Puri : The 945th Coronation day celebration of Emperor Anantavarman Gangeswara Chodaganga Deva was held at the Badu Mahapatra Jaaga at Chudanga Sahi.
Jointly organised by the Rediscovering Lost Heritage, INTACH, and IHAR, the gathering saw many eminent heritage experts and historians including local residents of Puri. An ancient stone panel that had the image of Chodagangadev was consecrated and puja was performed. This was the first time in centuries that his coronation was commemorated.
An outstanding ruler, he was known for his religious tolerance. The construction of the Jagannath Temple at Puri and his efforts to unite all religious faiths under a single cult i.e. the Jagannath Cult; was a watershed moment in the religious history of Odisha.
His seventy-year reign was a golden period in the history of Odisha. His military genius is evident from the extent of his empire, it extended from the Ganga till the Godavari.
Deepak Kumar Nayak, founder of the ‘Rediscover Lost Heritage Group’ had rediscovered the old image at the Jagaghara a few months earlier. The image had been worshipped for years as one of Lord Rama, but a proper study of the iconography had established that it was Chodagangadeva. According to Nayak, a similar image was seen in Mukhalingan in Andhra Pradesh which bore the same iconography. Deepak Nayak had earlier observed the coronation day celebration of Gajapati Kapilendra Deva in June last year. He also said that celebrations of the coronations of other great Odia kings too will be made.
Dr. Biswajit Mohanty, an INTACH member sais that a proper statue of the great King Emperor should be set up both in Puri and Bhubaneswar. He said proper studies need to be made to identify other heritage sites and structures which remain neglected.
Anil Dhir, Head of IHAR’s Odisha Chapter said that the missing gaps in Odishan history should be filled up. Proper place of pride should be accorded to the great rulers who had established the identity of Odisha but have been relegated to the back pages of history. Nine members of the Badu Mahapatra Jaaga were felicitated for their notable contributions to preserve this ancient heritage related to Odisha’s history. An art rendition of the image of Chodagangadeva, created by eminent artist Bibhu Patnaik was presented to the Jagaghara.
A joint project will soon be launched by Rediscovering Lost Heritage, INTACH, and IHAR for undertaking the documentation of all the monuments of the Odishan kings in Andhra Pradesh, Telengana, Karnataka, and Tamil Nadu. The rich history of the Kalingan influence in South India needs to be studied and documented.
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