Bhubaneswar: On the eve of its first anniversary day, Ekamra Walks in the Old Town area in the Temple City_ the first guided heritage tour of the area once known as Ekamra Kshetra_ attracted tourists from 25 different foreign nations making it as a sought-after package with more than 3,000 footfalls so far, which still comes for free, providing a complete socio-cultural exposure to the visitors, along with the treasure of Kalingan temple style and architecture.
Started as a weekend tour on Sunday on December 16, 2016, the heritage tour around the Old Town and Lingaraj Temple, the holy Bindusagar Lake and other monuments of 7th to 15th Century AD, the event has also got its prominence due to its association with Ekamra Van, the medicinal plant garden, with the theme based on the Ekamra Kshetra, itself.
Ingeborg Krukkert, a national from Netherland, on her first visit to Odisha and Bhubaneswar, was very happy to know that the walk is already on the go for last 52 weeks and the civic, development and tourism authorities have made it to project the city’s priceless heritage monumental wealth for the world to see and re-discover the Kalingan masterpieces of temple building art.
Krukkert will be soon moving to Ganjam to work as an anthropologist for a sanitation project run by an NGO, but she added that whenever she would get time in future, she will definitely make it a point to see the heritage sites of Bhubaneswar as they are beautiful and unique on their own.
Professor Chitta Baral from Arizona State University came to the 53rd Ekamra Walks (Old Town and Lingaraj Circuit) with his wife Matsumi Baral. During the early days of Ekamra Walks, just after its launching the US-based computer science professor had also participated in the heritage walk. Yesterday, he was also there at Monks, Caves and Kings, the second heritage walk under Ekamra Walks, at Khandagiri-Udayagiri.
Col Chandan Jha of Indian Army and Lt. Commander Amar Lahariya from Indian Navy, both stationed at Berhampur, came to join the walk and were very happy with the experience. “We are really proud of the heritage walk and will join the walks in the Khandagiri-Udayagiri coming Saturday. However, we will be telling our friends and family members to take part in these nice initiatives, whenever they are in the Temple City,’’ they said.
The visitors, 30 in numbers went to Mukteswar, Parasurameswar, Kotitirtheswar, Bindusagar, Ananta Vasudev, Old Dharamsala, Lingaraj, Chitrakarini, Sari Deula, Bharati Mutt, Mohini, Vaitaal and the medicinal plant garden at Ekamra Van.
Towards the end of the heritage walk, the participants experienced a beautiful recital of Odissi by the students of renowned Odissi dancer Ileana Citaristi at Art Vision, the institute for Odissi learning by the Italian-born dancer. Kalyani Mohapatra and Divya Supakar today performed Pallavi, a form of Odissi. They performed Tarang Pallavi, a composition done by the all-time great Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra, who was also the guru of Ileana Citaristi.