Visitors at 97th Ekamra Walks see “Habish’’ tradition by widows at Doodhwala Dharamsala

Bhubaneswar: Senior fellows and researchers at Centre for Policy Research (CPR), a Central think tank based in New Delhi, Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Institute, New Delhi and Urban Management Centre Ahmedabad were part of the 97th Ekamra Walks Old Town Circuit, among other visitors from in and around the city.
While visiting the Dudhwala Dharamsala the visitors also got an idea of the traditional “Habish’’ by widows at the heritage inn for budget pilgrims. “Habish’’ is a traditional observation of religious practice during the month of Kartik, which is supposed to be an auspicious month in the Hindu calendar. The widows not only worship different Gods and Goddesses and take simple food, they also practice the “puja’’ collectively at the Dharamsala, organized by the Tourism Department.
The visitors from New Delhi were here in the city and later on a visit to places of tourism interests in the Golden Triangle i.e. Bhubaneswar, Puri and Konark following a national workshop on fecal sludge and sewage management in the city. However, they found Ekamra Walks as an interesting and engaging alternative in the City of Temples.
Shubhagato Dasgupta, Senior Fellow at CPR, who earlier participated at the Monks, Caves and Kings (MCK) heritage walk in Khandagiri-Udayagiri caves, said “the well-maintained temples and their beautiful carvings are the testimony to the Odia artisans’ ability to create world class structures. The Guide also reminded us the fact that the same influence was also seen in faraway lands in the East Asian islands as the ancient Kalinga was having trade links through the maritime routes.’’
Arumugam Kalimuthu, Programme Director (Swachha Bharat Mission-Urban) at Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, WASH Institute, New Delhi, said “we are really happy to see the glimpse of the ancient Kalingan temple building style and architecture.’’
Ambarish Karunanithi, senior research associate with CPR said “I was earlier working here in Bhubaneswar and have shifted to Delhi, but during my stay could not scan through the temples of Old Town. After a long gap my visit to the city and the participation in the Ekamra Walks has helped in discovering the tales of the city once again. I am really happy to have participated in the Ekamra Walks.’’
Janani Ravindran, a research associate with WASH Institute, New Delhi, said “with elements like temples, heritage water bodies, heritage buildings, and the medicinal plant gardens, the Ekamra Walks is a complete package to captivate a common visitor to Bhubaneswar.’’
Just three walks ahead of scoring a Century, Ekamra Walks started by the Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation, Bhubaneswar Development Authority and Odisha Tourism has also incorporated the MCK and Museum Walk and likely to unfold five more city walks in near future.
Today at Kala Bhoomi during the 21st Museum Walk in the Crafts Museum 40 visitors took part in re-discovering the rich traditions of art and craft including terracotta, traditional paintings, wood, stone carvings, metal work, tribal art and lifestyle and the beautiful weaving traditions of Odissa and an array of sarees from the land of Ikkat and silk originals. They also enjoyed an Odissi performance after the walk.

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