’’ he added
David Stein from US said “this is my first visit to the city, but I would like to come to almost all Ekamra Walks as the experience is amazing.’’