Sharing knowledge on ancient Kalinga: Australian students and locals join 103rd Twin Hills trail

Bhubaneswar: With the city experiencing pleasant weather during morning hours as the winter is about to take an exit, the Temple City had just the perfect occasion to start heritage trail this morning. Starting at around 6:30 am, the Monks, Caves and Kings heritage walk across Udayagiri and Khandagiri Twin Hills, locals and visitors from abroad were there to celebrate the occasion and explore the famous Jain heritage site. More than seven students from Australia joined the tour today and had a nice occasion exploring the tales of ancient Kalinga.
Polite pleasantries gave way to bonding sessions filled with anecdotes, games and laughter. Starting from Udayagiri, with a brief explanation of its history, the excitement of learning about new culture was clearly visible. Much like the story telling of the cave’s origin, it was a steady buildup.
The first stop during the trail was the Rani Gumpha, where the visitors indulged in the story behind the carvings on the panels, and were amazed to know that these compact spaces were like homes to the Jain monks who took shelter here during the monsoons. The next stop, a pond usually hidden from the public view, elevated their fascination.
On the way to the top of the hill, the group also paid a visit to the Hathi Gumpha and by the time, the walkers reached the top of the hill, the sun had risen too, dissipating the cold and letting its warm rays finally touch ground.
Ipsa Das, a software engineer turned travel blogger and digital illustrator who had also attended Ekamra Walks said that she was eager to attend the Twin Hill walks as she regretted missing it last time. The Twin Hill trails left all the walkers impressed.
Another walker, Marian, added that the Twin Hill trails made her want to know India’s heritage and how its connected with the heritage of the Philippines and other cultures.
Even the citizens of Bhubaneswar were amazed. G.N. Sahu, walker who just retired and has been living in Bhubaneswar for last 35 years said, “I never knew so much about the city as much as I got to know now. First of all, I didn’t know which was Udayagiri and which was Khandagiri. Thanks to the Twin Hill Trails that I know what is what. I have come here several times and I had never seen so much of the caves. I am going to recommend these walks to my family and friends so that they would come and enjoy too.”
And with a final stop at Khandagiri, the 103rd cave trail came to an end. The walkers, some ecstatic about learning about a new culture and some fascinated about their hometown’s heritage. They were delighted to know the stories on stone quarries on the Twin Hills once supplying stones for the temples in the Old City and also how beautiful relief images of the different Tirthankars came up on the walls of Khandagiri.