‘Plogging’ and heritage storytelling at Twin Hills of Khandagiri-Udayagiri

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Bhubaneswar: Combining cleaning up the Twin Hills of Khandagiri and Udayagiri, the famed Jain heritage site with heritage trail through Monks, Caves and Kings under the aegis of Ekamra Walks, 65 NCC cadets from Tapobana High School, Khandagiri, took part in the weekly monument walk and carried out “plogging’’ activity.
The 95th edition of Monks, Caves and Kings got a rejuvenating pace with the participation of so many young school students and NCC cadets under the leadership of their teacher and NCC Officer Sunita Biswal.
It can be noted here that “plogging’’ is a combination of jogging/brisk walking with picking up garbage or litter. It started as an organised activity in Sweden around 2016 and spread to other countries across the world in 2018, following increased concern about plastic pollution. As a workout, it provides variation in body movements by adding bending, squatting and stretching to the main action of running, hiking, or walking as described in Wikipedia.
Erik Ahlström started “plogging’’ in the Swedish capital city, Stockholm, when he moved there from the Åre ski resort. He created the website “Plogga’’ to organise the activity and encourage volunteers. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has also “plogged’’ to lead by example for Swachh Bharat Mission to clean up India. He carried out the activity on the beaches of Mamallapuram in Tamil Nadu recently.
The students of Tapobana High School participated enthusiastically in “plogging’’. They had cloth bags in which they collected the trash throughout the cave trail. While in Khandagiri, “plogging’’ was the main focus, the Udaygiri walks involved storytelling about the Twin Hills and the importance of the Jain monuments along with collecting litter. The collection of trash while getting to know the history of Udaygiri was a lesson in understanding the importance of heritage for everyone.
Students were really curious and remained highly excited throughout the trail. One student, Priyanka Soren said, “I have been to a lot of places but never been on a cave trail. It was so mesmerizing, and with all my friends I had so much fun, that for a moment I forgot we have an exam today.’’
“I consider all the people in the city as my brothers and sisters. So picking up litter is not something that upsets me as it’s like cleaning up my own home after my own family. So keeping the city clean keeps everyone happy, which in turn makes me happy,” she added upon being asked how she felt about cleaning up other people’s litter.
The NCC Officer of Tapobana High School said that the NCC students had come for “plogging’’ to Khandagiri and Udaygiri, where they met the Ekamra Heritage Walks team and were very happy to have participated in the walk. “I thank the team and in the future more students will definitely be a part of the heritage walks as well as “plogging”, she added.

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